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In Daniel 2, a stone crushes the statue of Nebuchadnezzar's vision. This stone grows and covers the Earth. "In the days of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed... it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms" (v44 NASB).

This is interpreted by some to mean all at once, by some, already passed, or still to come once they rebuild the long past Rome.

My question is, with an exegetical reading of the chapter, could it be understood that the Kingdom would be set up "in the days of those kings" which will eventually "crush and put an end to those kingdoms", or would Daniel mean for Nebuchadnezzar to understand that it all happens suddenly at the same time and event?

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Daniel describes only the succession, not the time periods during which these kingdoms active or their duration. However, if we understand the second last Kingdom to be Rome, we must simply look to the Kingdom which conquered and overtook it.

What follows assumes the inspiration of the Gospel of Matthew, but that's not too much of a stretch for most here. But it becomes too obvious that Jesus Christ interprets Daniel's prophecy by His actions in Matthew 16 that it's not unhelpful to use this to interpret Daniel's intent himself.

In Matthew 16, we read several of Daniel 2's themes alluded to in striking detail.

Firstly, we have the King asking his servants something no one can possibly know by natural means:

Daniel 2:1-11 (DRB) 1 In the second year of the reign of Nabuchodonosor, Nabuchodonosor had a dream, and his spirit was terrified, and his dream went out of his mind. 2 Then the king commanded to call together the diviners and the wise men, and the magicians, and the Chaldeans: to declare to the king his dreams: so they came and stood before the king. 3 And the king said to them: I saw a dream: and being troubled in mind I know not what I saw. 4 And the Chaldeans answered the king in Syriac: O king, live for ever: tell to thy servants thy dream, and we will declare the interpretation thereof. 5 And the king answering said to the Chaldeans: The thing is gone out of my mind: unless you tell me the dream, and the meaning thereof, you shall be put to death, and your houses shall be confiscated. 6 But if you tell the dream, and the meaning of it, you shall receive of me rewards, and gifts, and great honour: therefore tell me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. 7 They answered again and said: Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will declare the interpretation of it. 8 The king answered, and said: I know for certain that you seek to gain time, since you know that the thing is gone from me. 9 If therefore you tell me not the dream, there is one sentence concerning you, that you have also framed a lying interpretation, and full of deceit, to speak before me till the time pass away. Tell me therefore the dream, that I may know that you also give a true interpretation thereof. 10 Then the Chaldeains answered before the king, and said: There is no man upon earth, that can accomplish thy word, O king, neither doth any king, though great and mighty, ask such a thing of any diviner, or wise man, or Chaldean. 11 For the thing that thou askest, O king, is difficult; nor can any one be found that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose conversation is not with men.

Matthew 16:13-15 (DRB) And Jesus came into the quarters of Cesarea Philippi: and he asked his disciples, saying: Whom do men say that the Son of man is? 14 But they said: Some John the Baptist, and other some Elias, and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets. 15 Jesus saith to them: But whom do you say that I am?


But which God in heaven alone reveals to men:

Daniel 2:27-28, 47 (DRB) And Daniel made answer before the king, and said: The secret that the king desireth to know, none of the wise men, or the philosophers, or the diviners, or the soothsayers can declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth mysteries, who hath shewn to thee, O king Nabuchodonosor, what is to come to pass in the latter times. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these: .... ... And the king spoke to Daniel, and said: Verily your God is the God of gods, and Lord of kings, and a revealer of hidden things: seeing thou couldst discover this secret.

Matthew 16:16 (DRB) And Jesus answering, said to him: Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona: because flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven.


A rock and the establishing of a new Kingom...

Daniel 2:34-35, 44 (DRB) Thus thou sawest, till a stone was cut out of a mountain without hands: and it struck the statue upon the feet thereof that were of iron and of clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of a summer's thrashingfloor, and they were carried away by the wind: and there was no place found for them: but the stone that struck the statue, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. ... But in the days of those kingdoms the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, and his kingdom shall not be delivered up to another people, and it shall break in pieces, and shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand for ever.

