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In the vision of the statue in Daniel 2 we are told the statue's feet "are part of iron and part of clay" (2:33). Then the rock struck the statue at the feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces (34). And then the metals of the whole statue, plus the clay, became like chaff and the wind carried them away, and the rock that smote them became a great mountain that filled the whole earth (35).

Then we read that as for the kingdom of iron, it shall be divided, having the strength of iron (41) but it shall be partly strong and partly brittle (42).

"And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay." (Dan 2:43, NIV).

My question is simple, what is the clay?

Though I would especially like answers from an amillennial perspective, I welcome allcomers. Please put in your answer from what doctrinal perspective you are coming from.

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    @Michael16 - No. It's a different question, so there is no reason why it would. The accepted answer here answers my question, similar to my own answer below. Neither the clay, nor anything comparable, is mentioned in Daniel 7, or in Revelation. Daniel 2 focuses on the timing of our Lord's first coming. Apr 24, 2023 at 13:28
  • On youtube watch "Incredible journey The Secret of Nuremberg". The dirt or clay represents the last times small nations of Europe, they are not going to unite, they also represent the remnant of Roman empire in their culture.
    – Michael16
    Apr 24, 2023 at 13:51
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    Question about the clay or toes mean the same thing.
    – Michael16
    Apr 24, 2023 at 14:13
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    @Michael16 I've voted to reopen my own question.. I don't agree its a duplicate.. I think the focus on the (unnumbered) toes in the other question is unhelpfully leading us away from the meaning of the clay. So many interpretations, including yours, fail to explain why God would choose to obscure the meaning of the clay. Apr 25, 2023 at 9:05

12 Answers 12

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The iron is obviously the Romans (Roman Empire). The clay can symbolize only one thing. It must be the Israelites (Jews).

13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men: 14 Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvelous work among this people, even a marvelous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise men shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent men shall be hid. 15 Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us? 16 Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter's CLAY: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding? (Isaiah 29)

9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the CLAY say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? 10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth? 11 Thus saith the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. (Isaiah 45)

8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the CLAY, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand. 9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people. 10 Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation. 11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste. 12 Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore? (Isaiah 64)

1 The word which came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Arise, and go down to the potter's house, and there I will cause thee to hear my words. 3 Then I went down to the potter's house, and, behold, he wrought a work on the wheels. 4 And the vessel that he made of CLAY was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it. 5 Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 6 O house of Israel, cannot I do with you as this potter? saith the LORD. Behold, as the CLAY is in the potter's hand, so are ye in mine hand, O house of Israel. (Jeremiah 18)

12 And the same day Pilate (IRON) and Herod (CLAY) were made friends together (MIXING): for before they were at enmity between themselves. (Luke 23)

ADDITIONALLY:

The rock is the Messiah. The statue represents foreign powers/kingdoms ruling over the Holy Land.

In Matthew 21:42-45 Jesus (the rock) tells the Jewish authorities (clay) that He is going to break them and grind them to nothing. Just as Daniel 2:35 tells about the end of the statue.

42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes? 43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. 45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. (Matthew 21)

34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to 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 the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2)

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    @AndrewShanks - denominations here are never mentioned as the argument/exegesis should be independent of such.
    – Dottard
    Aug 15, 2021 at 11:27
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    @Robert, Nebuchadnezzer conquered Palestine, so there is no stretch at all. The focus is on the Empires which conquered the Jews/Promised Land/Palestine/Judaea. That explains why the Parthians are not mentioned. As for the Persian Empire, the KJV says "after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee" (Dan 2:39). It does not say "inferior to thine".. the Persian kings did not hold the absolute power held by Neb, but were themselves subject to the law of the Medes and the Persians. The Persian kings were inferior to Neb. in this sense. Nov 4, 2021 at 10:06
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    If "clay" in this dream refers to "Jews" (just because God used the imagery of Potter and Clay to represent His relationship with Israel), every occurrence of the word "bride" in the Bible should stand for Israel or the Church! That would be a little too far fetched. [And, by the way, how can we say that Herod was a Jew? He was an Edomite (Idumite). He spent money on Jewish building projects to gain Jewish favor.]
    – P P Eapen
    Nov 12, 2021 at 20:54
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    @PPEapen - I agree with you. I didn't select this as the best answer because it was perfect, but because firstly, it was, in my view fully on the right track and, secondly, because it seemed ungracious to select my own, even if I could. Mar 7, 2022 at 19:08
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    @AndrewShanks This cannot be the Israelites, because they will not be crashed by the rock. Besides, the jews ruled only in the first temple period, before the Romans. They did not have kingdom during the same time as the Roman empire.
    – Kapandaria
    Nov 6, 2022 at 15:43
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The answer is in Daniel's interpretation

I shall get to the meaning of "clay" by examining Daniel's interpretation of the feet of the statue.

"In that you were seeing feet and toes partly of wet clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom. Some of the strength of iron will be in it, for you saw iron mixed with wet clay. In that the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, the latter stages of this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile.  And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay." (2:41-43)

The parts of the statue — head; the breast and hands; the belly and thighs; and the legs — represent "kingdoms." The decreasing value of materials with which these parts are made indicates that a kingdom would be inferior in glory to that of its predecessor (2:39).

The iron with which the legs are made represents strength — "strength of iron will be in it" (2:41). Just as the material "iron" does not stand for a kingdom or a people, the "wet clay" does not represent a kingdom or people. Instead, like iron, it represents a characteristic of the fourth kingdom, namely, weakness or fragility! Daniel makes it clear: "this kingdom will be partly strong and partly fragile" (2:42).

Daniel took the presence of two immiscible substances in the statue's feet as an indication of a fracture in the kingdom - "it will be a divided kingdom." (2:41) It is this "division" that is responsible for the fragility or weakness of the fourth kingdom and of the statue as a whole.

