Daniel 2:44
And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(44) In the days of these kings.—Yet no kings have been mentioned hitherto. They must therefore correspond to the toes of the image. (Comp. Daniel 7:24.) It appears therefore that while this fourth kingdom still contrives to exist in some modified form, while its component parts are in a state of war and turmoil, the kingdom of God shall come. (Comp. Daniel 7:25-27.)

God of heaven.—(See Daniel 2:18).

Daniel 2:44-45. And in the days of these kings — That is, kingdoms, or during the succession of these four monarchies; and it must be during the time of the last of them, because they are reckoned four in succession, and consequently this must be the fifth kingdom. Shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom — This can only be understood with propriety, as the ancients understood it, of the kingdom of Christ. Accordingly, his kingdom was set up during the days of the last of these kingdoms, that is, the Roman. The stone was totally a different thing from the image; and the kingdom of Christ is totally different from the kingdoms of this world. The stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, as our heavenly body is said (2 Corinthians 5:1) to be a building of God, a house not made with hands, that is, spiritual, as the phrase is used in other places. This the fathers generally apply to Christ himself, who was miraculously born of a virgin, without the concurrence of man: but it should be rather understood of the kingdom of Christ, which was formed out of the Roman empire, not by number of hands, or strength of armies, but without human means, and the virtue of second causes. This kingdom was set up by the God of heaven, and from hence the phrase of the kingdom of heaven came to signify the kingdom of the Messiah; and so it was used and understood by the Jews, and so it is applied by our Saviour in the New Testament. Other kingdoms were raised by human ambition and worldly power; but this was the work not of man, but of God: this was truly, as it is called, the kingdom of heaven, and (John 18:36) a kingdom not of this world; its laws, its powers were all divine. This kingdom was never to be destroyed, as the Babylonian, the Persian, and the Macedonian empires have been, and in a great measure also the Roman. This kingdom was not to be left to any other people; it was to be erected by God in a peculiar manner, to extend itself over all the nations, and still to consist of the same people, without any alteration or change of their name. What this people were to be, and by what name to be called, the prophet expressly declares Daniel 7:17-18; they were to be the saints of the Most High. Of such was this kingdom to consist, and never to depart from them; a character which expressly determines the nature of the kingdom, and by whom it was to be erected and governed. This kingdom was to break in pieces and consume all kingdoms — To spread and enlarge itself, so that it should comprehend within itself all the former kingdoms. This kingdom was to fill the whole earth, to become universal, and to stand for ever. As the fourth kingdom, or the Roman empire, was represented in different states, first strong and flourishing, with legs of iron, and then weakened and divided, with feet and toes part of iron and part of clay; so this fifth kingdom, or the kingdom of Christ, is described likewise in two states, which Mr. Mede rightly distinguishes by the names of regnum lapidis, the kingdom of the stone, and regnum montis, the kingdom of the mountain. The first commenced when the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, while the statue continued on its feet, and the Roman empire was in its full strength, with legs of iron: the second, when the stone began to increase into a mountain, and to fill the earth, the Roman empire being in its last and weakest state. The image is still standing upon its feet and toes of iron and clay; and the kingdom of Christ is yet a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence. But the stone will one day smite the image upon the feet and toes, and destroy it utterly, and will itself become a great mountain, and fill the whole earth: or, in other words, The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever. We have, therefore, seen the kingdom of the stone; but we have not yet seen the kingdom of the mountain. Some parts of this prophecy still remain to be fulfilled; but the exact completion of the other parts will not suffer us to doubt of the accomplishment of the rest also in due season: see Bishop Newton.

