Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time...

Daniel 2:35a

In every version I read, except for the NIV, I find that all four parts of the statue of Daniel 2 were broken "together", "at the same time", etc. Either explaining or dismissing the omission, what is the futurist explanation of the apparent absence of the first three materials in the world today, thus to make the claim that the fourth is yet to come, along with the rock (the Kingdom)?

The simple logic, on my end, would be that the dream was given to Nebuchadnezzar, not Daniel. As such, the statue would represent the outward human glory or government, while the Daniel 7 beasts represent the spiritual powers behind them. It therefore follows that since nothing remains of the first three kingdoms, of their outward glory or government, that since Dan 2:35 says "together", whatever broke the first three has also broken the fourth, which must then be historical Rome. Further, that which broke them all "at the same time" would have to be God's Kingdom, which would correspond to Christ's first coming, or Advent, making Daniel 2 of no bearing on the future (my thoughts).

So, basically, what is the futurist approach to Daniel 2, taking into account the above? Without the revival of the first three kingdoms first, and the bodily ressurrection of Nebuchadnezzr to lead it (Daniel 2:38 says he as a person is its head), how could a "revived Roman Empire" ever fulfill the text, or whatnot?

  • It took me a couple of times to understand your question; basically you are stating the premise that A), if one applies a Futurist interpretation, then B), the elements that preceded Rome don't exist, therefore they couldn't be destroyed in the end. I don't know of any Futurists that hold to that particular view, could you cite some references?
    – Tau
    Nov 14, 2014 at 13:27
  • If your question concerns interpreting the destruction of the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar, then I would state the question as such and leave the 'Futurist' issue out of it.
    – Tau
    Nov 14, 2014 at 13:31
  • Great point @Benjamin Hoogterp
    – user862
    Nov 14, 2014 at 20:33
  • I am trying to focus on this particular aspect of the text. The summary above seems close enough, but i am not asking about the breakup in general. There's plenty of interpretations of that. Specifically and only, I'm looking for how Daniel 2:35 is interpreted in a non-fulfilled fashion. As the futurist model is widely popular, and covered by many, it seems the "at the same time" must be interpreted somehow, but i have been unable to find it. How is "together" understood without forcing a Preterist eschatology? Or, is it ignored?
    – user6152
    Nov 14, 2014 at 21:00
  • @BenjaminHoogterp I would encourage not trying to force any model onto the text, including making the New Testament applicable to it. That will open the question up to more answers and perspectives. Keep in mind this is not an exclusively Christian site.
    – Dan
    Nov 16, 2014 at 23:28

2 Answers 2


To answer this question, one must address an underlying presupposition: that somehow the 5 Kingdoms merely represent political entities that were destroyed(or replaced) with future ones. Hence, the conclusion is "it all leads up to Christ", and an arbitrary conclusion that it ends with the Destruction of the Temple in 70 AD, from which time we have entered 'the eternal ages to come'. This is the argument of Preterism, and I have outlined their position here

In this particular paper, found here, the author challenges the hermeneutic that a Preterist must use to 'satisfy' Dan 2 with current reality:

While acknowledging that the four Gentile empires given in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome) were literal, geopolitical empires, 55 Gentry’s interpretation requires that the smiting stone recorded at the conclusion of the dream be given a spiritualized interpretation. In other words, most of the statue must be read with one hermeneutical lens while the statue’s feet, destruction, and replacement must be read with another hermeneutical lens. Furthermore, Pentecost notes inconsistencies associated with locating the fulfillment of the smiting stone aspect of the dream in the first century. At that time, “Christianity did not suddenly‘fill the whole earth’ (Dan 2:35),” Rome was not destroyed, the Roman Empire did not consist of ten simultaneous kings, Christ was not a smiting stone, Christ did not put an end to all the kingdoms of the world, and Christ did not usher in a political kingdom. 56

At the root of Futurist Interpretations is an adherence to Literal Interpretation. Thomas Ice, a Dispensational Futurist describes it this way,

Let's look at some general support for the futurist approach. First and foremost, only the futurist can interpret the whole Bible literally and having done so harmonize those conclusions into a consistent theological system. Just as the people, places, and times were meant to be understood literally in Genesis 1-11, so are the texts that relate to the end-times are to be taken literally. Days mean days; years mean years; months mean months. Thus, the only way that the book of Revelation and other prophetic portions of the Bible make any sense is if they are taken literally, which means that they have not yet happened, and thus, they are future. Taken from here

Therefore, given this understanding, the Entire Statue(not individual parts, but the Whole Statue) is destroyed by the "stone taken from the mountain without hands". Since one cannot say that Christ had physically returned to earth yet(Paul described this as heretical:(2 Tim. 2:17-18))

And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some,

we must say that He hasn't yet returned. This of course was averred in the Constantinople Creed of 381AD, where it says,

and shall come again with glory to judge the living and the dead, of whose Kingdom there shall be no end.