Daniel's further interpretation of this strange mixture of iron and clay is interesting:

And in that you saw iron mixed with wet clay, so people will be mixed with one another without adhering to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

Daniel makes it clear that during the "latter stages" (2:42) of the fourth kingdom, there will be increased "mixing" of people, probably of various ethnic and linguistic groups. On a positive note, this "mixing" indicates greater freedom of movement for people within the empire. But the people will not "adhere" to one another. Ethnic identities and loyalties prevent the kingdom from being an ethnic melting pot.

Iron indicates strength of the kingdom; clay indicates weakness. The presence of the two together will not result in an alloy. It results in an immiscible mixture which represents a kingdom fractured along ethnic or linguistic lines despite the freedom of movement afforded by the kingdom.

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  • May I suggest for your consideration that the diversity of Roman society be attributed to their institution of slavery. Moving from a Republic onward to an empire, the Roman incorporated more slaves instead of relying on citizenry for production. At the time of her collapse there were more slaves in Rome than citizens! And the Legions were to a large extent comprised of "mercenaries" who jumped ship when the Barbarian hordes began their conquest of Rome. It wasn't their fight. Iron and clay to the max!
    – ray grant
    Apr 25, 2023 at 19:32
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This image represents governments. Some of the governments pictured by the image’s feet and toes of iron mixed with clay are ironlike—authoritarian or tyrannical. Others are claylike. In what way? Daniel associated the clay with “the offspring of mankind.” (Daniel 2:43) Despite the fragile nature of clay, of which the offspring of mankind are made, traditional ironlike rulerships have been obliged to listen more and more to the common people, who want their say in the governments ruling over them. (Job 10:9) But there is no sticking together of authoritarian rule and the common people—no more than there could be a uniting of iron with clay. At the time of the image’s demise, the world will indeed be politically fragmented! Sound familiar? Will this disunity be the reason for the demise of the image?

Consider the climax of the dream. Daniel told the king:

34 You kept on looking until a stone was cut out not by hands, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and of molded clay and crushed them. 35 At that time the iron, the molded clay, the copper, the silver and the gold were, all together, crushed and became like the chaff from the summer threshing floor, and the wind carried them away so that no trace at all was found of them. And as for the stone that struck the image, it became a large mountain and filled the whole earth.—Daniel 2:34, 35.

Another entity destroyed the image. What was it?

By way of explanation, the prophecy continued:

44 In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be brought to ruin. And the kingdom itself will not be passed on to any other people. It will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, and it itself will stand to times indefinite; 45 forasmuch as you beheld that out of the mountain a stone was cut not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the copper, the molded clay, the silver and the gold. The grand God himself has made known to the king what is to occur after this. And the dream is reliable, and the interpretation of it is trustworthy.-Daniel 2:44, 45.

Yes, the same Kingdom we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer-God’s Kingdom- will bring the end to human governments and establish itself over all mankind.

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  • Hi Harold, welcome to BH-Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please be sure to take the site tour and read our code of conduct. Thanks! Aug 16, 2021 at 10:28
  • My attention here, with this Q. has been on the more established contributors, not to mention my own A. I see now that I was too hasty to overlook your A. The little that you have written, as most of your A. is taken up with 'finite' verses, is not without merit at all. I see the clay however as being not so much to do with authoritarian rule and the common people but more to do with maladies within the non-authoritarian governments. One need look no further than the US of A and it's 2 party system and 3 branches of government. "A house divided against itself....." It's an upvote from me. Aug 20, 2021 at 8:26
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The gold are the Babylonians, and the Babylonian Empire; the silver are the Persians, the bronze are the Greeks and the iron the Romans.

  • The gold are indeed the Babylonians, as explicitly pointed out in the text itself (2:37-38).

  • The kingdom of brass, which shall rule over all the earth (2:39), are the Persians, since that was what Cyrus' empire was most famous for in its time, Alexander himself being one of his admirers, for precisely this very reason, which is also why he visited his tomb.

At its greatest territorial extent, the Achaemenid Empire stretched from the Balkans and Eastern Europe in the west to the Indus Valley in the east. The empire was larger than any previous empire in history, spanning a total of 5.5 million square kilometers (2.1 million square miles).

  • The kingdom of iron, which breaks in pieces and subdues all things (2:40), is the Macedonian empire, to whose impressive wars and conquests the book of Daniel dedicates its entire eighth chapter; notice also the textual parallel between 2:40 and 8:7-8.

  • The silver, then, are the Medes, which, along with the abovementioned Persians (brass), correspond to the ram's two horns (8:20).

What is the clay in the vision of the statue in Daniel 2 ?

Alexander's aforementioned empire broke up into two main pieces: Egypt and the Seleucid Empire, corresponding to the statue's two feet; this duality is then further reinforced by the presence of two elements, iron and clay, the former representing strength, and the latter signifying weakness. Its strength obviously resided in its military prowess and sweep victories, detailed in the book's eight chapter; its weakness, however, consisted in its brevity (8:8, 8:21-22, 11:3-4). This theme is then resumed in the book's eleventh chapter, detailing the constant power struggle between its two ensuing halves, sometimes the south prevailing over the north, and, at other times, the balance of power being reversed in favor of the latter.

put in your answer from what doctrinal perspective you are coming from.

See historical-grammatical method and authorial intent.

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  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Steve can help
    Aug 18, 2021 at 12:52
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    @Lucian - Re the Persians, your paragraph two contradicts your first sentence. Oct 29, 2023 at 13:15
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    In fact your opening sentence contradicts the rest of the post. Oct 29, 2023 at 13:17
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    Opening sentence: "the silver are the Persians". 2nd bullet point: "The kingdom of brass...are [(sic)] the Persians". Then your first sentence says the iron is the Romans, but the rest says the iron is the Macedonians. Its a complete mess tbh. Nov 2, 2023 at 8:27
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    But what are you quoting? From where? Your "quote" is not in the OP's question. Nov 4, 2023 at 11:28
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There is broad agreement that the iron legs of the Dan 2 image represented the Roman empire lasting from about 100 BC to about 450 AD.