Matthew 16:18 (DRB) And I say to thee: That thou art Peter [Rock/Stone]; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

All but explicit, Jesus even calls Peter the "stone" of Daniel 2!


The answerer of the question is elevated to a higher station and given authority in the King's Kingdom:

Daniel 2:6, 48-49 (DRB) But if you tell the dream, and the meaning of it, you shall receive of me rewards, and gifts, and great honour: therefore tell me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. .... Then the king advanced Daniel to a high station, and gave him many and great gifts: and he made him governor over all the provinces of Babylon, and chief of the magistrates over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel requested of the king, and he appointed Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago over the works of the province of Babylon: but Daniel himself was in the king's palace.

Matthew 16:19 (DRB) And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that Peter famously founded the See of Rome, which Scripture calls "Babylon," as well as other ancient writings—see Revelation 17:5: "Babylon... [she] is the city that hath kingdom over the kings of the earth."

The kingdom begins small, but soon becomes the largest:

Daniel 2:35 (DRB) ...but the stone that struck the statue, became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Matthew 13:31-32 (DRB) Another parable he proposed unto them, saying: The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. 32 Which is the least indeed of all seeds; but when it is grown up, it is greater than all herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come, and dwell in the branches thereof.

Mark 16:15 (DRB) And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Revelation 5:10 (DRB) And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.

The Catholic Church alone fits this description in its particulars. It took a while, but it was foretold in the future tense: Rome was overtaken by the Catholic Church, the biggest claimant for the Kingdom of God, or the Church of Jesus Christ.

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  • Stone Kingdom It is true that the Stone (Jesus) began the ball rolling in the first century, and established the amazing Kingdom of God which penetrates the whole earth with the glory of God. However the Roman Catholic organization DOES NOT "alone fit this description". Christendom includes many streams: Orthodox, Protestant, Reformed, Abyssinian, as well! ---Rome was controlled by the Byzantine Empire which endorsed Christianity. It wasn't until the 10th century that Roman Catholicism broke away and became separate. There's been a lot of kingdom expansion by ALL the Churches of God.
    – ray grant
    Commented Apr 20 at 23:16
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Is the Stone Timeline Defined? Considering all the information given in the New Testament, one may exegetically conclude that it is!

First, the appearance of the Stone is said by Daniel to be during the Roman Empire's existence. Four metals are described in the statue, and the consensus of orthodox interpreters deduce that they correspond to the four ancient empires leading up to Christ:
GOLD = Babylon
SILVER = Persia
BRASS = Greece
IRON = Rome.
IRON+CLAY = Rome consisting of Citizens and foreigners (tremendous slave population)

So, what was great significance that occurred during the Roman Empire? It was the institution of the Kingdom of God by Jesus Christ!!!

Jesus went about all Galilee...preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom...(Matthew 4:23)

Jesus went about all the cities and villages...evangelizing about the Kingdom (preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom...(Matthew 9:35)

If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God is come into you. (Matthew 12:28)

King Jesus The King ruling over this Kingdom was to be Jesus. Note the question of the Magi at His birth: Where is He who is born King of the Jews? (Matthew 2:2) And consider the statement at the end of His life: Art thou He who is King of the Jews? The resounding answer: Yes!

The Stone Jesus was not only recognized as king but also, He was the Stone according to His own reckoning.

Did you never read in the scriptures: The Stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head cornerstone; this is the Lord's doing...? Whosoever shall fall on this Stone shall be broken, but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder...(Matthew 42-44 See also Romans 9:33)

You are the household of God, and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Chief cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19-20; also 1 Peter 2:4 Mark 12:10, Acts 4:11).

Kingdom Stone So the Stone-led Kingdom of God---a spiritual kingdom--- was unleashed in the first century during the fourth kingdom, the Roman Empire. That was its beginning.