There would be no inclusion of this verse if He already 'came', therefore it has been traditionally accepted that "He will come again".

To Answer The Question

"How do the world kingdoms described in Daniel 2 'hold together' until their destruction at Christ's Physical Return?"

To interpret the meaning of this prophetic dream, we have to go beyond the mere recording of historical events and ask "What is God showing us?"

In Dan 7, Daniel is given a series of visions in the night where he is shown the same prophetic picture as Dan. 2, except instead of body parts of 'a man', it is a series of beasts, yet they describe the same kingdoms as in Dan. 2. Each successive beast is described, yet it is obvious that it isn't "The Animal" that is meant, but what that animal Figuratively represents.

In this article, John Walvoord, another Dispensational Futurist describes the beasts as being Babylon, Mede-Persia, Greece, and Rome. I won't go into the reasons given as he does an in-depth analysis of them, but we see a pattern developing, and that is God is describing these specific kingdoms to communicate a truth to Daniel. The Statue of Nebuchadnezzar is a composite statue of A MAN. In Dan. 7:4, the lion with eagle's wings has it's wings removed, and made to stand UPRIGHT and given a MAN's heart. It isn't the geo-political reality that is important as what it stands for, which is "The Kingdom of Man". These kingdoms combine their wealth, knowledge, and influence as the Statue increases in stature until it becomes an imposing kingdom on the earth. And it's these kingdoms/beasts that oppose the will of God on earth until the Entire statue(kingdom of man) is destroyed and the Kingdom of God, with Christ as it's King, is firmly implanted in Jerusalem. The epitome of man's achievement through these earthly kingdoms will come to an end, and God's reign will be manifested throughout the entire earth.

In Conclusion: these earthly 'kingdoms' represent a spiritual reality that opposes the Kingdom of God. When Christ physically returns, as the angels told the disciples in Acts 1:11, He will put down all earthly authority and establish His physical Kingdom.(1 Cor. 15:24)

53 Gentry, “A Preterist View of Revelation,” 66. 54 The NIV Study Bible, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1985), 1311. 55 Gentry, “A Preterist View of Revelation,” 66.19

  • Wonderful answer in breadth, but where it doesn't avoid the actual question, it contradicts it's original premise. The question is not the system of theology, but particularly the Daniel 2:35 "at the same time". The only part that I see answering it is the phrase, we have to go beyond the mere ... historical events, that is spiritualize. This is in contradiction of previously, ..the only way that the book...make [s] any sense is if they are taken literally. I am asking this from a Preterist perspective, but not a 70AD one. I agree it would have to end with Romes destruction, exactly.
    – user6152
    Nov 16, 2014 at 8:01
  • While claiming a literal interpretation, it seems it supposes a spiritual one here? But, again, these are said to rule the whole world... and, most specifically, it refers to all four existing in the end, the specific. What i fail to see in the answer is how a literal, futurist hermeneutic can account for the 1,500 year lack of a world-ruling power. Simply because a larger system of theology doesn't account for it does not make it wrong (as there are literal preterist, non- 70 ad paradigms that do exist, despite what Thomas Ice claims.
    – user6152
    Nov 16, 2014 at 8:06
  • Further, a figurative explanation further fails on Daniel 2:38, as Nebuchadnezzar is the head. Not only is it a literal thing, it had its beginning in a specific individual at a point in history. The kingdom of man approach does not encompass this reality as this is something begun with king Neb.
    – user6152
    Nov 16, 2014 at 10:38
  • @BenjaminHoogterp I apologize for not getting back sooner: 1) The Statue is One Statue-therefore the meaning of the Statue(it is allowed to be figurative, because there is not a literal statue transcending the length of the ages) is One meaning. You can't dismantle the Statue and still call it a Statue, any more than you can dismantle a car and call it a car. It is a dream being interpreted, therefore it is representative of a reality and not the reality itself. 2)'Spiritizing' an interpretation is not the same as a Figurative Interpretation. For example, if you are cracking a code(cont.)
    – Tau
    Nov 18, 2014 at 9:02
  • @BenjaminHoogterp (cont.) and X=C, you don't also make Y=C because it fits in your interpretation. A common 'failing' of Preterism is they are very literal about the word "generation" meaning 70 years, yet they 'spiritize' the Son of Man returning in power(Matt. 24:1-33) as if you could 'imagine it happening' when clearly the events of Matt. 24 have not all happened yet.
    – Tau
    Nov 18, 2014 at 9:25

Seems to me the question is whether there are 4 or 5 kingdoms represented here. If 4, then the final is Rome and the Rock is Christ's first coming. If 5, then a revived Roman Empire at the time of the ant-christ (futurist) makes sense, and the Rock would refer to Christ's second coming, which obviously contains His first coming as a telescoped complex event.

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