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"THERE is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days."
In a dream by night the Lord gave to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, a clear historical outline of the course of world empire to the end of time and the coming of the eternal kingdom.
The king was a thoughtful monarch; and having reached the height of his power, he was one night meditating upon "what should come to pass hereafter." Not for his sake alone, but for the enlightenment and instruction of men in all time, the Lord answered the wondering question of the king's meditation by giving him the dream. "He that revealeth secrets," said Daniel the prophet, "maketh known to thee what shall come to pass."
BABYLON IN HER GLORY
"Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency." Isa. 13:19.
And that we may know at the beginning that there is nothing fanciful and uncertain about this great historic outline reaching to the end of the world, we note first the assurance with which the prophet closed his interpretation: "The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."
The details of the dream had been taken from the king's mind, while conviction as to the wondrous import of it remained. This was in God's providence, to show the folly of the worldly-wise men of Babylon, and to bring before the king the prophet of the Lord with a divine message. The prophet Daniel, under the inspiration of God, brought his dream again to the king's mind:
"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 threshing floors; 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 prophet next declared the interpretation. And now follows the history of the world in miniature.
"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."
The parts of the image, then, of various metals, from head to feet, represented successive empires, beginning with Babylon; and the kingdom of Babylon, represented by Nebuchadnezzar, was the head of gold.
History shows how fitly the golden head symbolizes the Babylonian kingdom. Long before, the prophet Isaiah had described it as "the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency." Isa. 13:19. And now, in Nebuchadnezzar's day, it was the golden age of the Babylonian kingdom. No such gorgeous city as its capital ever before stood on earth. And Nebuchadnezzar was the great leader of its conquests, and the beautifier and builder of its walls and palaces. "For the astonishment of men I have built this house," one tablet reads; and hundreds repeat the story. "Those portals
for the astonishment of multitudes of
with beauty I adorned.
In order that the battle storm
the wall of Babylon might
what no king before me
had done." East India House Inscription.
Thus Nebuchadnezzar's records of stone today repeat the proud boast faithfully reported in the Scripture, "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built?" Dan. 4:30. To. the king it seemed that such a city could never fall. One inscription reads:
"Thus I completely made strong the defenses of Babylon. May it last forever."— Rawlinson, “Fourth Monarchy," Appendix A.
But the prophet Daniel, proceeding with the divine interpretation, interrupted all such proud thoughts with the declaration, "After thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee."