Now we must ask ourselves how history has played out and if Daniel’s interpretation of the dream was correct. He told king Nebuchadnezzar that he was the head of gold, but Daniel did not name the other kingdoms by name. Looking back we know what the kingdoms were.
|Breast and Arms||Silver||Persia|
|Belly and Thighs||Bronze||Greece|
|Feet||Iron and Clay||Weak and Strong Nations|
And the stone that pulverized the statue represents Jesus setting up his kingdom and ruling for eternity.
The Babylonian Empire was the largest reigning force in the world at the time Nebuchadnezzar had his dream. It was well represented by gold, as it was a rich and lush empire. In fact, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
But in the year 539 BCE, 66 years after Daniel had been taken captive from his homeland of Judah, the Medo-Persian army conquered Babylon and the Persian Empire entered the world stage. Eventually the Medes would fade and the Persians would strengthen, causing the Medo-Persian Empire to become simply the Persian Empire.
The Greeks were a pain in the neck for the Persians. First, the Greek cities of Ionia rebelled against Persia but they were defeated. Then, as retribution for the rebellion, Xerxes decides to overtake Greece itself.
You have probably seen movies or heard about the 300 Spartans and other Greek warriors fighting against the Persian king Xerxes at the pass of Thermopolae. This battle took place in 480 BCE while the Persian Empire was extremely strong. The Greeks lost the battle at Thermopolae but they eventually stopped the Persians at the navel battle of Salamis and forced Xerxes to withdraw from Greece. This was not the end of the Greek/Persian story as Greece was to be the ruin of the Persian Empire.
Phillip of Macedonia would be the first to unite the City States of Greece under one ruler. After he Philip died, his son Alexander would solidify the allegiances of the lesser kings in Greece and in 334 BCE he took his armies into Asia Minor to fight against Darius and his Persian Empire. In just three years Alexander the Great had defeated the Persians and Greece was now the world’s largest empire. In 323 BCE at the age of 33, Alexander died and his empire was divided among his Generals.
Now we move on to the legs of iron portion of the prophecy: Rome. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that the fourth kingdom would be as strong as iron and would crush and shatter all that came before it. This is a good description of the Roman Empire.
There are debates as to the exact beginning of the Roman Empire. This is due to the fact that the rise of Rome seems to be almost accidental. Rome did not start out with a conscience plan to conquer other nations and begin its own empire; it actually started to expand through reactionary events. When it perceived a threat of any kind by an outside force, Rome would rally the troops and march into battle. In the middle of the second century BCE Rome squashed a threat from Macedonia and it became the first of the Greek provinces divided after Alexander’s death to come under the rule of the Roman Empire.