This image is a representation of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream that was interpreted by Daniel and is found in the prophecy of the book of Daniel Chapter 2. All of that prophecy has already been fulfilled except the last part, which describes a “stone that smote the image” on the toes, because of chronology (time is illustrated running from the head to the toes) and the stone “became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” The period when this happens is in the latter days when Christ returns. The “great mountain” represents His kingdom on earth.
The Time of the End?
This chapter is a continuation of the previous two chapters of Daniel. It should be read as a single unit with Daniel 10 and 11. The Scripture continues on from there, from the trouble, the great trouble that Jacob (the Jews) experienced when the Romans moved into the Holy Land. Hundreds of thousands were slaughtered, but those who heeded Jesus’ warnings (Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13) and fled out of Judaea managed to escape the tribulation. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)
I was taught that this chapter (Daniel 12) applied to the last days of the End-time just before and through period of the return of Christ, under the futurist interpretation. But where did chapter 11 end? It was with the rise of the pagan Roman power, its dominance in Judaea, and at the end it gave allusions to the Papacy and the Latin Roman Church that followed it.
In recent years I have read and studied the eschatological beliefs of the Reformers and of Sir Isaac Newton (1643 – 1727) as well as Henry Grattan Guinness (1835 – 1910). As a result I have changed my view of Bible prophecy from the futurist view to that of a historical view, where I now see that a lot of prophecy has already been fulfilled.1
A lot of Matthew chapter 24 has been fulfilled but one very important aspect–the Return of Christ in final judgment–still remains unfulfilled. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER)2 used.)
Matthew 24:1,2 And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and His disciples came to Him for to show him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, See you not all these things? verily I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. (All bold are emphases added)
Here Christ predicts the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, around which all Jewish life revolved. This was fulfilled exactly in 70 A.D., which is 40 years after His death on the Cross and is within what we could call the generation of those He was speaking to—His disciples.
The Vision of the Ram and the He-Goat
Daniel’s vision described in the book of Daniel chapter 8, received 550 B.C, begins with a description of the kingdom of Medo-Persia, a confederacy of two kingdoms, Media and Persia. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)
Daniel 8:3, 20 … behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 20 The ram which you saw having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.
The two horns in this verse describes the fact that the kingdom of the Medes initially was strongest and ruled a part of the world contemporaneously with Babylon, but later the Persian kingdom, led by Cyrus, overthrew the Medes. This illustration corresponds to the bear with 3 ribs in his mouth, one of the four beasts, in Daniel chapter 7.
Daniel 8:4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.
Daniel’s vision of the four beasts
In Daniel chapter 2, king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a dream of an image made from four different metals which Daniel interpreted as four successive kingdoms of man: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and then Rome. Now, in chapter 7, we read that in the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon (about 552 B.C.1) Daniel had a dream of four great beasts that came up out of the sea (the sea symbolizing nations of people). (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)
Daniel 7:2, 3 Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. 3 And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.
This dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonian Empire, provides the background to all the following dreams and visions given in the book of Daniel. In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream, which he forgot when he woke, so he called his magicians, and astrologers, and sorcerers, to not only tell him the dream but also to interpret the dream. They couldn’t and he planned to kill all those co-called wise men. But Daniel, a captive in his courts, was recommended to interpret the dream. (All bold are my emphases added. Square brackets [ ] indicate meanings of words. King James Version Easy-Reading Bible (KJVER) used.)
Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar by the king, was considered the wisest of all the wise men in Babylon. This is because the Spirit of God was with him.
Daniel 5:11,12 There is a man in your kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of your father [grandfather] light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar your father, the king, I say, your father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers; 12 Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and showing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.
Daniel said to the king,
In the sunny south of France, in Provence and Catalonia, lived the Albigenses. They were a civilized and highly educated people. Among these people there sprang up an extensive revival of true religion, and one of its natural effects was a bold testimony against the abominations of apostate Rome. Here is Sismondi’s History of the Albigenses. On page 7 he says of them and of the Vaudois: “All agreed in regarding the Church of Rome as having absolutely perverted Christianity, and in maintaining that it was she who was designated in the Apocalypse by the name of the whore of Babylon.” Rome could not endure this testimony; she drew her deadly sword and waged war against those who bore it.
In the year 1208 the Albigenses were murderously persecuted. Innocent III (what a mockery his name!) employed the crusaders in this dreadful work. The war of extermination was denominated sacred. The pope’s soldiers prosecuted it with pious ardor; men, women, and children were all precipitated into the flames; whole cities were burned. In Beziers every soul was massacred; seven thousand dead bodies were counted in a single church, where the people had taken refuge; the whole country was laid waste; an entire people was slaughtered, and the eloquent witness of these early reformers was reduced to the silence of the sepulcher.