Daniel 2:45
Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, 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.
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(45) The stone cut out of the mountain.—The mountain was not mentioned in Daniel 2:34. In the language of prophecy, it must mean Mount Zion, which appears in other passages to be closely connected with the Messiah and His Kingdom, e.g., Isaiah 2:2; Psalm 1:2. The stone is set free from this mountain, and as it rolls on in its destructive course, overthrows all the kingdoms of the world, and becomes a mountain which fills the whole earth. The Messiah is elsewhere spoken of under the figure of a stone (Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42). The phrase “cut without hands” refers to the supernatural agency by which the stone accomplishes its work. The stone is now rolling, as the kingdom of God spreads further and further day by day. The image is still standing, the stone has not yet fallen upon it. When that moment arrives, and not till then, “the kingdoms of the world will become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ” (Revelation 11:15).

Throughout the vision we must notice one great contrast. There is on the one hand the image, which, of course, was weak, by reason of being formed of such incongruous elements, composed of the most precious metals at the top, while the lower parts ended in “miry clay “—in fact, the image was top-heavy. On the other hand, there is the stone, an emblem of strength and solidity, single, notwithstanding the countless atoms which unite in forming it, growing in strength, as it continues its historic course till it becomes a mountain, the type of all that is solid and indestructible. And one further point of contrast must be noted. While one earthly empire passes into another as insensibly as the head yields to the trunk of the body, and as this passes into arms, legs, hands, and feet, without any discontinuity—that is, as empire after empire passes away, while the history of the world remains continuous—such is not the case with the stone. The work that it does is instantaneous. The moment it falls on the feet of the image the whole collapses, or, in other words, the history of the world comes to an end. Such is the relation in which the kingdom of God stands to the kingdoms of this world. They are all transient, in spite of their apparent strength, and their history will cease, as soon as the “stone shall fall and grind them to powder” (Matthew 21:44).

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.Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone ... - On the meaning of the language employed here, see the notes at Daniel 2:34-35. The word "forasmuch" may be taken either in connection with what precedes, or with what follows. In the former method, there should be a period at the word "gold" in this verse; and then the sense is, "In those days shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, etc., "forasmuch," or "because" thou sawest a stone," etc., that is, that was a certain indication of it. According to the other method, the meaning is, "Forasmuch as thou sawest the stone cut out and demolish the image, the great God has made known the certainty of it;" that is, that is a certain indication that it will be done. The Vulgate is, "According to what thou sawest, that the stone was cut out without hands, and reduced the clay, etc., the great God has shown to the king what will be hereafter." The difference in the interpretation is not very material.

Cut out of the mountain - This is not inserted in the statement in Daniel 2:34. It seems, however, to be implied there, as there is mention of the stone as "cut out." The representation is evidently that of a stone disengaged from its native bed, the side of a mountain, without any human agency, and then rolling down the side of it and impinging on the image.

The great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter - Margin, the same as the Chaldee, "after this." The meaning is simply, in time to come; in some future period. Daniel claims none of the merit of this discovery to himself. but ascribes it all to God.

And the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure - That is, it is no vain and airy phantom; no mere working of the imagination. The dream was all that the monarch had supposed it to be - a representation of coming events, and his solicitude in regard to it was well-founded. Daniel speaks with the utmost assurance also as to its fulfillment. He knew that he had been led to this interpretation by no skill of his own; and his representation of it was such as to satisfy the monarch of its correctness. Two circumstances probably made it appear certain to the monarch, as we learn from the next verse it did: one, that Daniel had recalled the dream to his own recollection, showing that he was under a Divine guidance; and the other, the plausibility - the verisimilitude - the evident truthfulness of the representation. It was such a manifest "explanation" of the dream that Nebuchadnezzar, in the same manner as Pharaoh had done before him when his dreams were explained by Joseph, at once admitted the correctness of the representation.

