You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you…
What was its meaning?
I. THE GREAT EMBLEMED WORLD-EMPIRES.
1. The Babylonian monarchy was the head of gold. The head well emblemed it for its unity and intelligence. The sagacious and despotic will of the king bound the far-reaching kingdoms into one. Nebuchadnezzar's victories were those of peace as well us of war.
2. The Medo-Persian Empire. Emblemed by the breast and arms of silver. For two centuries it was the universal empire. But it lacked the unity of the kingdom it overthrew and was as inferior to it as silver, for value and solidity, is inferior to gold. Cyrus was its greatest ruler.
3. The Empire of Greece was emblemed by the belly and thighs of brass. Its soldiers were known among the ancients as the brazen-coated Greeks. Its founder was Alexander, a swift, transcendent, military genius. He sought, with wise, philanthropic aim, to blend the nations of Asia and Europe into a brotherhood.
4. The Roman Empire was emblemed by the legs of iron, with the feet part of iron and part of clay. The stern, if not savage, valour of Rome was well pictured by iron. The Romans, the ironsides, the iron hearts, vanquished the world to their power. But their power was mixed with weakness, for they gathered nations into their citizenship without inspiring them with their own hardy virtues. So Rome ended in being divided into many kingdoms. All the four powers became embodied in the Roman, which was the world-power when our Saviour was upon earth, and thus may all be deemed as broken with it.
II. CHRIST'S EMBLEMED KINGDOM. The stone cut from the mountain.
1. Humble in its beginning was Christ's kingdom.
2. Heavenly in its origin. "Without hands" was the stone cut. God set up this kingdom. His strength is in it. It is from God, for it makes men God-like
3. It is destined to be universal. The stone grew till it filled the whole earth. So is Christ's kingdom to grow. That kingdom is coming in the hearts and homes and lives of men.
4. This kingdom is eternal. When many kingdoms have passed, this has survived the treachery of friends and the fierce assaults of foes. Its glory cannot be extinguished. It shall "endure for ever." (G. T. Coster.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.