“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.” Daniel 2:31
Here we have a man that feared nothing and with his word it was law. He had won battle after battle, but he was frightened by this dream. He must have known in his mind that this was not good news. This shows us that nations come and go and nothing in this world is stable except God and His Word.
In his dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a colossal image of a man. Its gargantuan size and dreadful appearance reduced the king to a state of utter terror. The image was that of a man because it represented the history of human civilization. God wanted to show Nebuchadnezzar the inevitable fate of all the nations of the world. The image wasn’t a complete history of human kingdoms—other powers that had radically affected Israel, such as Egypt and Assyria, were omitted. Rather, the image portrayed the kingdoms that would play a critical role in Israel’s existence prior to the inauguration of God’s Kingdom in Jesus Christ. What happens to Israel affects the entire world.
The enormity of this image represented humanity’s inflated sense of its own accomplishments. People see their achievements as something great and splendid—a brilliant, colossal construction. The image was meant to convey this world power’s outward greatness—from a human perspective, at least.
The image of a man, no matter how gross, was used by God to teach Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, and us what happens during the days of man when man is in control. This is the history of human civilization, written by God. God’s own people, except for a remnant, had literally pushed Him aside. They had said, “We don’t want you to rule over us.” So God allowed the pagan Gentile rulers and kingdoms to move into center stage. The focus of influence moved from Jerusalem to Babylon.
In the next lessons we will look at the time of the Gentiles.