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Exploring Alternative Interpretations of the Four Kingdoms of Daniel 2

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posted on Jun, 3 2011 @ 08:55 PM

This thread is intended to open discussion on possible alternate intepretations of the identity of the four kingdoms spoken of in Daniel 2:29-44 , when the Prophet Daniel interprets a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar about a statue. For those who might need a refresher:

[29]“As Your Majesty was lying there, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. [30] As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind. [31] “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. [32] The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, [33] its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. [34] While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. [35] Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth. [36] “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. [37] Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; [38] in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. [39] “After you, another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. [40] Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. [41] Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. [42] As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. [43] And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. [44] “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. 45 This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands—a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. “The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

Daniel’s own prophetic dream of four animals is also given later in Daniel 7, and it is generally thought to correlate with the imagery and prophetic signficance of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

Two traditional theological intepretations have generally been given by Christian scholars.

The first view has been upheld by names such as Hippolytus, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, Japet Ibn Ali, Saadia, Rashi, Abraham Ibn Ezra, and E. J. Young:
Gold: Babylon
Silver: Medo-Persia
Bronze: Greece
Iron: - Rome

Proponents of the second major view include Flavius Josephus, John J. Collins, H. H. Rowley, Gurney, Lucas, and Walton:
Gold: Babylon
Silver: Media
Bronze: Persia
Iron: - Greece

However, these views, although majority, are not the only way of looking at the situation. Consider the following::

1) Matthew 24:15-21

[15] So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— [16] then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. [17] Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. [18] Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. [19] How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! [20] Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. [21] For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

This clearly implies FUTURE, as is implicit in the grammar of the original Greek as well as in every reasonably acceptable translation. Christ was reading Daniel as predicting something that had not yet come to pass in Christ's time. Christ's words and grammar put the event in the Future, which does not correspond to either of the majority interpretations. Both of these interpretations impose a framwork involving kingdoms that had come and gone before the life of Christ. Which do you trust more: The Word of Christ himself, or the theories of biblical interpreters from later ages?

2) And, of course, least one should need a reminder after the utterly shameful Howard Camping incident, Matthew 24:36 is worth reading, re-reading, and inscribing on your heart:

“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven…”

So with that in mind, should we be so quick to be sure we know what the four kingdoms really are, were...or will be?

I want to open speculation on some of the lesser-known or even your own completely original interpretations of the Four Kingdoms. Possible avenues for exploration include the following:

-Could some or all of the four kingdoms be either more ancient or more modern than is supposed in the two standard interpretations?
-Could it be that NONE of the Four Kingdoms have occurred yet, and that Daniel was speaking of events from a future longer than most Biblical Scholars generally hope?
-Could the Four Kingdoms be even more metaphoric than supposed? i.e., rather than literal kingdoms, could they be phenomenon such as “mass communication,” “secular technologies society, etc.”
-Have you ever entertained an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Four Kingdoms? If so, what was it? Any other scriptural backup?
-Anything else you think worth adding?

Best wishes for your walk with Christ!

edit on 3-6-2011 by Partygirl because: (no reason given)

posted on Jun, 4 2011 @ 12:42 AM
I think the Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greek, Roman, then divided Rome is the best answer.

I say this because these were the stronger of the civilizations and the more known than any other nation that has entered their sphere of time and communicatoin. I feel when Constantine created Constantinople, effectively separating the Roman empire into halves, it completely answers the dream.

Also, Constantine published the Edict of Milan which allowed for the legalization of all religions (and Christianity becoming hugely embraced from this) fits the stone that no man has carved. This Rock is Christ and had laid the foundation for the reign of Christ which has yet to end.

Just my thoughts.

posted on Jun, 4 2011 @ 04:27 PM
A thought here. The toes of Daniel 2 are not nations. They are kings. Look at Revelation 17. In that vision there are 10 kings that rule with the beast for an hour. Technically the feet of the statue are a end time prophecy. So using the "let the bible solve the bible" method of verse interpretation I would say the 2 prophesies are related. Ten kings that get their power during the 3.5 year reign of the Antichrist.

And that empire has yet to exist. But otherwise the interpretation of the other kingdoms for the head, torso, and legs is correct.
edit on 4-6-2011 by ntech because: (no reason given)

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