2:31-45 This image represented the kingdoms of the earth, that should successively rule the nations, and influence the affairs of the Jewish church. 1. The head of gold signified the Chaldean empire, then in being. 2. The breast and arms of silver signified the empire of the Medes and Persians. 3. The belly and thighs of brass signified the Grecian empire, founded by Alexander. 4. The legs and feet of iron signified the Roman empire. The Roman empire branched into ten kingdoms, as the toes of these feet. Some were weak as clay, others strong as iron. Endeavours have often been used to unite them, for strengthening the empire, but in vain. The stone cut out without hands, represented the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ, which should be set up in the kingdoms of the world, upon the ruins of Satan's kingdom in them. This was the Stone which the builders refused, because it was not cut out by their hands, but it is become the head stone of the corner. Of the increase of Christ's government and peace there shall be no end. The Lord shall reign, not only to the end of time, but when time and days shall be no more. As far as events have gone, the fulfilling this prophetic vision has been most exact and undeniable; future ages shall witness this Stone destroying the image, and filling the whole earth.And in the days of these kings - Margin, "their." The reading in the text "these kings" - is the more correct. The Vulgate renders this, "in the days of these kingdoms." The natural and obvious sense of the passage is, that during the continuance of the kingdoms above-mentioned, or before they should finally pass away, that is, before the last one should become extinct, another kingdom would be established on the earth which would be perpetual. Before the succession of universal monarchies should have passed away, the new kingdom would be set up that would never be destroyed. Such language is not uncommon. "Thus, if we were to speak of anything taking place in the days of British kings, we should not of course understand it as running through all their reigns, but merely as occurring in some one of them." - Prof. Bush. So it is said in Ruth 1:1 : "It came to pass in the days when the judges ruled, that there was a famine in the land;" that is, the famine occurred sometime under that general administration, or before it had passed away, evidently not meaning that there was a famine in the reign of each one. So it is said of Jephthah, that he was buried "in the cities of Gilead;" that is, some one of them. Josiah was buried in, "the sepulchres of his fathers;" that is, in some one of them.

Shall the God of heaven - The God, who rules in heaven; the true God. This is designed to show the Divine origin of this kingdom, and to distinguish it from all others. Though the others here referred to were under the Divine control, and were designed to act an important part in preparing the world for this, yet they are not represented as deriving their origin directly from heaven. They were founded in the usual manner of earthly monarchies, but this was to have a heavenly origin. In accordance with this, the kingdom which the Messiah came to establish is often called, in the New Testament, "the kingdom of heaven," "the kingdom of God," etc. Compare Micah 4:7; Luke 1:32-33.

Set up a kingdom - "Shall cause to arise or stand up" - יקים yeqı̂ym. It shall not owe its origin to the usual causes by which empires are constituted on the earth by conquests; by human policy; by powerful alliances; by transmitted hereditary possession - but shall exist because God shall "appoint" and "constitute" it. There can be no reasonable doubt as to what kingdom is here intended, and nearly all expositors have supposed that it refers to the kingdom of the Messiah. Grotius, indeed, who made the fourth kingdom refer to the Seleucidse and Lagidse, was constrained by consistency to make this refer to the Roman power; but in this interpretation he stands almost, if not entirely, alone. Yet even he supposes it to refer not to "pagan" Rome only, but to Rome as the perpetual seat of power - the permanent kingdom - the seat of the church: "Imperium Romanum perpetuo mansurum, quod sedes erit ecclesice." And although he maintains that he refers to Rome primarily, yet he is constrained to acknowledge that what is here said is true in a higher sense of the kingdom of Christ: Sensus sublimior, Christum finem impositurum omnibus. imperiis terrestribus. But there can be no real doubt as to what kingdom is intended. Its distinctly declared Divine origin; the declaration that it shall never be destroyed; the assurance that it would absorb all other kingdoms, and that it would stand forever; and the entire accordance of these declarations with the account of the kingdom of the Messiah in the New Testament, show beyond a doubt that the kingdom of the Redeemer is intended.

Which shall never be destroyed - The others would pass away. The Babylonian would be succeeded by the Medo-Persian, that by the Macedonian, that by the Roman, and that in its turn by the one which the God of heaven would set up. This would be perpetual. Nothing would have power to overthrow it. It would live in the revolutions of all other kingdoms, and would survive them all. Compare the notes at Daniel 7:14; and the summary of the doctrines taught here at the close of the notes at Daniel 2:45.

And the kingdom shall not be left to other people - Margin, "thereof. Literally, "Its kingdom shall not be left to other people;" that is, the ruling power appropriate to this kingdom or dominion shall never pass away from its rightful possessor, and be transferred to other hands. In respect to other kingdoms, it often happens that their sovereigns are deposed, and that their power passes into the hands of usurpers. But this can never occur in this kingdom. The government will never change hands. The administration will be perpetual. No foreign power shall sway the scepter of this kingdom. There "may be" an allusion here to the fact that, in respect to each of the other kingdoms mentioned, the power over the same territory "did" pass into the hands of other people. Thus, on the same territory, the dominion passed from the hands of the Babylonian princes to the hands of Cyrus the Persian, and then to the hands of Alexander the Macedonian, and then to the hands of the Romans. But this would never occur in regard to the kingdom which the God of heaven would set up. In the region of empire appropriate to it, it would never change hands; and this promise of perpetuity made this kingdom wholly unlike all its predecessors.