Having now gone through with the "exposition" of this important passage respecting the stone cut from the mountain, it seems proper to make a few remarks in regard to the nature of the kingdom that would be set up, as represented by the stone which demolished the image, and which so marvelously increased as to fill the earth. That there is reference to the kingdom of the Messiah cannot be reasonably doubted. The points which are established in respect to that kingdom by the passage now under consideration are the following:

I. Its superhuman origin. This is indicated in the representation of the stone cut out of the mountain "without hands;" that is, clearly not by human agency, or in the ordinary course of events. There was to be a superhuman power exerted in detaching it from the mountain, as well as in its future growth. What appeared so marvelous was, that it was cut from its orginal resting place by some invisible power, and moved forward to the consummation of its work without any human agency. That this was designed to be significant of something there can be no reasonable doubt, for the result is made to turn on this. I do not see that any special significancy is to be attached to the idea of its being cut from "a mountain," nor that it is required of us to attempt to refine on that expression, and to ascertain whether the mountain means the Roman kingdom, out of which the gospel church was taken, as many suppose; or the Jewish nation, as Augustine supposed; or that "the origin of Christ was sublime and superior to the whole world," as Calvin supposes; or to the mountainous country of Judea in which the Messiah was born, as many others have maintained; or to the tomb of Joseph, as a rock from which the Messiah sprang to life and victory, as others have imagined.

All this belongs to a system of interpretatation that is trifling in the extreme. The representation of the mountain here is merely for the sake of verisimilitude, like the circumstances in a parable. If a stone was "cut out without hands," it would be natural to speak of it as cut from the mountain or parent-rock to which it was attached. The eye is not here directed to the "mountain" as having anything significant or marvelous about it, but to the "stone" that so mysteriously left its bed, and rolled onward toward the image. The point of interest and of marvel, the mysterious thing that attracted the eye, was that there was no human agency employed; that no hands were seen at work; that none of the ordinary instrumentalities were seen by which great effects are accomplished among men. Now this would properly represent the idea that the kingdom of the Messiah would have a supernatural origin. Its beginnings would be unlike what is usually seen among men. How appropriately this applies to the kingdom of the Messiah, as having its origin not in human power, need not here be stated. Nothing is more apparent; nothing is more frequently dwelt on in the New Testament, than that it had a heavenly origin. It did not owe its beginning to human plans, counsels, or power.

II. Its feebleness in its beginning, compared with its ultimate growth and power. At first it was a stone comparatively small, and that seemed utterly inadequate to the work of demolishing and pulverizing a colossal statue of gold, silver, brass, and iron. Ultimately it grew to be itself of mountain-size, and to fill the land. Now this representation would undoubtedly convey the fair impression that this new power, represented by the stone, would at first be comparatively small and feeble; that there would be comparative weakness in its origin as contrasted with what it would ultimately attain to; and that it would seem to be utterly inadequate to the performance of what it finally accomplished. It is hardly necessary to say that this corresponds entirely with the origin of the Messiah's kingdom. Everywhere it is represented as of feeble beginnings, and, as a system, to human view, entirely inadequate to so great a work as that of bringing other kingdoms to an end, and subduing it to itself. The complete fulfillment of the prophetic statement would be found in such circumstances as the following:

(1) The humble origin of the head of this new power hlmself - the Messiah - the King of Sion. He was, in fact, of a decayed and dilapidated family; was ranked among the poor; was without powerful friends or political connections; possessed no uncommon advantages of learning, and was regarded with contempt and scorn by the great mass of his countrymen. No one would have supposed that the religion originated by one of so humble an origin would have power to change the destiny of the kingdoms of the earth.

(2) The feebleness of the beginning of his kingdom. His few followers - the little band of fishermen; the slow progress at first made; these were circumstances strikingly in accordance with the representation in Daniel.

(3) The absence in that band of all that seemed requisite to accomplish so great a work. They had no arms, no wealth, no political power. They had nothing of what has commonly been employed to overthrow kingdoms, and the band of fishermen sent forth to this work seemed as little adequate to the undertaking as the stone cut from the mountain did to demolish the colossal image.

(4) All this feebleness in the beginning was wonderfully contrasted with the ultimate results, like the stone, when cut from the mountain, contrasted with its magnitude when it filled the earth. The Saviour himself often referred to the contrast between the feeble origin of his religion, and what it would grow to be. At first it was like a grain of mustard-seed, smallest among seeds; then it grew to be a tree so large that the fowls of the air lodged in the branches. At first it was like leaven, hidden in meal; ultimately it would diffuse itself through the mass, so that the whole would be leavened, Matthew 13:31-33.

III. It would supplant all other kingdoms. This was clearly indicated by the fact that the "stone" demolished the image, reducing it to powder, and filled the place which that occupied, and all the land. This has been explained (see the notes at Daniel 2:34-35), as meaning that it would not be by sudden violence, but by a continued process of comminution. There would be such an action on the kingdoms of the earth represented by gold, and silver, and brass, and iron, that they would disappear, and the new power represented by the "stone" would finally take their place. As this new power was to be humble in its origin, and feeble to human view; as it had nothing which, to outward appearance, would seem adequate to the result, the reference would seem to be to the "principles" which would characterize it, and which, as elements of power, would gradually but ultimately secure the changes represented by the demolition of the colossal statue.