But it is apparent that the conquest of this Kingdom was to take time. It was to gradually spread throughout the world. This was not a "one and done" takeover. And it was a Kingdom with believing saints as its citizens: the Kingdom shall not be left to other people (Daniel 2:44b)

Fear not little flock, it is the Father's goof pleasure to give you the Kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

I appoint unto you a Kingdom as my Father has appointed unto Me. (Luke 22:29)

The Father...has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son. (Colossians 1:13)

And it was a Kingdom that would effectively permeate the whole world, bringing down the strongholds of the devil:

The Kingdom of Heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man sowed in the field, which indeed is the least of all seeds, but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches. (Matthew 13:31-32)

And Jesus said to them, "Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel (evangelize) to every creature. (Mark 16:15)

You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you; and you shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the Earth. (Acts 1:8)

Consummation This amazing growth of the Kingdom will continue until the Second Coming, no matter how many years or centuries it will take:

In Christ shall all men be made alive...Christ first, then those who are Christ's at His coming. THEN comes the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father, when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy shall be destroyed is death. (1 Corinthians 15:22-26)

And the seventh angel sounded, and there were great voices in heaven, saying, *The kingdom of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

Daniel's vision This ancient vision was an important announcement of the coming of Christ (Stone-king) in the first century, who grinds in a continual, on-going action gradually, the authorities, powers, and rulers of this world, through His saints and the power of the Holy Spirit.

The timeline will end at the Second Coming with Jesus taking a "victory lap"!

Gospel of the Stone-Kingdom

Set Up...........................Stone-ruler (Jesus)............................Deliver Up
Roman era.......................Throughout world................................End of world

World history bears out these events. Christ was incarnated during the Roman era (4th kingdom)...Jesus (the self-acclaimed Stone) reigns over a Kingdom that grows throughout the world (Matthew 13)...The victorious Kingdom is delivered up to the Father! (1 Corinthians 15).

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The identification of the first four kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar's dreamed statue should generally lack controversial arguments, except the fifth. These initial four kingdoms are typically understood to be;

  • Golden head represents Babylon empire
  • Silver chest and arms represents Persian and Median empire
  • Bronze belly and thighs represents Greece empire
  • Iron legs represents Roman empire

The fifth kingdom is symbolized by the feet, the lower portion of the leg including the toes (Dan 2:42). Daniel elaborates in Daniel 42-43 that this kingdom is partly strong and partly brittle, and it will not remain united, much like iron does not mix with clay.

The imagery of the fifth kingdom reappears in Daniel chapter 7, featuring some distinct details. Unlike the ten toes of the statue, it is described to have ten horns (7:7). In Daniel 7:8, a little horn emerges and displaces three of the original ten, suggesting their vulnerability. Then, in Daniel 7:9, the scene shifts to the depiction of the Ancient of Days seated on the throne for judgment.

Let's review these verses in parallel;

Daniel 2:44 Daniel 7:22 Revelation 19:15
In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. the Ancient of Days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the holy people of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.

The Bible presents a timeline extending to the culmination of Jesus' ministry, followed by the establishment of His Church. Subsequently, it swiftly progresses to the book of Revelation. The fifth kingdom should represent a fragile era characterized by discord among the present nations, where cohesion of each other is difficult (Daniel 2:43). This fragile epoch will be ended with the 2nd coming of Jesus, symbolized by a rock crushing the fragile toes of the statue (Daniel 2:34-35)

The kingdom referenced in Daniel 2:44, which God will establish, is the kingdom of God, not of this worldly realm until Jesus return. This concept aligns with Jesus' conversation with Pontius Pilate, as recorded in John 18:36

Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.”

Is the timeline of the stone in Daniel 2:34-44 defined?

All the assumptions made by the original poster appear to have been misguided. The imagery of the mixed iron and clay in the statue merely signifies a divided world, much like the state of affairs we witness today. As for the timeline of Jesus' 2nd coming, it's essential to consider Jesus' own words, "No one knows" (Matthew 24:36).

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