Ellicott (Dan 2:40):

Breaketh all things.—Remembering that the comparison is between iron and the fourth empire, this portion of the vision implies that the Roman empire, which is here intended (see Exc. E), will crush out all traces that remain of preceding empires, just as iron is capable of breaking gold, silver, or copper.

Benson (Dan 2:40):

Daniel 2:40-43. The fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, &c. — This description agrees well with the Roman empire, and the event answered the prediction; for the Roman was vastly more strong and extensive than any of the preceding three. As iron breaketh and bruiseth all other metals, so this brake and subdued all the former kingdoms.

The description about the demise and final supplanting of the iron empire of Rome is quite detailed in Dan 2. Recall that the Roman empire encircled the Mediterranean sea with about 30 Roman provinces (it always excluded "Germainia" north of the Rhine).

When Rome collapse, it broke up into a series of about 30 states, approximately corresponding with the original administrative precincts of Rome which still surround the Mediterranean sea, although in modified form. Many still speak a derivation of the old Latin including, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Algeria, Romania, etc.

In Daniel 2 we read:

41 And just as you saw that the feet and toes were made partly of fired clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom, yet some of the strength of iron will be in it—just as you saw the iron mixed with clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so the peoples will mix with one another, but will not hold together any more than iron mixes with clay.

There have been numerous attempts to re-create the old Roman empire (not necessarily by that name) such as:

  • Uumayyad Dynasty beginning in 661 which managed to unite most of what was the southern part of the roman Empire including southern Spain.
  • The Holy Roman Empire founded by Charlemane, especially under Charles V
  • Napoleon
  • etc, etc

The Dan 2 prophecy accurately describes this fraught process that has so far failed. The "clay" is better translated, "baked clay" or "ceramic clay" as per some versions - a very brittle material as distinct from the ductility of iron. The relics of the old Roman empire continue in many ways - we have inherited things such as:

  • water distribution systems
  • central heating
  • language and writing
  • many aspects of the legal system and the rule of law

... and so forth. But the relics of the Roman Empire, despite attempts by intermarriage of royal families, especially during the 19th century, all attest to the being just that - relics of the Roman Empire that "will not cleave", or "not mix" and so have never re-united. many of the peoples are still distinct.

Thus, these relics of the Roman empire have some "brittle" parts - easily broken that will not mix with the iron. This well describes the political fracturing of the Europe and northern Africa.

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  • The statue represents foreign powers/kingdoms ruling over the Holly Land. The fact that different empires are represented by different body parts is important. It is all about proportions. The number of years each of those empires ruled the land correspond to proportions of a human body. Your explanation, my brother, makes the feet a few times bigger than the rest of the statue. Aug 15, 2021 at 21:30
  • @ארקדיוס - what Bible evidence can you supply for your first sentence assertion?
    – Dottard
    Aug 15, 2021 at 21:33
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    @Andrew Shanks - For clarification, note that the prophecy's main topics are the Empires. And that "iron mixed with clay" is appropriately considered part of the history of Rome. Any reader of Roman history realizes that at the end of that era a major problem was the issue of slavery. THERE WERE MORE SLAVES IN ROME THAN CITIZENS. Such that there was no "melting pot." No genuine allegiance to Rome. And the Legions were comprised of "mercenaries" who abandoned ship when the Barbarians invaed the empire! Such a mixture was deadly; no need to go outside Rome for an understanding of clay.
    – ray grant
    Apr 24, 2023 at 22:01
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    @OldeEnglish - actually, the question never mentioned Israel at all - that make your remark a little off-topic! The clay is something that will not mix with clay just as the nations of the break-up Rome did not mix.
    – Dottard
    Apr 25, 2023 at 2:39
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    @Olde English-The idea of a "restored Roman Empire" is foreign to the Hebrew text. That the "ten toes" represent modern kingdoms or parts of a new Roman kingdom is unwarranted from the context. Especially since Jesus Himself spoke of the establishment of the Kingdom of God in His lifetime, during the old Roman era. It is important to give weight to the interpretations of the Master teacher. (Matt. 4:17, 9:35, 28:18)
    – ray grant
    Apr 25, 2023 at 21:01
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What is the clay in the vision of the statue in Daniel 2?

When the Kingdom of God comes, the covenant treating the Jews as a special people, more than others, must end and does end. When the Jewish authorities rejected and killed the Son, God finally rejected them (Luke 20:1-19). It was then that the Lord's word was finally fulfilled: "Call his name Loammi, for you are not my people, and I will not be your God" (Hosea 1:9).

The clay represents the Jews, the Jewish rulers and their covenant relationship with God. The grinding and scattering of the clay represents the end of the Old Testament dispensation with its focus on the covenant people, the descendants of Israel; and consequently, from God's point of view, the end of the distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles.

There are a number of reasons to believe this.

The vision does not actually tell us why these empires and the clay are ground to powder and scattered. We can only learn this from other passages of scripture, paticularly Exodus 32:19-20, Ps 2:9, Matt 21:43-44, Luke 20:17-19. God in his anger will grind them to powder (just as Moses in his anger ground the golden calf to powder (Exodus 32:19-20)) because of their rebellious, stubborn, selfish, sin-loving rejection of his Son. We must look to Psalm 2, and the parable ending in Matthew 21:44 and Luke 20:18 for the reason for the wrath against the metals and the clay.

The gold is the Babylonian, the silver the Medo-Persian, the bronze the Greek, the iron the Roman Empires.