But it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms - As represented by the stone cut out of the mountains without hands, impinging on the image. See the notes at Daniel 2:34-35.

Two inquiries at once meet us here, of somewhat difficult solution. The first is, How, if this is designed to apply to the kingdom of the Messiah, can the description be true? The language here would seem to imply some violent action; some positive crushing force; something like what occurs in conquests when nations are subdued. Would it not appear from this that the kingdom here represented was to make its way by conquests in the same manner as the other kingdoms, rather than by a silent and peaceful influence? Is this language, in fact, applicable to the method in which the kingdom of Christ is to supplant all others? In reply to these questions, it may be remarked,

(1) That the leading idea, as apparent in the prophecy, is not so much that of "violence" as that the kingdoms referred to would be "uttterly brought to an end;" that there would be, under this new kingdom, ultimately an entire cessation of the others; or that they would be removed or supplanted by this. This is represented Daniel 2:35 by the fact that the materials composing the other kingdoms are represented before this as becoming like "the chaff of the summer threshing-floors;" and as "being carried away, so that no place was found for them." The stone cut out of the mountain, small at first, was mysteriously enlarged, so that it occupied the place which they did, and ultimately filled the earth. A process of gradual demolition, acting on them by constant attrition, removing portions of them, and occupying their place until they should disappear, and until there should be a complete substitution of the new kingdom in their place, would seem to correspond with all that is essential in the prophetic description, See the notes at Daniel 2:34, on the expression, "which smote the image upon his feet." But

(2) This language is in accordance with what is commonly used in the predictions respecting the kingdom of the Messiah - language which is descriptive of the existence of "power" in subduing the nations, and bringing the opposing kingdoms of the world to an end. Thus in Psalm 2:9, "Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron: thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." Isaiah 9:12, "for the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted." So 1 Corinthians 15:24-25, "When he shall have put down all rule, and all authority and power. For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet." These expressions denote that there will be an entire subjection of other kingdoms to that of the Messiah, called in the New Testament "the kingdom of God." They undoubtedly imply that there will be some kind of "force" employed - for this great work cannot be accomplished without the existence of "power;" but it may be remarked

(a) That it does not necessarily mean that there will be "physical" force, or power like that by which kingdoms have been usually overturned. The kingdom of the Redeemer is a kingdom of "principles," and those principles will subdue the nations, and bring them into subjection.

(b) It does not necessarily mean that the effect here described will be accomplished "at once." It may be by a gradual process, like a continual beating on the image, reducing it ultimately to powder.

The other question which arises here is, How can it be said that the new kingdom which was to be set up would "break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms?" How could the destruction of the image in the Roman period be in fact the destruction of the "three" previous kingdoms, represented by gold, and silver, and brass? Would they not in fact have passed away before the Roman power came into existence? And yet, is not the representation in Daniel 2:35, that the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold were broken in pieces together, and were all scattered like the chaff of the summer threshing-floor? Is it supposed that these kingdoms would be all in existence at the same time, and that the action of the symbolic "stone" was to be alike on all of them? To these questions, we may answer,

(1) That the meaning is, undoubtedly, that three of these kingdoms would have passed away at the time of the action of the "stone" referred to. They were to be a "succession" of kingdoms, occupying, to a great extent, the same territory, and not contemporary monarchies occupying distinct territories.

(2) The action of the "stone" was in fact, in a most important sense, to be on them all; that is, it was to be on what "constituted" these successive kingdoms of gold, silver, brass, and iron. Each was in its turn an universal monarchy. The same territory was substantially occupied by them all. The Medo-Persian scepter extended over the region under the Babylonian; the Macedonian over that; the Roman over that. There were indeed "accessions" in each successive monarchy, but still anything which affected the Roman empire affected what had "in fact" been the Babylonian, the Medo-Persian, and the Macedonian. A demolition of the image in the time of the Roman empire would be, therefore, in fact, a demolition of the whole.

continued...

