Daniel 2 prophecy

This dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire, provides the background to all the following dreams and visions given in the book of Daniel. In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream, which he forgot when he woke, so he called his magicians, and astrologers, and sorcerers, to not only tell him the dream but also to interpret the dream. They couldn’t and he planned to kill all those co-called wise men. But Daniel, a captive in his courts, was recommended to interpret the dream. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)

Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar by the king, was considered the wisest of all the wise men in Babylon. This is because the Spirit of God was with him.

Daniel 5:11,12 There is a man in your kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father [grandfather] light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar your father, the king, I say, your father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;  12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

Daniel said to the king,

Daniel 2:28,29 But there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, are these; 29 As for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind upon your bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and He that reveals secrets makes known to you what shall come to pass.

Daniel said that it is a message from the God of heaven, as are all the dreams and visions in the book of Daniel, and that they reveal what will happen in the future from that time (605 B.C.)

The following is a description of the dream:

Daniel 2:31-35 You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible [inspiring fear].  32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,  33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 You saw 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.  35 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 threshing-floors; 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.

Daniel 2 image corrected

Daniel 2 image. Credit: http://www.explordanrev.com

This is illustrated here, except for the stone that eventually hits the image in the feet destroying the whole image.

Daniel then also gives the interpretation of the dream (emphases added):

Daniel 2:36-43 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.  37 You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.  38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold [hence it represents Babylon].  39 And after you shall arise another kingdom [of silver] inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.  41 And whereas you saw 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 you saw the iron mixed with miry clay.  42 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.  43 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.

Isaac Newton, rated as the greatest physicist who ever lived, who developed Newton’s laws and the universal law of Gravitation, was also a strong believer in the Creator God of the Bible. He spent much more time studying the Bible, and writing commentary on it, than he did in physics. In regards to Daniel 2 he wrote the following:

Now in this vision of the Image composed of four Metals, the foundation of all Daniel’s Prophecies is laid. It represents a body of four great nations, which should reign over the earth successively, viz. the people of Babylonia, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. And by a stone cut out without hands, which fell upon the feet of the Image, and brake all the four Metals to pieces, and became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth; it further represents that a new kingdom should arise, after the four, and conquer all those nations, and grow very great, and last to the end of all ages.1

In subsequent studies to follow on Daniel and the book of Revelation (or the Apocalypse) given to St. John we will refer back to the image here.

Daniel 2:44,45 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.  45 Forasmuch as you saw 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 has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

The last kingdom is set up by the God of heaven, who has promised to return, at the Second Advent of Christ. He will destroy all the past kingdoms represented by the stature here. This means that components of each prior kingdom was subsumed into the following kingdom, until we get to the legs of iron—Rome.

The image illustrates the division of the once unified pagan Roman kingdom into two parts, represented by the legs. These were the Greek or Byzantine Empire (formed in 330 A.D.) and the Latin part of the Empire ruled from Rome. The Roman kingdom started collapsing about 150 A.D. Eventually the northern barbarian tribes like the Goths, Visigoths, Vandals, Huns, Franks, etc moved south towards Rome. Though there were periods of wars, some like Visigoths were converted to Christianity, but by about late 300 A.D. there was a continual belt of barbarian tribes all along the Roman lines from the North Sea to the Black Sea. It was only a matter of time, but the fall of the pagan Roman Empire is said to have been in the year 476 A.D.

Now by the wars above described the Western Empire of the Romans, about the time that Rome was besieged and taken by the Goths, became broken into the following ten kingdoms. 1. The kingdom of the Vandals and Alans in Spain and Africa. 2. The kingdom of the Suevians in Spain. 3. The kingdom of the Visigoths. 4. The kingdom of the Alans in Gallia. 5. The kingdom of the Burgundians. 6. The kingdom of the Franks. 7. The kingdom of the Britains. 8. The kingdom of the Hunns. 9. The kingdom of the Lombards. 10. The kingdom of Ravenna.2

The legs are divided into ten toes, some of iron and some of clay. The iron represents strong dictatorial governments and the clay weak governments. The toes then represent the break-up of pagan Roman Empire into primarily 10 kingdoms, these barbarian kingdoms, which took over Europe and the world Rome governed in Asia and north Africa.