NOT the silver Medes, followed by the bronze Persians

If anyone is tempted to think the silver is empire of the Medes and the bronze the empire of the Persians they should carefully consider:

and in the third year of his reign he gave a banquet for all his nobles and officials. The military leaders of Persia and Media, the princes, and the nobles of the provinces were present. (Esther 1:3)

and were closest to the king — Karshena, Shethar, Admatha, Tarshish, Meres, Marsena and Memukan, the seven nobles of Persia and Media who had special access to the king and were highest in the kingdom. (Esther 1:14)

This very day the Persian and Median women of the nobility who have heard about the queen’s conduct will respond to all the king’s nobles in the same way. There will be no end of disrespect and discord. (Esther 1:18)

“Therefore, if it pleases the king, let him issue a royal decree and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media, which cannot be repealed, that Vashti is never again to enter the presence of King Xerxes. (Esther 1:19)

And all his acts of power and might, together with a full account of the greatness of Mordecai, whom the king had promoted, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Media and Persia? (Esther 10:2)

The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia. (Daniel 8:20).. two horns, yes, but one animal.

Representative of all organised rebellion against God

I think there is nothing especially bad about the empires mentioned more than other empires in human history. There is private sin which a person would often choose to hide. But there is also organised rebellion against God of a whole people group. So for instance, there is an organised/tacit agreement of rebellion against God by most of the media in the UK (BBC especially) and USA (CNN, and the like). These organised groups have an agenda which is rooted in rebellion against God and his Anointed. (Whether you agree with this opinion or not is not the real point: I only mean to explain what I mean by "organised rebellion" with plausible examples.)

The empires mentioned are representative of all empires and all the means by which mankind organises a systematic rebellion against God, and of all the kings that set themselves against the Lord and his Messiah (Ps 2).

Of course, the empires signified also provide a count down to the coming of the Messiah and the Kingdom of God.

The meaning of the clay

The clay is the nation state of Judea as the covenant people of God, as ruled by the Jewish chief priests and the Sanhedrin, which will be crushed, ground to powder and scattered to the four winds because of their rejection of Christ (Matt 21:38-46, Luke 20:14-18). They will be finally rejected because of their rejection of Christ.

The clay is the Jewish nation because :-

  1. The clay is not anything trivial. The “clay” is mentioned no less than nine times in the passage, the gold, silver and bronze around five times each, only the iron gets more mentions and mostly because of its interaction with the clay;

  2. The whole vision is centred on the Jews. The empires mentioned are only those which would control the land of Judea. e.g. neither the Parthian Empire, nor the huge Indian empire of Chandragupta Mauyra nor of Ashoka are mentioned, the vision tells what experiences the Jews will go through until the coming of the Kingdom of God. It aids the Jews from the time of the dream to know the timing of the approaching Messiah. It focuses on the Jewish experience, starting from about 600 BC, in the land of Judaea.

Also, it is irrelevant what happened to the Roman Empire long after the coming of the Kingdom of God - the vision is obviously exclusively interested only in the period up to the coming of the Kingdom, when the King should come, Christ (Matthew 4:17, 12:28, 21:31), and I believe, the consequent events in Judea after the Jewish rejection of the Messiah. So, for instance, it makes no mention of the Ottoman Empire which also ruled what was once Judea.

In describing the iron (empire) as one "that breaks and smashes everything" which will "crush and break" it is not so much saying the Roman Empire will be more fierce compared to the other empires (the Babylonian Empire was fierce too), but again it is speaking of the Jewish experience. The Roman Empire will be incomparably worse in their experience than the other empires, because it will be the Romans which will ultimately break, smash and crush Judea and slaughter vast numbers of the Jews.

  1. The clay is hidden from clear explanation. The metals are not so difficult to work out, especially when we note that the Kingdom of God began in the days of the Roman Empire, so the iron must be the Roman Empire (Mark 1:15). There must be a good reason for this obscuring of the meaning of the clay.

The clay is the Jews and the Jewish religious leaders: the obscuring was done so as not to cause offence to them (from the time of Daniel onwards). Such offence might lead them to try to exclude the book of Daniel from the holy canon. For some Jews it might have been obscured so as not to hinder them from coming to faith in the God of Daniel after they have sought the Lord more thoroughly.

Furthermore, those people offended, hindered or irritated by an explanation of the meaning of the clay can only be people who actually read the book of Daniel - there is no point obscuring the meaning from those who never bother to read it. There remains only the possibilities of the Jews. It was not those who are truly godly, because they would submit to whatever the word of God says. The people offended would be self-righteous who think they are pleasing to God and are God's chosen people. This points to the Jews from the time of Daniel.

  1. The clay does not exclusively relate to the Roman Empire alone. Notice the order of the metals and the clay in Daniel 2:45 - "the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, the gold". It can be no oversight of the Holy Spirit that the clay is not in the expected place: if it related only to the Roman Empire it would come either immediately before or after the iron. But it makes perfect sense if the clay is symbolic of the nation state of Judea in view of the Jewish history of the time.

During the Babylonian Empire the Jewish religious authorities and political leaders had no authority in Judea; there was no self-rule. Jewish rule in Judea began in the days of the silver Medo-Persian Empire when the Persian King Artaxerxes I finally made sure of a Jewish state with a measure of self-rule within the Medo-Persian Empire in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah (eg Ezra 7:25). At that time Judea gained its own governor. It is factually accurate that the clay (representing an autonomous nation state of Judea with a measure of Jewish self-rule) did not exist in the days of the Babylonian Empire; it started during the Medo-Persian Empire;

  1. The clay is a people with which the Roman authorities would try to mix in terms of allowing a measure of shared rule (of Judea) (Dan 2:41-43). But this attempt at shared rule would ultimately fail, "they will not remain united" (Dan 2:43).