44. in the days of these kings—in the days of these kingdoms, that is, of the last of the four. So Christianity was set up when Rome had become mistress of Judea and the world (Lu 2:1, &c.) [Newton]. Rather, "in the days of these kings," answers to "upon his feet" (Da 2:34); that is, the ten toes (Da 2:42), or ten kings, the final state of the Roman empire. For "these kings" cannot mean the four successional monarchies, as they do not coexist as the holders of power; if the fourth had been meant, the singular, not the plural, would be used. The falling of the stone on the image must mean, destroying judgment on the fourth Gentile power, not gradual evangelization of it by grace; and the destroying judgment cannot be dealt by Christians, for they are taught to submit to the powers that be, so that it must be dealt by Christ Himself at His coming again. We live under the divisions of the Roman empire which began fourteen hundred years ago, and which at the time of His coming shall be definitely ten. All that had failed in the hand of man shall then pass away, and that which is kept in His own hand shall be introduced. Thus the second chapter is the alphabet of the subsequent prophetic statements in Daniel [Tregelles].

God of heaven … kingdom—hence the phrase, "the kingdom of heaven" (Mt 3:2).

not … left to other people—as the Chaldees had been forced to leave their kingdom to the Medo-Persians, and these to the Greeks, and these to the Romans (Mic 4:7; Lu 1:32, 33).

break … all—(Isa 60:12; 1Co 15:24).

In the days of these kings, i.e. while the iron kingdom stood, (for Christ was born in the reign of Augustus Caesar, Luke 2:1)

shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom. Now see the difference of Christ’s kingdom from all other kingdoms in the world.

1. In the rise of it, it was not by earthly succession, or arms, or policy.

2. It is spiritual and heavenly in the laws and administration of it.

3. Jesus Christ was not a mere man, but God-man, he is the King, the Son of God.

4. It is stronger than all others, because it breaks them in pieces.

5. It is not bounded by any limits as worldly empires are, but truly universal.

6. It shall be for ever, and never destroyed and given to others, as the rest were.

And in the days of these kings, &c. Not of the Babylonian, Persian, and Grecian kings; nor, indeed, of the old Roman kings, or emperors; but in the days of these ten kings, or kingdoms, into which the Roman empire is divided, signified by the ten toes, of different power and strength. Indeed the kingdom of Christ began to be set up in the times of Augustus Caesar, under whom Christ was born; and of Tiberius, under whom he was crucified; and was continued and increased in the reigns of others, until it obtained very much in the times of Constantine; and, after it suffered a diminution under the Papacy, was revived at the Reformation; but will not be set up in its glory until Christ has overcome the ten kings, or kingdoms, and put it into their hearts to hate and burn the antichristian whore; and when she and all the antichristian states will be destroyed by the pouring out of the vials: and then in their days

shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; this is the kingdom of the Messiah, as is owned by both ancient and modern Jews: so it is said in an ancient book (p) of theirs,

"in the time of the King Messiah, Israel shall be one nation in the earth, and one people to the holy blessed God; as it is written, in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, &c.'';

and in another of their writings (q), esteemed very ancient, it is said,

"the Ishmaelites shall do fifteen things in the earth in the last days; the last of which mentioned is, they shall erect an edifice in the temple; at length two brothers shall rise up against them, and in their days shall spring up the branch of the Son of David; as it is said, in the days of these kings, &c.'';