But what we’ll see in subsequent chapters of Daniel, that a new kingdom emerges, and it subdues 3 of these 10 kingdoms. Isaac Newton wrote that the 3 kingdoms that were broken by this new kingdom (the emerging power of the Papacy) were the kingdoms of Ravenna, the Lombards and the Roman Senate and the people and principality of Rome itself.2

A lot of wars, battle, and politics pursues as we see the emergence of the Latin Roman kingdom of the Papacy arising out of the ashes of the pagan Roman Empire. Much of that was by deceit and flatteries, which brought many of those northern kingdoms under the power of the Papacy and the Romanized Church.

That final kingdom has ruled the world through similar methods ever since. In 1870 this kingdom suffered a major set-back when Napoleon Bonaparte invaded and seized the assets and land of the Papal States, and set up a Republic in Italy. But in 1922 Benito Mussolini not wanting to take on the growing power of the Roman Catholic Church gave the Papacy 109 acres of land in Rome to create a new Papal State – the Vatican. The pope was allowed a small army, a police force, a post office and a railway station. Mussolini worked to get the Roman Catholic Church to accept his Fascist state while he offered the Roman Catholic Church what it wanted—due to a political expediency.

The prophecy of Daniel 2 covers all history from Daniel’s time in Babylon until the Second Advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. The “days of these kings” (Daniel 2:44) covers all of this time. The final kingdom of Daniel 2 persists to this day, in a different form to pagan Rome, and its power is again on the ascendancy.

Today the toes remain in the governments of man, both strong (iron) and weak (clay). It has been suggested, by various Bible commentators, that the “iron” governments  are found in communist and fascist type dictatorships (China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran etc), while “clay” governments are found in democracies (USA, UK, Australia etc). But a new idea has been suggested by my friend James Arendt (“James Japan”) that the “iron” extends inside all the toes but some of them have a covering of “clay.” According to the symbolism of the stature, the modern day nations now represented by the 10 toes (with 3 broken) should be the extenuation of the European nations that conquered the pagan Roman empire. This means that even though these final nations are ostensibly democracies, in reality they are nations controlled by a ruling elite from within–a secret (or shadow) government. That control, though hard to clearly see, leads back to Rome.

The people in “democracies” around the world believe they have a choice in their own government, but like the old joke: “It does not matter who you vote for, the government always gets in.” So the iron core in so-called democracies is where the power resides. The iron then could almost be visualised as the skeletal structure of the toes in this image.


  1. Isaac Newton, Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, Chapter III, produced by Greg Alethoup, Robert Shimmin, Keith Edkins and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team. Release Date: October 15, 2005 [EBook #16878] under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online.
  2. Isaac Newton, Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel, and the Apocalypse of St. John, Chapter VII.

Related Reading

  1. Daniel 7
  2. Daniel 8
  3. Daniel 9
  4. Daniel 10-11
  5. Daniel 12
  6. Matthew 24
  7. The Revelation of Jesus Christ

About John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.
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One Response to Daniel 2 prophecy

  1. Steve Smith says:

    I agree with everything until we get to the feet, partly of iron and partly of clay. I believe reading 10 kingdoms into 10 toes isn’t warranted. We aren’t supposed to do that with the fingers, etc. It only mentions the feet is party of clay and iron, and one verse mentions feet and toes, partly of clay and iron. Basically it is describing what happens to the Roman empire, that it is partly strong and weak until it finally collapses, death by a thousand cuts. Towards the end of the Roman empire the east and west tried to cleave together through marriages but to no avail.

    In the days of those kings, Daniel equating kingdoms with kings in this case as he does in other places, Daniel is correct in that in the kingdom of the Roman empire, Jesus established the Kingdom of God. It started out small but has been growing ever since and will eventually be a mountain filling the earth.


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