The New International Version translates 2:43 thus:-

And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. Daniel 2:43

Allan Harman (EP Study Commentary Series), (who generally seems to prefer the KJV) says the NIV translation of this verse "is good". (He does not suggest the clay represents the Jews). The Romans sought to share rule with another people group, but ultimately the attempt failed.

This is precisely the historical truth: the Romans did indeed permit a measure of self-rule in Judea to the Sanhedrin, the chief priests and elders. (According to the Jerusalem Talmud the Sanhedrin were even permitted to hand down the death sentence to criminals until about AD 30.) But this attempt to “share” rule would ultimately fail (Dan 2:43);

  1. The word translated "clay" is to be understood as "ceramic clay", such as a tea cup, plate, etc. It is not the more mixable muddy original clay from the ground. The one who made the ceramic clay had not intended it to mix with anything. And, true, God intended that the Jews were not to mix with the Gentiles. Nor did they (mostly because of their own sense of superiority).

If they had followed their God fully then they would never have been conquered, the rulers of Judaea would never have needed to submit themselves to a foreign power, and they would have been able to fully follow God in their theocratic political system.

But, once conquered, the inflexibility of their theocratic system, being answerable only to God, became apparent. The question once conquered is "Who do we obey first and foremost: our foreign conquerors or God?"

The theocratic legal/political system given by Moses was largely designed for a people who followed God, was thus independent of foreign rule, and so inflexible towards sharing rule of Judaea with non-Jews.

  1. And the clay is a people who will be crushed and ground to powder, during the Roman Empire, around the time of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Mark 1:15). This could only be because of their rejection of Christ (Luke 20:14-18).

In Daniel 2:44 we read "in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed", which is of course "the Kingdom of the God of Heaven". This does not mean that the Kingdom of God will have its embryo creation during the period 600 BC up to the New Testament era. The New Testament is clear the Kingdom of God was immanent/began with the preaching of John the Baptist and the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is simply the Holy Spirit, for whatever reason, has chosen a measure of imprecision in saying when the Kingdom of God will begin.

For example I could say "the Act of Union between England and Scotland happened during the reign of Queen Anne, who was the last of the Stuarts". Or I could choose to say "The Act of Union between England and Scotland happened in the days of the Stuarts": it isn't wrong, it is just less precise. If I were to write that it certainly would not mean I believed, or you should think, the Act of Union was signed into law over more than one reign. Likewise, "in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom" is not wrong, but imprecise. It does not mean all of these kings: from the overall context it is should be clear that the kingdom of God was set up in the days of the last of these kings, i.e. during the Roman Empire.

And so it was that the Romans finally destroyed the Jewish nation. God's covenant with the Jews was brought to an end, based as it was on legally acceptable genealogical descent from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Genesis 17:19). Ultimately the Romans destroyed the genealogical records upon which the Jewish covenant with God was based.

In the Old Testament era only those who could give sufficient legal proof they were descendants of Jacob by legally verifiable records kept by the priesthood were entitled to the benefits of the covenant.

(For example, in the days of Ezra certain Jews lost their covenant privileges because their parents/grandparents had not bothered to get their baby boy registered in the priestly records (Ezra 2:59-62) during the time of the Babylonian captivity. So there was no proof they were descended from Israel/Jacob so they and their descendants after them were excluded from the covenantal privileges.)

These genealogical records were not destroyed when the Temple was destroyed in AD 70 but at a later date. We know this because Josephus appeals to these records when speaking of his own "high" birth in his short biography which was written very roughly AD 90. (Josephus paraphrased: "Do you want to know what I am saying about my high birth is true? - check the records of genealogy in Jerusalem!")

So the records were destroyed either in the second (AD 115-117) or third (Bar Kokhba Rebellion, AD 132-135) Roman-Jewish War.

With the destruction of the genealogical records the covenant of the Jewish people with God finally ceased forever – the Jews were ground to powder and scattered.

The Bar Kokhba rebellion is named after its Jewish leader. The leader chose this name because it refers to this prophecy of Balaam:

"I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth." (Numbers 24:17).

Bar Kokhba means "Son of the Star". The rebel leader Bar Kokhba was claiming to be the Messiah.

If the Jews had believed on Jesus as the Messiah they would not have followed Bar Kokhba and they would not have been destroyed.

The clay is the nation state of Judea, of the covenant people, ruled by the chief priests, the elders, and the Sanhedrin. The scattering to the four winds of the powdered clay also signifies the ending of the Jews as the covenant people of God.

This ending of their special covenant was not bad but good. Most Jews in the Bible period, when they followed Jehovah God at all, did not really seek him or seek to understand the word of God. They assumed God was pleased with them because of their own righteousness (though they had none). In their self-righteous presumption they did not study Moses's covenant sufficiently to be convicted of sin by it, or to realize it was a covenant of works, which only brought a curse (Deuteronomy 27:26, Galatians 3:10), and was a covenant of death and condemnation (2 Cor 3:7-9). They were lost and didn't realize it.

But today, millions who claim Jewish descent, having had the crutch of temple worship and a biological descent knocked away, have been thereby helped to be delivered from a Jewish culture of darkness, and thus better enabled to put their trust in the Saviour of the world, the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Covenant of Grace.

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What is the clay in the vision of the statue in Daniel 2?

The simple answer is, that in the time of the end - as the 'toes' of the 'empirical' statue represent the end of Satan's rule, soon to be crushed by the 'King of Kings, and Lord of lords' (the stone cut from the mountain), Rev 19:16 - the clay will represent the weaker parts of governments of men, Dan 2:43, that will not mix with the iron, being the stronger parts.

In the following narrative, I will endeavor to try to explain how rule has progressively gone from ultimate authoritarianism, to an abject meritocracy by the privileged peoples of the world, on one hand, while some smaller kingdoms, or principalities, practice a malign and truly corrupt form of authoritarianism, distinct from the rest of the world, to the very detriment of all their peoples. An often truly bad mixture.