and both Jarchi and Aben Ezra interpret this kingdom of the kingdom of the Messiah; and so Jacchiades, a much later writer, says the last kingdom is that of the Messiah: and another modern Jewish writer says (r), in the time of the King Messiah there shall be but one kingdom, and but one King; and this the King, the true Messiah; but the rest of the kingdoms and their kings shall not subsist in his time; as it is written, "in the days of these kings &c."; which kingdom is no other than his church on earth, where he reigns; has his throne; holds forth his sceptre; gives out his laws, and is obeyed: and, though this is already in the world, yet it is not so visible, stable, and glorious, as it will be at the close of the fourth monarchy, which is meant by its being set up, confirmed, and established; and this will be done by the God of heaven, the Maker and possessor of it, and who dwells in it, and rules there, and over all the earth; and therefore Christ's church, or kingdom, is often called the kingdom of heaven; and when it is thus established, it will ever remain visible; its glory will be no more eclipsed; and much less subverted and overthrown, by all the powers of earth and hell. Christ was set up as King from everlasting, and the elect of God were appointed and given him as a kingdom as early; and in and over these he reigns by his Spirit and grace in time, when they are effectually called, and brought into subjection to him; these are governed by laws of his making: he is owned by them as their Lord and King, and they yield a ready and cheerful obedience to his commands, and he protects and defends them from their enemies; and such a kingdom Christ has always had from the beginning of the world: but there was a particular time in which it was to be set up in a more visible and glorious manner: it was set up in the days of his flesh on earth, though it came not with observation, or was attended with outward pomp and grandeur, it being spiritual, and not of this world; upon his ascension to heaven it appeared greater; he was made or declared Lord and Christ, and his Gospel was spread everywhere: in the times of Constantine it was still more glorious, being further extended, and enjoying great peace, liberty, and prosperity: in the times of Popish darkness, a stop was put to the progress of it, and it was reduced into a narrow compass; at the Reformation there was a fresh breaking of it out again, and it got ground in the world: in the spiritual reign it will be restored, and much more increased, through the Gospel being preached, and churches set up everywhere; and Christ's kingdom will then be more extensive; it will be from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth; it will be more peaceable and prosperous; there will be none to annoy and do hurt to the subjects of it; it will be no more subject to changes and revolutions, but will be in a firm and stable condition; it will be established upon the top of the mountains, and be more visible and glorious, which is here meant by its being "set up": especially this will be the case in the Millennium state, when Christ shall reign before his ancients gloriously and they shall reign with him; and this will never be destroyed, but shall issue in the ultimate glory; for now all enemies will be put under the feet of Christ and his church; the beast and false prophet will be no more; and Satan will be bound during this time, and after that cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, with all the wicked angels and men:

and the kingdom shall not be left to another people; as the Babylonian monarchy to the Medes and Persians; the Persian monarchy to the Greeks; and the Grecian monarchy to the Romans; but this shall not be left to a strange people, but shall be given to the saints of the most High; see Daniel 7:27,

but it shall break in pieces and subdue all these kingdoms; the Babylonian, Persian, Grecian, and Roman; the three former in the latter, which has swallowed them up; besides, the rest of these monarchies, which are all signified by beasts in an after prophecy, are said still to live, though their dominion is taken away, Daniel 7:12, the same nations are in being, though not as monarchies, and have not the same denomination, and are in other hands; now these, and whatsoever kingdoms shall exist, when this shall be set up, shall be either broke to pieces, and utterly destroyed, or become subject to it; see 1 Corinthians 15:24,

and it shall stand for ever: throughout time in this world, and to all eternity in another; it will be an everlasting kingdom; which is interpreted by Irenaeus (s), an ancient Christian writer in the second century, of the resurrection of the just; his words are,

"the great God hath signified by Daniel things to come, and he hath confirmed them by the Son; and Christ is the stone which is cut out without hands, who shall destroy temporal kingdoms, and bring in an everlasting one, which is the resurrection of the just; for he saith, the God of heaven shall raise up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed;''

this is the first resurrection, which brings on the personal reign, in which the righteous shall reign with him a thousand years; see Revelation 20:5.

(p) Zohar in Gen. fol. lxxxv. 4. (q) Pirke Eliezer, c. 30. fol. 31. 2.((r) R. Isaac, Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. p. 45. (s) Adv. Haeres. l. 5. c. 26.

And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
44. in the days of these kings] i.e. of the Seleucidae and Ptolemies, as is implied by the part of the image on which the stone falls (Daniel 2:34). The period in the history of these monarchies which is more particularly referred to is the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes (b.c. 175–164), whose fall, according to the representation of the book of Daniel (cf. Daniel 7:25-27, Daniel 11:45 to Daniel 12:3), was to be succeeded immediately by the establishment of the kingdom of God.

shall never be destroyed] in contrast to the previous kingdoms, which, from different causes, had all perished. Cf. Daniel 7:14.

and the kingdom, &c.] nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people. It will endure for ever; and its power will never be transferred to another people. The expression implies that the Divine kingdom itself is in the hands of a people, viz. Israel.

break in pieces] cf. Daniel 2:34-35.

and it shall stand for ever] the it is emphatic.

