A Look at Bible Prophecy



By Gary Ray Branscome



“Do not listen to what the prophets who prophesy to you say: they give you empty hopes: they tell you about visions from their own imagination and not from the mouth of the LORD” (Jeremiah 23:16).


          Self-appointed “experts” on Bible prophesy often read their own ideas into the words of Daniel, while making claims that are not supported by the text. The purpose of this essay is to call people back to the Word of God, back to what is actually said — as opposed to what is imagined. For that reason we will not be looking at the entire second chapter of Daniel, but at verses thirty-one through forty-five — the verses that deal specifically with Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation. Furthermore, since you are probably familiar with the dream, and have your Bible close at hand, I will begin by describing Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in a way that may help you envision what he saw.


          Looking down a long straight valley with a ridge of hills on either side, Nebuchadnezzar saw a huge statue. One so large that its top rose higher than the hills on each side of the valley. The statue was of a man, a man of war, and it looked dazzlingly bright and terrifying. The statue’s head was of bright gold, its arms and chest of silver, and its belly and thighs of polished brass. Its legs were of iron, and were very strong. However, its feet were not solid iron, but were a network of iron [not a network of squares, but a network of crisscrossed lines like a network of branches or veins], the spaces in between being filled with clay.

          Here the point of view changes, and instead of looking straight down the valley, you are looking at the statue from one of the ridges on the side of the valley. The statue is straight before you, but to your right is an outcropping of rock jutting out of the ground. Suddenly, it seems as if an invisible knife cuts off the top of the rock outcropping, cutting through it as easily as if it were soft butter, leaving the top smooth and horizontal. Then the same invisible knife cuts vertically down the left side of the outcropping, leaving a smooth side. The other sides are then quickly cut away leaving a square block that has been cut out without hands.

          As you watch, the block rises from the ground and moves toward the statue. It is small compared to the statue, but when it lands on the foot of the statue, the statue instantly shatters into millions of tiny flakes (representing the people who made up the four nations). A wind then blows all of the flakes down the valley until they can no longer be seen. The stone that struck the image then begins to grow. As it grows the wind blows the flakes back up the valley, and as they reach the stone they are absorbed by it and become a part of it, until the stone fills the valley and becomes huge like a mountain filling the earth.


Daniel’s Interpretation


          Beginning with verse thirty-seven Daniel then explains the dream to Nebuchadnezzar.  

          Daniel begins by telling king Nebuchadnezzar that he is the head of gold, and that God has given him his kingdom, power, strength and glory. But, after him there will be another kingdom that is not so glorious, and then a third kingdom followed by a fourth. The fourth kingdom will be very strong, but it will be divided because the people it rules will not identify with it and yield their strength to it. Now we know from history that Persia conquered Babylon (Daniel 5:26-31). Persia was, in turn, conquered by Greece, and Greece by Rome. However, “At the time of those kings” (not some time in the future) God, “Set up a kingdom, that will never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44). And, the Bible plainly tells us that the kingdom  God set up – represented by the stone cut without hands – would “break in pieces and consume” the other four kingdoms (Daniel 2:44). That is why I said that after the statue broke into tiny flakes those flakes were absorbed by the stone and become a part of it. The four kingdoms were consumed. And, that is exactly what history tells us. By the end of the fourth century A.D. God’s kingdom had grown to include all of the territory once ruled by Rome.


God’s Kingdom


          Because Daniel 2:44 tells us that God set up a kingdom, “in the days of those kings,” that is what God wants us to believe and teach. The Bible says nothing about the ten toes on the feet of the statue being ten kingdoms, or a revived Roman empire sometime in the future. Like the false prophets of old, those who teach such things are teaching “the imagination of their own hearts,” not the Word of God (Jeremiah 9:14 and 23:16). The Bible tells us exactly when God’s kingdom was set up, and what kind of kingdom it is if we will only listen.


The words, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven advances with power,” tell us that the kingdom portrayed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as a stone, “cut out of the mountain without hands,” began with the preaching of John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12, Daniel 2:45).

The words, “From then on Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” tell us that the kingdom that God set up, “At the time of those kings,” was being set up at the very time Jesus was preaching (Matthew 4:17, Daniel 2:44).    

          Matthew 9:35 tells us that, “Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom”.

          Matthew 10:7 tells us that when Jesus sent His disciples out He said, “preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand”.

          In explaining the parable of the sower, Jesus said that the seed in the parable was, “the word of the kingdom,” the word by which we are brought into God’s kingdom (Matthew 13:3-8 and 19). [See Romans 10:17.]

          In explaining the parable of the wheat and the tares, Jesus said that “the good seed are the children of the kingdom,” (Matthew 13:38)

          God’s “power” was poured out on that kingdom on the day of Pentecost. And since that day it has been growing to fill the entire world just as God revealed that it would in the dream He gave to Nebuchadnezzar. [See Daniel 2:35 and 44, Mark 9:1, Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49, John 1:12.]

Although that heavenly kingdom was originally Jewish (Matthew 11:12, Acts 2:22, 41), it grew to include, “As many as received Him” (John 1:12), both Jew and gentile (Ephesians 3:6).

2Thessalonians 2:14 tells us that God has “called” us by the “gospel,” while 1Thessalonians 2:12 tells us that He has called us “into His kingdom”.

          However, Christ’s words, “My kingdom is not of this world” tell us that He will not be reigning over that kingdom in “this world” (John 18:36).

          On the contrary, He plainly said that, “The kingdom of God does not come in a way that is seen: Nor will people say, here he is! or, there he is! for the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:20-21).


          By now it should be clear that the “kingdom” that God set up “At the time of those kings” (Daniel 2:44), “the kingdom of God” that is within you (Luke 17:20-21), consists of all who trust in Christ, His church. What some call the “invisible church,” the “bride of Christ” (Ephesians 5:25-30). And, in a dream or vision the Apostle John saw that same church again portrayed as a block. Not a small stone block, but a block that had grown into a huge and glorious city, the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:16). And, just as the “stone” in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was not a physical stone, the Bible tells us that the city that John saw in his dream/vision is not a physical city, but is the “bride” of Christ, “the Lamb’s wife” His church (Revelation 21:2 and 9).




          Those who are unwilling to accept what the Bible says, those who add to God’s Word by claiming that the toes of the statue represent ten kingdoms, or a revived Roman empire, are just trying to make the Bible say what they want it to say, or what people want to hear (2Timothy 4:3).God’s warning to all who treat His Word that way is, “Do not add to his words, lest he reprove you, and you are found to be a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).


In whatever matter Holy Scripture has definitely spoken the Christian theologian must suppress his own views, opinions, and speculations and adhere unwaveringly to the divine truths revealed in Holy Scripture. In no case is he permitted to inject into the body of divine truth his own figments and fabrications, and at no time must he allow his reason the prerogative of doubt, criticism, or denial, but every thought must everywhere be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2Cor. 10:5.” [John Theodore Muller, “Christian Dogmatics,” page 39.]