The only question then would be, whether the principles in the kingdom of the Messiah had such originality and power as would gradually but certainly change the modes of government that existed in the world, and substitute another kind of reign; or, what is the influence which it will exert on the nations, causing new methods of government, in accordance with its principles, to prevail on the earth. Though apparently feeble, without arms, or wealth, or civil alliances, it has elements of "power" about it which will ultimately subdue all other principles of government, ard take their place. Its work was indeed to be a gradual work, and it is by no means accomplished, yet its effect has been mighty already on the principles that rule among the nations and will still be more mighty until "the laws of the kingdom of the Messiah shall prevail in all the earth." This seems to be the idea which it is designed to express by this prophetic image. If one were asked "in what respects" it is to be anticipated that these changes will be wrought, and "in what respects" we can discern the evidences of such changes already, we might say in such points as the following:


45. without hands—(See on [1086]Da 2:35). The connection of the "forasmuch," &c. is, "as thou sawest that the stone," &c., this is an indication that "the great God," &c., that is, the fact of thy seeing the dreams as I have recalled it to thy recollection, is a proof that it is no airy phantom, but a real representation to these from God of the future. A similar proof of the "certainty" of the event was given to Pharaoh by the doubling of his dream (Ge 41:32). This verse notes,

1. The small beginning of Christ’s kingdom visibly.

2. The different rise of Christ from all other; his conception by the Holy Ghost, like as Melchizedek, without father and mother, respectively as to his two natures.

Who shall declare his generation? His name shall be called Wonderful, Isaiah 9:6.

3. This stone, as a heavy rock, tumbling down from the mountain, brake the image in pieces, which it could not be said any other did.

4. Christ is a stone that grinds to powder those it falls on. He is the precious foundation and chief corner-stone of his church for ever.

5. He is a growing stone, even to a mountain, mid therefore will fill the earth, 1 Corinthians 15:24. God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter, i.e. the great God bath shown all this, who is above all the kings of the earth, and only knows, and decrees, and effects future things, who only doth great and wondrous things.

The dream is certain, i.e. this dream is no ordinary dream, but an oracle of God; it is sent from heaven, and gives a perfect scheme and prophetical history of things to come, about the special providence of God in changing governors and governments, with particular regard to his church under them; and above all, about the kingdom of Christ, and the growth of it, maugre all the enterprises of pagan and antichristian Rome.

The interpretation thereof sure; it is not a conjectural guess of the magicians and wise men of Babylon, who use to prepare lying words, because they have no knowledge of the true God, and therefore are; wholly unacquainted with his secrets, which he revealeth to his prophets by the Spirit of prophecy; which he hath now signally imparted to me; this I have faithfully made known unto thee, O King.

Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands,.... See Gill on Daniel 2:34.

and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; of which the image was made he had seen in his dream; and which represented the several monarchies of the world in succession, and described their nature, condition, and circumstances, and the ruin of them; See Gill on Daniel 2:35.

the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter; after his own death, and in his own monarchy; and what will be the fate of succeeding ones; what will come to pass in each of the ages of time, and what will be done in the last days; what an everlasting kingdom there will be, when the kingdoms of this world shall be no more; and this the "great" God, who is great in knowledge as well as power, made known to him, which none else could; and by which he appears to be great, and above all gods, as Nebuchadnezzar afterwards owns; and which Daniel here suggests to him; see Isaiah 45:21,

and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure; this is certainly the dream the king had dreamed, for the truth of which he appeals to him; and the interpretation of it given would be most surely and faithfully accomplished, on which he might depend; for since the dream had been so distinctly related to him, he had no room to doubt of the true interpretation of it.

Forasmuch as thou sawest that the {a} stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, 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.

(a) Meaning Christ, who was sent by God, and not set up by man, whose kingdom at the beginning would be small and without beauty to man's judgment, but would at length grow and fill the whole earth, which he calls a great mountain, as in Dan 2:35. And this kingdom, which is not only referred to the person of Christ, but also to the whole body of his Church, and to every member of it, will be eternal: for the Spirit that is in them is eternal life; Ro 8:10.

