Faithlife Sermons

The Statue of Empires

Sermon  •  Submitted
0 ratings
· 1 view
Notes & Transcripts
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →
Background
Two Slides
Statue SlideHead of GoldThe first part of the statue is the head of gold. This as Daniel tells us represents the Babylonian empire. This is a very fitting material since even to this day Babylon is a byword for great wealth. However this is also depicted as gold because from the perspective of the king this was the richest kingdom since the rulers in all the subsequent empires do not have the absolute grip on power as the Babylonian kings did and in fact in terms of the ability for a ruler to govern according to their own will, each kingdom sees a diminishing of power in their rule. Chest and Arms of SilverThe empire that followed the Babylonians was the Medo-Persian Empire. It is worth noting that the Lord designed it so that this empire occupies the part of the body that has the arms. The two arms represent the two sides to this empire since this empire was in fact two empires that became joined as one. It is this empire that we see conquering Babylon in Daniel chapter 5.Also represented as a precious metal because it was this empire that perfected taxation and so they were well known for their wealth but nevertheless not as wealthy as the previous Babylonian kingdom. Belly and thighs of BronzeInteresting again that this third kingdom should be represented by bronze since this kingdom was highly regarded for its use of bronze weaponry.This is the Grecian empire, it is the belly because Alexander the Great formed this empire as one single unified empire. However upon his death the empire was split between four of his generals, but out of those four only two became noteworthy. The Ptolemaic Empire which took the southern regions and the Seleucid Empire which took Syria, Babylon and Persia. This is why the third kingdom starts as the unified belly but then is represented as the thighs since it splits into two. The Legs of Iron Next we have the Roman Empire, signified by two legs of iron. Iron because it is symbolic of strength and if we should pick only one word to sum-up the Roman Empire it would surely have to be strength, and of course the Romans were in fact well known for their extensive use of iron.Two legs because the Roman empire was ruled firstly in Rome but then later on in the Byzantine era from Constantinople as the Emperor Constantine took the very unusual step of moving the empires capital. And notice throughout that while the strength of the materials varies the values of the each material decreases with each successive empire. We are so often led to believe by the media that the human race is capable of attaining greater levels of glory and perfect harmonious living is achievable without religion. But the reality of what we see here is not evolution but devolution. Feet of Iron and ClayIn reality we are not actually seeing a fifth empire here since in actual fact this is a continuation of the fourth. Previously every kingdom has been overthrown by it’s subsequent empire, the Babylonians were conquered by the Medo-Persians, the Medo-Persians were conquered by the Greeks, the Greeks were conquered by the Romans but the Roman Empire was never conquered.Instead Rome fractured and divided into various nations. Some retained great strength and others not. Many people like to speculate about exactly how this representation of the feet and clay will exist. But since at least some of this pertains to circumstances that have not yet happened we will ere on the side of caution. All too often even very knowledgeable bible scholars make assertions of this passage only to find that world political circumstances change and their understanding proved to be wrong. So will focus on what we can clearly see rather than speculate on what we can’t. So what we can clearly see is that there will be in the last days, a coming together of nations that were formerly part of the Roman Empire, since we see that this continues from the Romans and that there is iron throughout.It is interesting how we see an attempt in this day and age to recreate the strength and unity of the Roman Empire through the European Union. Now I am not here to argue for ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ but I personally choose not to get drawn into the whole debate since the scripture shows that there will always be division among the countries of the former Roman Empire until the Lord’s return.The iron mixed with clay means that there will be some strength present in the fabric of the material because it is mixed with clay which is weak it will not hold its strength.It would seem that this empire will have more the appearance of strength than the reality of it.The ten toes of the statue are also very symbolic except we are not sure exactly how this will be. In Daniel chapter 7 we see these same empires and events being portrayed from a different angle as Daniel sees the vision of four beasts. And in this, rather than 10 toes he sees 10 horns and we are told that these 10 are 10 rulers that will arise. People have speculated that this will be a confederation of 10 nations which may be the case but we need to exercise great care because does not say 10 nations but 10 rulers and that the Anti-Christ will arise from among them.Now I understand that the reason scholars interpret this as being 10 nations since there are 10 rulers and we would assume that each represents a nation but we must not be quick to jump to conclusions, this may be the case but equally there can be other ways to fulfill this.Either way we as Christians watch world events with great interest and we keep a watch for this alliance of either 10 nations or 10 rulers that will come to symbolize the 10 toes on this statue.
