and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.Daniel 2:38(NASB)
The redemptive plan of God and His purpose for mankind is the most thrilling tale ever to be told. It is a true story that spans the history of the world. It brings into focus heroic men and godly women. It gives us an understanding of the evil schemes of the satanic realm and their attempts to counter God's plan of redemption. And it helps to identify the wicked characters in the ongoing angelic conflict - a spiritual war between God and Satan, that has been raging in heavenly places for millennia.
The first chapter of Daniel provides a historical background surrounding Judah's exile in Babylon. We find Daniel, along with three friends and other high-born Israelite youths, being placed on a training programme in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel, together with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, resolved to stay true to the God of Israel, demonstrating that they were men after God's own heart.
As a result, God used Daniel to interpret a number of dreams and visions that provide us with a prophetic record of world history. Daniel gives us a timeline stretching from Judah's exile and Israel's dispersion, to the second coming of Christ, to set up His Millennial Kingdom on earth. Daniel was enabled to understand and interpret King Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a great statue with a golden head, which revealed a big picture of 'the Times of the Gentiles', which began with Judah's exile from Israel and will continue until Christ's second advent.
Chapter 2 provides in-depth details surrounding Nebuchadnezzar's dream, and verse 38 explains the meaning of the great statue, with its magnificent head of gold and the other body parts, which were constructed from different materials of diminishing value. The last and final empire was represented in the statue's feet and toes, which were made of iron mixed with miry clay.
Daniel accurately described the statue the king saw in his dream. It was a tall and dazzling figure of a man. This great image stood in front of him, and its appearance was terrifying. Daniel told the king that HE - Nebuchadnezzar, represented the head of gold on the terrifying image. He explained that God had placed the kingdoms of the world under his authority. "The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and glory." he told the king. "Wherever people live—or wild animals, or birds of the air—God has handed them over to you and made you ruler over them all. YOU ARE THAT HEAD OF GOLD!" Daniel concluded.
The same desire for world rule and total domination of an elite ruling class, such that we see today, began in the city of Babylon. The same lust for control appeared centuries before Nebuchadnezzar when Nimrod built the Tower of Babel. It was because of Israel's failure to trust in God, keep His covenant, and obey His commands, that the Lord has allowed fallen man to assume authority over the whole earth... until Israel is ready to repent of her sin and accept God's anointed Son as their Messiah.
Judah's exile into Babylon became a trigger point to set in motion one of God's prophetic clocks - the starting point for the Times of the Gentiles. Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon, was to be the first and greatest world empire to dominate world history, after God set aside His people Israel, because of their apostasy.
The countdown to Christ's first AND second advent began when that head of gold was identified as the kingdom of Babylon. The trigger point for the Times of the Gentiles that coincides with Nebuchadnezzar's dream, continues to tick towards the second coming of God's Anointed - when Jesus Christ the Righteous is crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.
God purposed in His plan that Christ must first come to save His people from their sin, through His death, burial, resurrection, and ascension, BEFORE He could smash in pieces the kingdoms of this world system. Sin had to be dealt with BEFORE He could grind the proud empires of the world to dust and regain dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, the cattle of the land, and every creeping thing that creeps on the face of earth, which was forfeited by the first Adam, so many years before.
Before the world began, God knew that man would sin and that rebellion would become part of man's sin-nature. He knew that His chosen people, Israel, (through whom the Messiah would come) would fall into apostasy and that their punishment would bring in the Times of the Gentiles. He knew that His anointed Messiah would be born into the human race as a babe in Bethlehem and be despised and rejected at His first advent, God knew that Christ's sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection would secure salvation for all who believe.
God knew that Nebuchadnezzar would be head of gold and that his reign would set in motion the Times of the Gentiles. He knew that Babylon would be the first kingdom to stride onto the pages of history, as time marched towards the Rapture of the Church, the second advent of Christ, the Time of Jacob's Trouble, and that glorious day, when a STONE, cut without hands, would strike the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crush the kingdoms of this world - bringing in the Millennial Kingdom of Christ.
God knew that Christ ALONE can break into pieces the bars of iron that entrap man's soul. He alone can triumph over man's greatest enemy - DEATH. He alone can defeat the terrible, satanic statue, with its head of gold that dominates the kingdoms of this world.
God told us the end from the beginning so that we would know that JESUS is that Stone that is cut without hands. JESUS is the Rock of our salvation, and whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken before the Lord (i.e. those saved by grace through faith), and that on whomsoever that Stone shall fall, will be ground to powder. (i.e. the wicked unbelievers and those in the satanic realm).
God in His wisdom and grace gave us this important picture of world domination, through a succession of evil empires dominated by Satan, to purify our hearts and strengthen our faith. He told us the end from the beginning so that everyone who has this hope in HIM, will purify themselves, even as HE is pure. We have a supernatural book written by almighty God, communicating to us His redemptive plans and purposes, and telling us all we need for life and godliness. God in His grace has opened our understanding so that we will not fear what is coming on the earth, but trust in His unfailing love.
KNOWING THIS... let us seek to trust in the Lord with ALL our heart and lean on HIS understanding in all things. Let us take to heart ALL that is written in the pages of Scripture and rejoice that the day is coming when the kingdoms of this world will become the eternal Kingdom of our God and of His Christ - the ROCK on Whom we stand. Let us rejoice that He is coming back to reign on earth and that because of our faith, we will reign with Him forever.
Heavenly Father, thank You for telling us the end from the beginning and purposing in Your heart to save me from my sin. Thank You that a day is coming when You will bring to nothing the proud puppets of Satan, who have enslaved the world, rejected Your offer of salvation, and put on a necklace of rebellion and pride. Keep me ever looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of my faith, the Rock on Whom I stand, and the Stone Who will smash to pieces all that is evil. How I praise Your name for the holy Scriptures. Increase my understanding I pray, and keep me looking for Christ's any day return. In Jesus' name, AMEN.