To start our narrative, we see that the dreamt about statue has a head of Gold and we are informed by Daniel, himself, that King Nebuchadnezzar (the dreamer) is indeed that head of Gold. He was the consummate, omnipotent, King of Kings, Dan 2:37,38. His word was not to be contested, much like in the case of the Almighty, Himself.

So, the Babylonian Empire, as represented by the head of Gold, thrives from 607 BC (the start of the 70 [360 day] years of captivity for the Jews, which ended in 538 BC) until its defeat in 539 BC, at the hands of the Medes and Persians, led by Cyrus the Great (the Medes being the lessor of the two, as to consequence). The breasts and arms of the statue then, represent the Medo-Persian Empire, Dan 2:39, but power has now been split into two power bases in effect.

By 331 BC, Greece becomes that Empire, represented by the upper belly and thighs of the great statue, where we are introduced to Alexander the Great, whose power was subsequently split four ways at his death, see also Dan 2:39.

The fourth empire, that of the (upper) legs of iron, with regard to the statue, is the Roman Empire, Dan 2:40. Rome eventually took over the four Hellenistic divisions of the Grecian Empire and by 30 BC was well established as the new empire of consequence. But, here again power was diffused even further, particularly as Rome was founded on a 'Republic' (officially the Senate and People of Rome), representative democracy if you will. This mighty empire eventually broke up into many kingdoms. This Roman World Power , however, did not end with its last emperor in Rome in 476 AD. For many centuries, papal Rome continued to exercise political, and especially religious, domination over Europe, particularly from 538 AD, when the Pagan Roman Empire became The Holy Roman Empire, with Justinian's metamorphosis from Chief of Staffs to Theologian. It wasn't until '1260 years' later, in 1798 AD, that power was considerably reduced by Napoleon, but we digress.

The Papacy, however is really only the result of one (lower) leg of the statue, borne out of the Western Roman Empire, whereas the Eastern Roman Empire, the other (lower) leg of the statue, spawned the likes of the Ottoman (Muslim) Empire. On the western side, we subsequently have the likes of Great Britain, United States of America and EU. Conversely, we then have the likes of Russia, China, Rest of Europe and even the ...revived nation of Israel.

But the pivotal year of these now present times, which could very well have heralded the so called 'End Times' was probably 1914. In the aftermath of WWI, we saw nation building of the most emphatic kind, resulting in the most politically divided and power splitting times, that we find ourselves in today. Divisions of thought, particularly as to how to rule, abound. The good and the bad have truly been mixed together. All that is 'good' representing the strength of iron, whereas the 'bad', that of molded clay, wherein, never the twain should meet. For a house divided against itself ultimately cannot stand.

Dan 2:34,35 [NASB]

....(34)"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. (35) 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 were found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth."

Note to would be editors DO NOT edit this for format, or for any other reason for that matter. It will not be appreciated. Comments, however, are welcome. Down voters should, according to our 'code of conduct' identify themselves and give their reasons for down voting. If all goes well here, I may continue posting but quite frankly I'm a little jaded and disappointed right now with the whole thing, for a variety of reasons.

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  • Nicely written. +1 Apologies if one of my edits has caused any problems.
    – agarza
    Aug 18, 2021 at 1:17
  • Sorry, Olde boy, but have given -1. Its nicely written but I can't agree with it. If these things way beyond the Temple destruction are prophecied in the Book of Daniel then Jesus would have understood it & been able to tell us that the end of the world isn't for a long time yet. V few things are prophecied after the resurrection of Christ... the destruction of the Temple, the suffering of the Jews, the Man of Sin. A horizon in prophecy begins to descend around the time of the Temple destruction, the Man of Sin could appear any time after that, hence Mark 13:32-37. But keep your chin up! Aug 18, 2021 at 7:29
  • "A horizon in prophecy"? I mean just as we can't look over the horizon so there is a horizon falls around the time of the Temple destruction 70AD - no one can see the timing of events over that horizon. Aug 18, 2021 at 7:34
  • @AndrewShanks-I once wrote, on this site, that the end of prophecy reached its fulfillment by the end of the 1st Roman/Jewish War, that is in 73 AD. After that is all about factual history and how that might apply to what's in the prophetic part of Daniel, yet to be realized and the book of Revelation, yet to be realized, because after all the 2nd Advent has not happened yet. It is still obvious for instance that Satan still rules this World. When Jesus was answering his disciples Q's, on the M of O, just prior to his death, however, he was indeed referencing 70 AD, for the Great Trib'. Aug 18, 2021 at 12:25
  • @agarza-Thank you for the vote of confidence and I accept your apology. It's just that when a contributor has spent an inordinate amount of time (often in my case) on their answer, that person wants their authorship to be tied to that answer for as long as possible, it being a form of notoriety. Every time one modifies, and I've seen it done for the smallest of improvements, that notoriety, in effect, then moves to them. Only if one then reads the actual answer, is all revealed. Aug 18, 2021 at 22:38
-1

What is the clay in the vision of the statue in Daniel 2?

The fifth phase in the statue of Daniel 2 is “feet partly of iron and partly of clay” (Dan 2:33). In his explanation, Daniel added toes and shifted the focus to the toes:

“The feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron” (Dan 2:41).

“The toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of pottery” (Dan 2:42).

The question arises, what are signified by the iron and the clay of these feet and toes?

Daniel explained:

"The feet and toes … will be a divided kingdom" (Dan 2:41).

“Some (the iron part of) the (divided) kingdom will be strong and part of it (the clay part) will be brittle” (Dan 2:42).

The clay, therefore, symbolizes fragility, just like the iron symbolizes “toughness” (Dan 2:41). In other words, the “brittle” parts of the divided kingdom will break easily. But other parts will be as strong a iron.