44, 45. The kingdom of God, to succeed these kingdoms.

Verses 44, 45. - And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never he destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever, Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure. The Greek versions differ from the Massoretic text only in the order in which the materials of the statue arc recorded. These are arranged in the reverse order in which they are first mentioned, that is to say, we have first the clay, then the iron, and so on, to the gold. This is the order followed by Jerome. On the other hand, the Peshitta follows the Massoretic order. The reason for the order adopted in the Septuagint. Theodotion, and the Vulgate is evidently a symmetrical one, and therefore more likely to be the result of emendation than the somewhat haphazard order of the received text. It is, however, not impossible that the similarity of sound has led to haspa, "clay," being brought out of its proper place at the beginning of the list and placed in juxtaposition with kaspa, "silver." Ewald thinks that the order of the Greek versions is to be preferred. Professor Bevan is doubtful, and refers to the order of the metals in Daniel 5:4, which begins with "gold" and ends with "stone." In the days of these kings. This must refer to the kings who made up the last dynasty, especially the kings of the sub-dynasties represented by the ten toes. If the traditional interpretation is correct, these days are still future. It is not impossible that all the dynasties of the vision are implied, and that the kingdom of heaven is preparing during the whole period; only the natural meaning is that we have assumed. Shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom. It may be noted that, while in the rest of this chapter the Septuagint renders this title, Κύριος τοῦ οὐρανοῦ or Κὐριος ὁ ὕψιστος, here the rendering is, ὁ Θεὸς τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. This is a clear statement of the Messianic hopes of the Jews on one side - a Messianic kingdom and Messianic times. This new kingdom is on a different plane from those that preceded it, which go to make up the mysterious image. It is explained to be from the direct interference of the God of heaven that this new kingdom is intruded upon history. When we look at the material, it is inferior to all that had gone before - inferior even to the fire-baked clay of the potter, which formed the toes of the image. This way of representing the Messianic kingdom would have appeared inadequate to an ordinary Jew. Waiving the fact that he regarded the Messianic empire to be another such as the empires of Assyria and Babylonia, only greater, the Jew would certainly have declared that the Messianic kingdom of heaven was a precious stone, not an ordinary piece of rock that goes to build up the framework of the mountains. It is impossible to deny that it is strange that the symbol should be thus a less precious material than even that of the lowest and weakest kingdom of the worldly system of dynasties. When we look at a metal, how homogeneous it is! With rocks, again, begins individualism. The more precious metals, with their extreme ductility, seem to be further removed from this individualism than the baser, such as copper and iron, and clay is still less removed than iron. But simple rock is furthest removed of all from metallic homogeneousness: the grains that compose it, unlike the chemical atoms of the metal, are visible to the naked eye. The process of degradation, which had proceeded through kingdom after kingdom, had now reached its lowest point. Wherever the setting up of this Messianic kingdom is placed, whenever it is held as occurring, it is certain it fits most naturally the Christian Church. The old civilization, represented by the Assyrian monarchy, had only one free man in the state, and that was the king. The Persians had nobles whose power rendered the king's supremacy less absolute than it had been in the Assyrian days. In the days of Greek and Roman supremacy the freedom of citizenship was, even in the republics, possessed only by a few, the rest were slaves. Still, the freedom was much more widely spread than in the Persian and Assyrian monarchies; only the Church, the kingdom of heaven, made of slaves citizens. It is the very acme of individualism. Looked at from without, the kingdom of heaven was a thing to be despised - a thing for freedmen and slaves, for poor workmen and peasants. In the Assyrian form of government the king was the state; so the royal metal, gold, is used. In the Persian the nobles rule; so we have silver. In Greece it is the free citizens, therefore the artistic but less noble metal, copper, or, perhaps, its composite form as bronze, is used. In Rome, in imperial times, it is the soldiery, and therefore iron is the metal that symbolizes them. Shall we step over the intervening centuries of retrogression, and see in the clay the modern mercantile and manufacturing interests? To the ordinary eye of the world, there is a progressive degeneracy here. The lowest point is reached; not even the rich, not to speak of the noble and learned, but the poor and the ignorant, form the kingdom. Another contrast in the symbol is that these metallic empires remained stationary; they reached a limit, then could go no further - not growth, but stationariness, is represented by their symbol; but this stone cut out of the