Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

By Royce Frederick

Nebuchadnezzar II ruled the Babylonian Empire with his father from 607 B.C. till his father died, then ruled alone from 605 B.C. to 562 B.C. He took captives from Jerusalem in 606 B.C., in 597 B.C., and in 586 B.C., when Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed. Daniel was an early Jewish captive who became one of Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men.

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM in Daniel 2 occurred about 603 B.C. He did not tell his dream, but commanded his wise men to tell him the dream and its meaning. When they could not, he began killing them. But Daniel and his three Jewish friends prayed to God, and He revealed to Daniel the king’s dream and its meaning: “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 MEANING — The image represented four kingdoms of men. “And in the days of these kings [during the fourth kingdom] the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44).

THE FULFILLMENT — The first kingdom was Nebuchadnezzar’s (2:38). The second was “the Medes and Persians” (5:28; see 6:8). More than 200 years before it happened, Daniel foretold that the third kingdom would be “the kingdom of Greece” (8:21; see 8:20, 7). History shows that the fourth kingdom was the Roman Empire. In the days of those kings, Jesus and others preached, “...the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” [near] (Matt. 3:2; 4:17; 10:7). He said, “...there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power” (Mk. 9:1)!

Acts 2 records that the kingdom began with power on the Jewish Day of Pentecost when about 3,000 people obeyed the gospel of Christ! It was A.D. 33, or A.D. 29 by adjusted calendars. Later, speaking of Christians, Paul wrote that God “...has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love...” (Col. 1:13). This shows that the kingdom had come, and they had entered into it. This is the eternal kingdom which Daniel had foretold 600 years earlier! Jesus is now reigning as King over His kingdom, the church (1 Cor. 15:24-25; Col. 1:18; Matt. 16:18-19; Acts 2:30, 33, 36). Jesus Christ is now “Lord of lords and King of kings” (Rev. 17:14)!


The Dream The Meaning The Fulfillment

Head of Gold — Nebuchadnezzar (2:38) — Babylonian Empire (final era)

626 B.C. to 539 B.C.

Chest & Arms of Silver — A Second Kingdom (2:39) — Medo-Persian Empire

539 B.C. to 331 B.C.

Belly & Thighs of Bronze — A Third Kingdom (2:39) — Greek Empire

331 B.C. to 168 B.C.

Legs of Iron, Feet of Iron & Clay — A Fourth Kingdom (2:40) — Roman Empire

133 B.C. to A.D. 476

The Stone Which Hit the Image — Everlasting Kingdom (2:44) — Kingdom of Christ, His Church

A.D. 33 through Eternity

*Dates by historians sometimes differ because calendars have changed, and the rise and fall of empires often occurred during long periods, instead of suddenly.

YOU CAN BECOME A CITIZEN of the ETERNAL KINGDOM by obeying the gospel (Jn. 3:3-5; Mk. 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:35-39; 22:16; Gal. 3:26-27); “...our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body...” (Phil. 3:20-21). Jesus will deliver the kingdom to God, and it will continue forever (Lk. 1:33; 1 Cor. 15:24; Rev. 11:15)!