Daniel
Daniel 2:31–45 ESV
“You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
Statue Slide
NKJVAnd in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
The rock which comes down from heaven is Jesus Himself, he is referred to many times in scripture as a stone or rock but the occasion that we often think of the most is in “the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone”.Mountains are in the scripture symbolic of ‘Kingdom’ and so we told that in the days of the rulers of the European Confederation that Jesus will return and shall put an end to the current rule and also wipe out all remembrance of the previous empires.As much as all these empires had great strength and appeared impressive they nevertheless hold no strength against the Lord. And as impressive as they may appear in the eyes of men, there was nothing in them that the Lord chooses to retain.
Head of Gold
The first part of the statue is the head of gold. This as Daniel tells us represents the Babylonian empire. This is a very fitting material since even to this day Babylon is a byword for great wealth. However this is also depicted as gold because from the perspective of the king this was the richest kingdom since the rulers in all the subsequent empires do not have the absolute grip on power as the Babylonian kings did and in fact in terms of the ability for a ruler to govern according to their own will, each kingdom sees a diminishing of power in their rule.
NKJVThen the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Verse 35 tells us how just as the summer wind blows away the chaff so that nothing remains, so also will the Lord obliterate every scheme of man. Besides the people themselves there is literally nothing in these empires that the Lord wishes to preserve, every piece is rotten.But the Kingdom that the Lord establishes upon His return will never be overthrown, will never fracture and will remain for all time.Everything that is done for this world system is vanity and temporary but Lord says “do not store up treasures on earth but treasures in heaven” () because what is stored up in heaven remains with us the Lord’s everlasting Kingdom, what is stored up here will vanish. In this day an age there is a huge amount of uncertainty and instability. I know people who are looking to stockpile goods, such is their worry about future instability. Only a few years ago we saw the price of gold sky-rocketing as people retrieved their money out of banks and investment funds in order to put their wealth into something that is physical and tangible such is their worry about future markets.But as we read Daniels 2 we read in verse 45
Chest and Arms of Silver
NKJVInasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
The empire that followed the Babylonians was the Medo-Persian Empire. It is worth noting that the Lord designed it so that this empire occupies the part of the body that has the arms. The two arms represent the two sides to this empire since this empire was in fact two empires that became joined as one. It is this empire that we see conquering Babylon in Daniel chapter 5.
While there may be uncertainty in everything else, Daniel assures that “this dream is certain and it’s interpretation sure”.There are not many “sure things” around in this day and age. But the return of the Lord and the establishing of His Kingdom is a sure thing.Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians how in the last days there will be an illusion of security, but it is at precisely this time that we ought to be the most alert.
Also represented as a precious metal because it was this empire that perfected taxation and so they were well known for their wealth but nevertheless not as wealthy as the previous Babylonian kingdom.
NKJVFor when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
Why do we preach this if it is a sure thing and can’t be changed?Does it make any difference if we talk about it or not?Well Paul instructs us to comfort one another with the knowledge of the Lord’s return, and so this evening we enjoy a comforting as we ponder the wonderful news.
Belly and thighs of Bronze
Interesting again that this third kingdom should be represented by bronze since this kingdom was highly regarded for its use of bronze weaponry.
This is the Grecian empire, it is the belly because Alexander the Great formed this empire as one single unified empire. However upon his death the empire was split between four of his generals, but out of those four only two became noteworthy. The Ptolemaic Empire which took the southern regions and the Seleucid Empire which took Syria, Babylon and Persia. This is why the third kingdom starts as the unified belly but then is represented as the thighs since it splits into two.
The Legs of Iron
Next we have the Roman Empire, signified by two legs of iron. Iron because it is symbolic of strength and if we should pick only one word to sum-up the Roman Empire it would surely have to be strength, and of course the Romans were in fact well known for their extensive use of iron.
Two legs because the Roman empire was ruled firstly in Rome but then later on in the Byzantine era from Constantinople as the Emperor Constantine took the very unusual step of moving the empires capital.
And notice throughout that while the strength of the materials varies the values of the each material decreases with each successive empire. We are so often led to believe by the media that the human race is capable of attaining greater levels of glory and perfect harmonious living is achievable without religion. But the reality of what we see here is not evolution but devolution.