We need to distinguish between a part of the statue and what that part consists of. For example, the head of the statue symbolizes the Babylonian Empire. That head consists of gold but that the gold does not symbolize the Babylonian Empire. The gold symbolize the quality of that empire, namely, something like the quality of the rulership or human rights.

In the same way, the clay does not symbolize a thing; it symbolizes a quality of a thing. The feet and toes symbolize a thing, namely the “divided kingdom” that will follow after the two legs of the image. The clay symbolizes a quality of that thing, namely that the clay parts are brittle and will break easily.

0
-1

Amillennial Answer It is most apparent that the four metals represent, what history has confirmed, the Babylonian, Media/Persian, Greek, and Roman empires. Thus the iron/clay mixture deals solely with the Roman dilemma at its time of collapse.

So what was this fatal flaw in Roman history? It was, as the Roman historians noted (as well as modern historians, Gibbons, Durant, etc.) the practice of slavery! At the time of the end of Roman supremacy there were more slaves in Rome than citizens. A whole lot more slaves drawn from all around the vast empire of conquered lands. As such the genuine allegiance to Rome was minimal if at all. Rome was certainly not a "melting pot." {As a side note, the word Caucasian was a title for slaves taken from the Caucus mountains north of Turkey.]

Even the Roman legions consisted of non-citizen mercenaries. And this posed a fatal flaw for their military when the Barbarians invaded Rome. The mercenaries did not consider it "their fight" and fled back to their respective homes. The iron did not mix with the clay!

And as the prophecy noted, it was during this collapse that the Church of Jesus, aka Kingdom of God, became a force to be reckoned with! It spread its influence, and has to this day its embassies (local churches) all around the Mediterranean...and around the world! And it is a Kingdom that will last forever. That the Kingdom to which Daniel referred was set up in the Roman era is most apparent from the pronouncements of Jesus Himself: Repent for the Kingdom is at hand (Matthew 4:17) Jesus went through all the towns...preaching the Good News of the Kingdom (Matt. 9:35), and All authority in heaven and earth has been given to Me (Matt. 28:18). Jesus spoke this during the Roman era. The Amillennial interpretation echoes Jesus's commentary on Daniel's prophecy!

This is the Amillennial interpretation found in prophetic commentaries. It sees no fulfillment in some "restored Roman Empire" {NATO does not fit the entirety of the Roman empire, it should be noted. Nether did Charlemagne's}. Note that the questioner wanted the Amil. interpretation, not the Dispensational or Historical, or any other interpretation. This comports with that wish.

References For references I add the following paragraphs: (1) "The influx of slaves, though profitable, was not entirely a blessing. It brought in men and women alien to the old Roman stock and thereby led to its dilution.--The Horizon Book of Ancient Rome, p. 159.

2. Recall Pliny the Elder, Vincendo victi sumus, paremus externis (By conquering we are conquered; we are servants to foreigners!)

3. Read Will Durant'a Histories, who noted that the mighty Roman legions had been gradually replaced by provincial mercenary armies comprised of criminals, barbarians, and sons of peasants.

4. Commentator Albert Barnes wrote, "The expression seed of men as here used, would denote some intermingling of an inferior race with the original stock...This foreign admixture in the empire would be a constant source of weakness, and would constantly tend to division and faction, for such elements never harmonize.--Barnes, Daniel, vol. 1, p. 168,9. (See also Jerome, Comm. on Daniel, p. 32)

5. ...the Roman Empire ceased, and was abolished when God transferred their whole power with shame and reproach to foreigners who were not only barbarians, but horrible monsters!--John Calvin, Comm.on Ezekiel and Daniel, p. 391.(See also pp. 506-7 when commenting on chapter 7)

6. E.G.Sihler of New York University in his article, Disintegration of the Roman Empire and Augustine's City of God, wrote Even before his death, Theodosius relied on and employed a Gothic corps to help defend against the usurper Eugenius who was urged on by a Frank, Arbogast. "Even then the Empire had been sustained in great part by German semi-barbarians, who had no interest whatever in its integrity or preservation." (p. 211)

7. Synesius of Cyrene wrote a political essay to Arcadius also complaining that "non-Romans" constituted the strength of imperial defense..;Of course they cannot be faithful and loyal because they hope to rule their present masters someday! (p. 219-220)

The Stage All this set the stage for the arrival of the "crushing Stone" and the gradual spread of the Kingdom of God throughout the Mediterranean, and the uttermost parts of the world! Note how many times battle-hardened Centurions are seen bowing before Christ in the New Testament! (Matthew 8:5-13, Luke 7:1-10, Matthew 27:34) And it was a Centurion of Rome that was Peter's first Gentile convert! (Acts 10) Rome was falling to the Kingdom of Heaven! Another Centurion, Julius, saved Paul's life. (Acts 27:1,43)

Notice the regions of the people on the Day of Pentecost who were baptized in the Holy Spirit: Parthia, Phrygia, Cyrene, Media, Pamphylia, Rome, Elam, Cappadocia, Egypt, Crete, Pontus, etc. These were samples of regions of the Roman Empire. Timberrrr!

While other Answers present Premillennial, Dispensational (Darbyism), or Preterist views, this answer sticks with the Amillennial interpretation, which was requested by the OP.

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  • @Steve can help-I refer you to Gibbons and Durant (Christ and Caesar). Also note Daniel 2:44 "In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a Kingdom that will never be destroyed..." The announcement of Jesus, "Repent for the Kingdom is at hand" (Matt. 4:17, 9:35, 28:18) clearly sets the time of this fulfillment! Jesus announcement happened during the Roman era, just as Daniel foretold. For Amillennialism see Cox, Fairbairn, etc.
    – ray grant
    Apr 25, 2023 at 20:17
  • @Steve can help.For references see the next Answer given
    – ray grant
    Apr 26, 2023 at 20:29
  • @Steve can help. Oooops. The question was "closed" so I could not add another answer, so I edited the first of my answers. Peace.
    – ray grant
    Apr 26, 2023 at 21:20
  • Thanks Ray! Depending on what happens with the question itself, we may merge all the answers over to the non-duplicate, or else just reopen this one.
    – Steve can help
    Apr 27, 2023 at 16:57
-2

Dreams and visions are symbolic, so the symbols must be decoded.

