March 17, 2010
I greet you once again in the Name of Jesus!
We began a study last time of the dream King Nebuchadnezzar had of a large image. We know from Daniel 2 that the King was very disturbed by the image he saw in his dream. We are told that he called upon his wise men and magicians to interpret the dream and they could not. Nebuchadnezzar was so infuriated by their inability to interpret his dream that he ordered all of the wise men and magicians in his realm to be killed.
Daniel and his three friends were in the number to be killed; however they all bound themselves together to seek the aid of the God of Heaven all that night. In the morning Daniel had been given the content of the King’s dream as well as its interpretation. The image was made of four different metals; gold, silver, brass, and iron. By the time Daniel reached the feet of the image we find they were a mixture of iron and clay. What does all of this mean?
Daniel’s interpretation revealed, and history certainly verifies; that the four metals represented four empires that would rule in the affairs of men right up until the time of the end prior to the kingdom of God, a kingdom “cut out without hands” being manifested in the earth. We examined the head of gold, the chest and arms of silver, the thighs of brass, and the legs of iron last time. We gave quite a bit of historical background. I want to continue with this examination this time.
One thing we notice as time and history marched forward, the metals became less in value and weaker in strength. The king saw two legs of iron that eventually turned into two feet of iron and clay, representing Rome and Turkey and the final East-West division.
Iron is mentioned ninety-five times in the Old Testament and is used when referring to weapons. Thus, I submit to you, iron is a picture of war, strength, and fighting. The word clay is used twenty-six times in the English translation, identifying a clay jar, a clay seal, a clay house, and in this reference, clay feet. If we examine history, we can begin to see the possible interpretation of the iron and clay mixture of the Roman Empire, divided into two divisions, the East and the West. These divisions can be observed in:
- The Roman Empire Division
- The Roman religious division
- The Roman political division
- The Roman spiritual divisions
It is very important that we give some historical foundation and background here. Think back to the two legs of the image. This pictured a split or division in the Roman Empire, and this split was between East and West. The Roman split placed Rome on one leg and Constantinople on the other. Both Rome and Constantinople came into play when Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire. Both Rome and Constantinople were built on seven hills, and Constantinople was called the new Rome.
There was both a political and a religious spilt in the empire. The Catholic Church was the main force from Rome, and the Orthodox branch of the church eventually evolved after a split in the eleventh century.
What about in more contemporary times? In more contemporary times, the iron and the clay also became visible through communism and democracy. In fact, Communism was known as the iron curtain. With the decline of Russia, in so many nations today we can now see the iron of Islam clashing with the clay of democracy. The empires have changed, the players on the stage are different, but the materials remain the same. The Bible says,
And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay. [Dan. 2:42, 43 NKJV]
Contemporary history has become the interpreter of the two feet. The clay represents democracy, and the iron is a part of a kingdom that uses war, fighting, and its strength to control. Beginning with the decline of the Ottoman Empire, another political/military force entered the world stage at the conclusion of World War I, communism. This movement out of Russia eventually grew into an atheistic, anti-God, anti-Christian belief system that rules its people with an iron fist. Their national symbol was the (iron) hammer and the sickle, and those living in its bondage were said to be behind the iron curtain.
For seventy years, from 1917 to 1987, the iron fist of communism clashed with the clay of democracy, crushing any democratic opposition. Iron ruled in the east, and clay (democracy) in the West. In the late 1980’s with the fall of Poland, the Berlin wall, and eventually, the breakup of the Soviet Union, another iron kingdom that was scattered across the Middle East began to pull together like metals attracted to a magnet. Their common vision was to defeat Israel and remove the Jews from Palestinian lands. This new iron was the fanatical branch of the Islamic religion, which preached a call to jihad (a holy war for the Islamic cause.)
These radicals wanted to unite Islam and strategically defeat Israel and her Western allies. Once again, we see where the clay of democracy is strong in the West, and the iron is rising out of the (Middle) East. The clay democracies of America and Britain have led the charge to reform Afghanistan, Pakistan, and nations in the Middle East into flourishing democracies. However, one just need read or watch the news to know that the iron and the clay are not mingling well. Islamic militants and strict followers of Islamic law will not permit liberal democratic ideas to mingle with the strict observance of Islamic law and tradition.
To devout Islam, democracy is too soft. Secular democracies allow alcohol, something forbidden among Muslims. Women in democratic nations often expose their body in an immodest fashion, something again forbidden in a strict Islamic culture. As the west attempts to liberate Islamic nations using democracy as the weapon, the clay is not mixing with the strict iron of Islam. I believe this is why Daniel said that the iron and clay will not mix (Dan. 2:43).
Keep in mind that the two feet on the image, a mixture of iron and clay, have ten toes. The ten toes are ten future kings. It appears that five will emerge from the West and five from the East.
Join us next time as we plumb the depths of this mystery and gain fresh insight into what is coming in these last of the Last Days.
The Weekly Word is found in Revelation 17:12. Here the Bible says,
The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. [Rev. 17:12 NKJV]
Until next time, this is THE WEEKLY WORD.
Pastor Kevin E. Johnson