THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES - DANIEL 2
Because of Israel’s disobedience to God, He took away their national liberty and made them subject to the Gentile nations. God had warned His people against departing from Him. Lev. 23:17, “They that hate you shall reign over you.” Nebuchadnezzar who became king of the Babylonian Empire; had laid siege against Jerusalem and carried away the best of the people including Daniel to Babylon.
God counted Nebuchadnezzar the first world ruler and caused him to dream a complete prophetic picture of the rise and fall of Gentile world powers. He was troubled by the dream, yet he could not remember it. God led in all this, for He wanted Daniel to be brought to the attention of the king. It is so amazing how God does things, working in an unbeliever to bring about His will.
When the wise men of Babylon could not tell Him the dream, nor give the interpretation, Nebuchadnezzar ordered all the wise men to be slain and that included Daniel. In faith, Daniel stepped forward requesting the opportunity to prove the faithfulness of his God. Daniel sought God in prayer and asked his companions from Judah to pray also. God answered and revealed the secret to Daniel in a night vision. Daniel immediately gave praise and glory to God - Read Daniel 2:19-23. It is God that “removeth kings and setteth up kings.” Daniel introduces his God to Nebuchadnezzar, “there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets,” and hath made it known to you what shall come to pass in the latter days (Vs. 28-30). Daniel then rehearses the dream and the interpretation given to him by God.
THE DREAM: Vs. 31-35, “Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.”
THE INTERPRETATION: Vs. 37-38, “Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.” Gentile Times began with the Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar about 606 B.C. Overcome he acknowledges Daniel’s God, he knows the interpretation is true, for he heard his dream (V. 47). He does not yet know the living God of heaven. The image of four kinds of metal (gold, silver, brass, iron) and the feet of mixed iron and clay is a deterioration in value, but not strength for iron is the strongest metal here. They illustrate the four world empires of Gentile Times. Almost all of this is history to us, but future to Daniel. We are still living in Gentile times.
The next kingdom to rule the world is represented by the silver. This part of the image has two arms, because it was a duel kingdom, the Medes and the Persians (east and west divisions). They invaded and conquered Babylon. They reigned until they were overthrown by the Greeks under Alexander the great, the brass empire, which was divided among four generals at the death of Alexander, making it weaker. It wasn’t long after that, the Roman Empire gained control about 63 B.C. It is figured by the iron. It was very powerful, the strongest empire that has ever been. They crushed everyone under them (Vs. 39-40). They were ruling when Christ was born and crucified. It fell (about 325 A.D.) not by and an invading army, but by corruption and immorality within.
Since that time there has been mighty countries (like Great Britain, Germany, Russia, and the United States), but they never ruled all the world. We live in the last stages of Gentile Times, what is left of the Roman empire, figured by iron (a strong rule) and clay figuring democracy, (a weak rule, because the people rule) Vs. 41-43. We live on the threshold of the 10 toes, when the nations will unite in a confederacy of nations (east and west). It won’t last, because iron and clay don’t mix (democracy and imperialism), it is a weak structure. It will last for a little while. I Thess. 5:3, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
This is yet future, a fifth counterfeit world empire. A STONE shall come from heaven and hit the feet of the image (Vs. 44-45). The STONE represents Christ. Mt. 21:42-44 – Those who fall on the STONE, casting themselves on Christ with a broken and contrite spirit will be saved, otherwise the STONE will fall in destruction. In judgment the Stone comes down and hits this false empire of the end time (the confederacy of nations) and they are destroyed. The whole of Gentile rule or Gentile Times is ended. Christ will take His throne on the earth.
Gentile Times really ends when Christ is seated on His throne in heaven (Rev. 4:2-3). Their time to rule is over, it is time for Christ to rule. But the nations keep ruling in usurpation and tribulation will happen on the earth, in judgment. Christ will reveal Himself from heaven and come to earth to take control, putting an end to tribulation days (Mt. 24:22). For the Prince of Peace will reign universally and Israel will then enjoy their promised Kingdom Age, the Millennium.
In closing: The Times of the Gentiles includes the Church Age, we are living in the later days. Also Gentile Times is not the same as the fullness of the Gentiles (Rom. 11:25). The fulness of the Gentiles ends when the church is in heaven. The Lord has been visiting the Gentiles during this Church Age to take out of them a people for His Name sake (Acts 15:14). Of course believing Jews are also in the Church.
Next issue – The four beasts of Daniel 7.