mountain "grows," and ceases not till it has filled the earth. Further, the kingdoms which went to build up the dream-statue endure only for a time; this rock-built kingdom is an ever-lasting kingdom. It is not limited either in extent or duration. This, again, suits only the Church of Christ; fitted and intended to fill the earth, it also has an unending duration. The world itself may end, but the Church does not. We do not mean to assert that Daniel foresaw this distinctly; the very idea of the prophetic office implied that the speaker often did not know the full import of his own words. It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. The silent, disruptive influence of Christianity is exhibited in regard to slavery, which was the foundation of the ancient state. Without opposing slavery, to appearance, it laid down principles which rendered slavery impossible. The supreme dignity it gives to the individual, as bearing the image of God, affirms the claims of democracy, and so affirms them that the modern state must disappear. Forasmuch as thou sawest the stone teas cut out of the mountain without hands. Nothing could be more silent or unobserved by the men of the world, or more unlikely to form the beginning of a new world-power than Christianity. If Judaism was regarded as "the mountain of the Lord's house," then this new kingdom was cut from it, as Christianity was from Judaism. And that it brake, etc. The reason why Nebuchadnezzar had seen all this - the growth of this kingdom, the way it destroyed all other kingdoms - was now to be made known. The great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter; or, as it ought to be rendered, a great god. The word, as observed by Professor Bevan, is not in the status emphaticus; see Ezra 5:8, אלחא רבא (elaha rabba). Daniel thus recognizes the fact that, to his heathen master, all that in the first instance he can convey to him - the only idea he can give him - of the greatness of Jehovah is that he is very great, not that he is the solely Great One in the universe (see Behrmann). Zockler, Ewald, Keil, and Kranichfeld assert that the fact of the words "great god" (elah tab) being in the absolute, not the emphatic state, is due to the elevation of pectic language. In the first place, this is not poetry, and, in the second place, neither of these writers gives any example of such a change of construction taking place. Made known to the king. Why was it to "the king"? One objectsecured by making this revelation known to Nebuchadnezzar himself was that it secured its publicity. Had the vision been made known to Daniel himself, he could not have announced that the empire of Babylon should pass away, without running the risk of being condemned for treason. The king's action had made both dream and interpretation perforce public in a way they could not otherwise have been. What shall come to pass hereafter; literally, which shall be after these things. This does not mean in the immediate future, but after the state of matters at present existing - the domination of the world by great powers after the system of great world-empires has passed away, then will the Lord's kingdom be set up. And the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure; or, literally, to bring out the emphasis, certain - established - it is the dream, and sure - faithful - the interpretation. This is not a mere assertion of the fact that he, Daniel, had given an exact account of what the king had seen in his dream, and a correct interpretation of its import; of the first the king was the best judge. It is rather an argument: "The account of the dream is correct; from this learn that the interpretation is sure." Daniel 2:44The world-kingdom will be broken to pieces by the kingdom which the God of heaven will set up. "In the days of these kings," i.e., of the kings of the world-kingdoms last described; at the time of the kingdoms denoted by the ten toes of the feet of the image into which the fourth world-monarchy extends itself; for the stone (Daniel 2:34) rolling against the feet of the image, or rather against the toes of the feet, breaks and destroys it. This kingdom is not founded by the hands of man, but is erected by the God of heaven, and shall for ever remain immoveable, in contrast to the world-kingdoms, the one of which will be annihilated by the other. Its dominion will not be given to another people. מלכוּתהּ, his dominion, i.e., of the kingdom. This word needs not to be changed into מלכוּתהּ, which is less suitable, since the mere status absol. would not be here in place. Among the world-kingdoms the dominion goes from one people to another, from the Babylonians to the Persians, etc. On the contrary, the kingdom of God comprehends always the same people, i.e., the people of Israel, chosen by God to be His own, only not the Israel κατὰ σάρκα, but the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16). But the kingdom of God will not merely exist eternally without change of its dominion, along with the world-kingdoms, which are always changing and bringing one another to dissolution, it will also break in pieces and destroy all these kingdoms (תסף, from סוּף, to bring to an end, to make an end to them), but itself shall exist for ever. This is the meaning of the stone setting itself free without the hands of man, and breaking the image in pieces.
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