45. Forasmuch as thou hast seen in thy dream this colossal image preternaturally destroyed (Daniel 2:34-35), a great God hath let thee see behind the veil of the future, and made known to thee what will come to pass hereafter (cf. Genesis 41:28).

a great God] the original is indefinite, not definite: Daniel speaks from the standpoint of the heathen king.

the dream is certain, &c.] an asseveration of the truth of what has been stated, in the apocalyptic style: cf. Daniel 8:26, Daniel 10:1, Daniel 11:2; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6.

Daniel 2:45The מטּוּרא before אתגּזרת, which is wanting in Daniel 2:34, and without doubt is here used significantly, is to be observed, as in Daniel 2:42 "the toes of the feet," which in Daniel 2:33 were also not mentioned. As it is evident that a stone, in order to its rolling without the movement of the human hand, must be set free from a mountain, so in the express mention of the mountain there can be only a reference to Mount Zion, where the God of heaven has founded His kingdom, which shall from thence spread out over the earth and shall destroy all the world-kingdoms. Cf. Psalm 50:2; Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2.

The first half of the 45th verse (down to ודהבּא) gives the confirmation of that which Daniel in Daniel 2:44 said to the king regarding the setting up and the continuance of the kingdom of God, and essentially belongs to this verse. On the other hand, Hitz. (and Kran. follows him) wishes to unite this confirmatory passage with the following: "because thou hast been that the stone, setting itself free from the mountain, breaks in pieces the iron, etc., thus has God permitted thee a glimpse behind the veil that hides the future," - in order that he may conclude from it that the writer, since he notes only the vision of the stone setting itself free as an announcement of the future, betrayed his real standpoint, i.e., the standpoint of the Maccabean Jew, for whom only this last catastrophe was as yet future, while all the rest was already past. This conclusion Kran. has rejected, but with the untenable argument that the expression, "what shall come to pass hereafter," is to be taken in agreement with the words, "what should come to pass," Daniel 2:29, which occur at the beginning of the address. Though this may in itself be right, yet it cannot be maintained if the passage Daniel 2:45 forms the antecedent to Daniel 2:45. In this case דּנה (this), in the phrase "after this" ( equals hereafter, Daniel 2:45), can be referred only to the setting loose of the stone. But the reasons which Hitz. adduces for the uniting together of the passages as adopted by him are without any importance. Why the long combined passage cannot suitably conclude with ורהבּא there is no reason which can be understood; and that it does not round itself is also no proof, but merely a matter of taste, the baselessness of which is evident from Daniel 2:10, where an altogether similar long passage, beginning with דּי כּל־קבל (forasmuch as), ends in a similar manner, without formally rounding itself off. The further remark also, that the following new passage could not so unconnectedly and baldly begin with רב אלהּ, is no proof, but a mere assertion, which is set aside as groundless by many passages in Daniel where the connection is wanting; cf. e.g., Daniel 4:16, Daniel 4:27>. The want of the copula before this passage is to be explained on the same ground on which Daniel uses רב אלהּ (stat. absol., i.e., without the article) instead of אלהא רבּא, Ezra 5:8. For that רב אלהּ means, not "a (undefined) great God," but the great God in heaven, whom Daniel had already (Daniel 2:28) announced to the king as the revealer of secrets, is obvious. Kran. has rightly remarked, that רב אלהּ may stand "in elevated discourse without the article, instead of the prosaic אלה רב, Ezra 5:8." The elevated discourse has occasioned also the absence of the copula, which will not be missed if one only takes a pause at the end of the interpretation, after which Daniel then in conclusion further says to the king, "The great God has showed to the king what will be hereafter." דּנה אחרי, after this which is now, does not mean "at some future time" (Hitz.), but after that which is at present, and it embraces the future denoted in the dream, from the time of Nebuchadnezzar till the setting up of the kingdom of God in the time of the Messiah.

Daniel 2:45

The word with which Daniel concludes his address, יצּיב, firm, sure, is the dream, and certain its interpretation, is not intended to assure the king of the truth of the dream, because the particulars of the dream had escaped him, and to certify to him the correctness of the interpretation (Kran.), but the importance of the dream should put him in mind to lay the matter to heart, and give honour to God who imparted to him these revelations; but at the same time also the word assures the readers of the book of the certainty of the fulfilment, since it lay far remote, and the visible course of things in the present and in the proximate future gave no indication or only a very faint prospect of the fulfilment. For other such assurances see Daniel 8:26; Daniel 10:21, Revelation 19:9; Revelation 21:5; Revelation 22:6.

We shall defer a fuller consideration of the fulfilment of this dream or the historical references of the four world-kingdoms, in order to avoid repetition, till we have expounded the vision which Daniel received regarding it in Daniel 7.

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