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Interestingly there is a magical rock that moves all by itself and attacks the fourth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream. What is this little rock that is so marvelous and when did (or when will it) attack the Roman Empire?

Note: I am assuming a traditional Roman view of Daniel's fourth Empire in contrast to many critical expositors who promote the Grecian view.

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2 Answers 2

The Dream

In Daniel 2:31-36 Daniel recounts Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the statue to him. After the statue is described, Daniel says the following:

You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and crushed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

The Interpretation

Later, we read the interpretation, which God explained to Daniel, Daniel relayed to Nebuchadnezzar, and [someone] recorded in Scripture for us. Here is the interpretation of the stone, from Daniel 2:44-45:

In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever. Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy.”

It is worth remembering that the purpose of the latter passage is to interpret the significance of the dream. The dream is not open to personal interpretation; it meant something, and the latter passage explains what the meaning was.

Observations

Several things are immediately clear from the dream and its interpretation:

  • The entire statue was crushed all at once. This is not a picture of a gradual conquest.

  • When the kingdoms of the statue were crushed, "not a trace of them was found"; this is not a picture of a gradual infiltration, or a parallel reign of some kind, and there is no allowance for any of the statue kingdoms to continue in their existence. They were crushed, became like chaff, and were carried away by the wind.

  • It is the kingdom set up by God that crushes and puts an end to the other kingdoms. So, to answer your question, the "stone cut out without hands" is the kingdom set up by God.*

  • The kingdom set up by God "filled the whole earth," "will never be destroyed" or replaced, and will "endure forever." The picture is clear: God's kingdom will rule the entire earth -- forever -- in place of the prior kingdoms of the statue.

* It is worth noting that the king and the kingdom are indistinguishable in this dream (or most anywhere in Scripture, for that matter); cf. 38, 44.

Conclusion

The stone cut without hands is the kingdom of God, which would suddenly and completely obliterate all of the kingdoms of the statue and rule in their place over the entire earth, forever.

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+1 for the gist. Your answer would be much better with references. –  Mike Jul 2 '13 at 23:54
    
@Mike Do you mean references to something other than the text? Or was it unclear what text I was referring to at each step? –  Jas 3.1 Jul 3 '13 at 0:01
    
I mean citing a commentary that influences your opinion. I do not plan on accepting any answers to my Daniel questions without a citation. I feel a citation is important because if somebody likes someone's post they can read more of the same by looking in the cited reference. I am probably more insistent about Daniel as i am still a little frustrated that I had to explore around a dozen commentaries before I found one that i did not think was a load of horse manure. With all the opinions out there a reference makes it clear which one is being argued, helping the reader understand. –  Mike Jul 3 '13 at 0:25
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@Mike I'm not working from a commentary on this one... just making simple observations from the text. Daniel 2:44 interprets the unhewn stone that crushes the statue as a kingdom set up by God that puts an end to the other kingdoms. The basic exegesis is pretty cut and dry in this case. The theological conclusions differ widely, but I was trying to avoid that here. –  Jas 3.1 Jul 3 '13 at 0:27
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@Mike Whenever I'm interpreting a passage, I try to separate "what I know" from "what I suspect." In this case, I tried to stick to the former in the answer and commented on the latter in the comments. I could be persuaded on the latter, but I think any explanation would need to jive with the former. –  Jas 3.1 Jul 3 '13 at 1:22

An "unhewn" rock is an altar stone (Exodus 20:25). It is bloody, earthy and Adamic. It puts an end to the "natural" order. A hewn stone is Evian, that is, the bridal Temple (1 Kings 6:7). It is heavenly, super-natural. The image can be trace back to the creation of Adam from the ground and the "construction" of Eve from Adam. Together they are structure (foundation) and glory. We see it also in the placing of Jacob's head on a stone (as Covenant head) and his vision of a bridal Temple (the Covenant body).

This stone is the bloody foundation for a new house. What most miss is that the four kingdoms are not only a Jew-Gentile "Tabernacle" (Dan. 2) but also four cherubic beasts guarding the throne of God and the people of God (Dan 7). Each time a beast turned against God's people it was replaced with the next one. Rome actually kept the church from harm until the reign of Nero (Satan stands on the edge of the "Land" and calls a beast up from the "Sea.") At this point, the battle was between a fledgling Jew-Gentile church and the Herod-Nero Jew-Gentile "intermarriage" (the mixing of Roman iron with red Edomite clay, a Church-State alliance against the "Body" like that between Herod and Pilate against the "Head").

What this means is that the entire first century process: the death and resurrection of Christ is sacrificial head, and the death and resurrection of the witnessing firstfruits Church as sacrificial body, recapitulates the ascension offering of Leviticus 1: the firstfruits.

The vision only extends to AD70, because this was when the fourth empire was replaced with the empire of Christ. Rome still existed, but did not have this cherubic office before God. The mountain of God was now the throne of Christ in heaven, His words against the hypocrites vindicated after one generation of mercy (2 Peter 3:15).

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