Feet of Iron and Clay
Feet of Iron and Clay
In reality we are not actually seeing a fifth empire here since in actual fact this is a continuation of the fourth. Previously every kingdom has been overthrown by it’s subsequent empire, the Babylonians were conquered by the Medo-Persians, the Medo-Persians were conquered by the Greeks, the Greeks were conquered by the Romans but the Roman Empire was never conquered.
Instead Rome fractured and divided into various nations. Some retained great strength and others not.
Many people like to speculate about exactly how this representation of the feet and clay will exist. But since at least some of this pertains to circumstances that have not yet happened we will ere on the side of caution. All too often even very knowledgeable bible scholars make assertions of this passage only to find that world political circumstances change and their understanding proved to be wrong. So will focus on what we can clearly see rather than speculate on what we can’t.
So what we can clearly see is that there will be in the last days, a coming together of nations that were formerly part of the Roman Empire, since we see that this continues from the Romans and that there is iron throughout.
It is interesting how we see an attempt in this day and age to recreate the strength and unity of the Roman Empire through the European Union. Now I am not here to argue for ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ but I personally choose not to get drawn into the whole debate since the scripture shows that there will always be division among the countries of the former Roman Empire until the Lord’s return.
The iron mixed with clay means that there will be some strength present in the fabric of the material because it is mixed with clay which is weak it will not hold its strength.
It would seem that this empire will have more the appearance of strength than the reality of it.
The ten toes of the statue are also very symbolic except we are not sure exactly how this will be. In Daniel chapter 7 we see these same empires and events being portrayed from a different angle as Daniel sees the vision of four beasts. And in this, rather than 10 toes he sees 10 horns and we are told that these 10 are 10 rulers that will arise. People have speculated that this will be a confederation of 10 nations which may be the case but we need to exercise great care because does not say 10 nations but 10 rulers and that the Anti-Christ will arise from among them.
Now I understand that the reason scholars interpret this as being 10 nations since there are 10 rulers and we would assume that each represents a nation but we must not be quick to jump to conclusions, this may be the case but equally there can be other ways to fulfill this.
Either way we as Christians watch world events with great interest and we keep a watch for this alliance of either 10 nations or 10 rulers that will come to symbolize the 10 toes on this statue.
1 Slide
Daniel 2:44–45 ESV
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
The rock which comes down from heaven is Jesus Himself, he is referred to many times in scripture as a stone or rock but the occasion that we often think of the most is in “the stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone”. Mountains are in the scripture symbolic of ‘Kingdom’ and so we told that in the days of the rulers of the European Confederation that Jesus will return and shall put an end to the current rule and also wipe out all remembrance of the previous empires.As much as all these empires had great strength and appeared impressive they nevertheless hold no strength against the Lord. And as impressive as they may appear in the eyes of men, there was nothing in them that the Lord chooses to retain.
1 Slide
Daniel 2:35 ESV
Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Verse 35 tells us how just as the summer wind blows away the chaff so that nothing remains, so also will the Lord obliterate every scheme of man. Besides the people themselves there is literally nothing in these empires that the Lord wishes to preserve, every piece is rotten.
But the Kingdom that the Lord establishes upon His return will never be overthrown, will never fracture and will remain for all time.
Everything that is done for this world system is vanity and temporary but Lord says “do not store up treasures on earth but treasures in heaven” () because what is stored up in heaven remains with us the Lord’s everlasting Kingdom, what is stored up here will vanish.
In this day an age there is a huge amount of uncertainty and instability. I know people who are looking to stockpile goods, such is their worry about future instability. Only a few years ago we saw the price of gold sky-rocketing as people retrieved their money out of banks and investment funds in order to put their wealth into something that is physical and tangible such is their worry about future markets.
But as we read Daniels 2 we read in verse 45.
1 Slide
Daniel 2:45 ESV
just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.”
While there may be uncertainty in everything else, Daniel assures that “this dream is certain and it’s interpretation sure”.
There are not many “sure things” around in this day and age. But the return of the Lord and the establishing of His Kingdom is a sure thing.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians how in the last days there will be an illusion of security, but it is at precisely this time that we ought to be the most alert.
1 Slide
1 Thessalonians 5:3–11 ESV
While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
Why do we preach this if it is a sure thing and can’t be changed?
Does it make any difference if we talk about it or not?
Well Paul instructs us to comfort one another with the knowledge of the Lord’s return, and so this evening we enjoy a comforting as we ponder the wonderful news.
Related Media
Related Sermons