Clay = People
Iron = Impressive Technology

2 Corinthians 4:7

But we have this treasure in jars of clay...

The above verse speaks of having the Holy Spirit inside our mortal bodies.

Judges 1:18

...but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

The feet and the clay mixed are prophetic of the time we are living in now (and accelerating toward the climax of). This is an age of man and technology mixed. But the rock (Jesus) will smash the empire man has built for himself.

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  • 1
    -1. The iron represents an empire, the Roman Empire. If the vision is directly about today then you would need to explain why other empires are not mentioned. The idea of technology is I think a red herring. Oct 26, 2021 at 22:39
-2

The answer to your question has many traditional interpretations, and these are expressed in the many other answers already posted.

However, there is also an issue with many interpretations of this passage. This vision was not about the ‘Jews’. Neither is it for the Jews! It was given to Nebuchadnezzar! By who? Most [just] assume it was God. But Nebuchadnezzar didn’t worship the same God as the Jews. It was the watchers that ‘dealt’ with Nebuchadnezzar. (See chapter 4).

Another very commonly held ‘interpretation’ is that the legs of iron represents the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire had nothing to do with Babylon. OK, maybe for a week or two only). This [view] is problematic, but as it is outside of this question I’ll leave this here.

There is a more recent view that is [slowly] gaining some support (but by no means near a majority). I will present that view for consideration.

The verse you quoted…

DANIEL 2:42 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.

Needs to be considered along side that which follows it …

DANIEL 2:43 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.

Verse 43 influences any view about what the ‘clay’ is. In particular the mingling with the “seed of men” confounds many, and this is one reason why it’s easier to just not bring this up. The only real reference to ‘seed of men’ that we can look back on is in Genesis 6 - which is another controversially interpreted passage.

Likewise for a [biblical, as opposed to a ‘reasoned’] reference, ‘Clay’ comes up in Genesis 2. Man’s body was made from ‘clay’. In Daniel 2, ‘clay’ is in Aramaic, so we can’t directly match it to the Hebraic ‘clay’ in Genesis 2. Nevertheless, ‘clay’ could arguably be seen to mean ‘from out of the earth’.

So let’s now question Daniel 42/43. It is talking about a ‘mixture’. It is suggesting that this mixture involves, or rather comes about and involves ‘the seed of men’. The only other place this has any possible reference is Genesis 6.

So the, or a possible consideration for ‘clay’ is something that ‘mixes’ with men, something that has a source from the ‘earth’, not God. And this quite likely infers a genetically ‘improved’ human. That this last world empire will have a mix of human (iron) and genetically enhanced ‘man’ (clay).

Many will automatically discount this line of thinking, but, if you open your ears to what is already happening today! For example, China is actively researching to genetically improve the eyesight of its soldiers, and genetically improving human bodies to need/require less sleep - yes I appreciate this edges towards an ‘out there’ idea, but nevertheless I submit it for consideration.

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  • 3
    To whomever the downvoter is. It would help me if you expressed a reason. I accept the contentiousness of the view, but I outlined it to give readers a chance to be aware that there are alternative views to those traditionally supported. Surely the accepted view can be easily ‘seen’ via upvotes. Downvotes should be supported via a reason(s). (IMO). For the record, I don’t mind being downvoted, but always appreciate a ‘why’.
    – Dave
    Aug 17, 2021 at 5:14
  • Dave, I gave -1. IMO the mystery of the clay has NO satisfying traditionally supported view.. there has not been sufficient focus on the matter, with too much gazing around at ancient & modern history & not enough forensic attention to the few clues we might have within Scripture. IMO Dr John Gill's interpretation, which is one of the traditional views, is absurd having this fault.. it is strange no real progress on interpretting the clay has been made since him. Your interp., IMO, is more eisegesis, not exegesis, & we need to use the context of the chapter, the book, & the whole Bible. Aug 19, 2021 at 8:09
  • @Andrew Shanks Hey, I appreciate you supporting your vote via your comment. Thanks! Exegesis is difficult, hence the lack of satisfying interpretation. Closest I could get was using ‘clay’, and ‘seed of men’ as ‘clues’. But, using these leads down a trail that challenges [natural] reasoning. And, Eisegesis requires apologetic reasoning.
    – Dave
    Aug 19, 2021 at 20:22
  • 1
    Hello Dave, I have just posted my answer. I don't up vote my own answers to my own questions and at the moment will up vote the answer of ארקדיוס. If he would just incorporate some of his comments to others into his main answer I think it would be very much better. When I asked the question I thought the clay was either the Christians or the Jews: I am much more certain now... it must be the Jews, the nation and its religious leaders in the NT era. Aug 19, 2021 at 20:30
  • @Dave The idea of "clay" being genetically engineered men is pure speculation that does nor comport with the context of Daniel 2. The prophecy is about ancient empires culminating with the Roman era...the era in which Jesus established the Kingdom of God (Matthew 4:14, 9:35). There is a problem with "topical" research which lumps scriptures together based only on a word usage. Expository research is preferred. It takes into consideration the contexts and time frame.
    – ray grant
    Apr 25, 2023 at 22:30
-2

"... there before you stood a large statue ... its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay."

"Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay."

Daniel 2:31-33, 41-43 NIV

Following the chronological and geopolitical character of the metallic image points to the constituency of the clay in the feet.

Chronological and geopolitical aspects.

There is a chronological aspect to the metal man.

"Your Majesty, you are the king of kings."

"After you, another kingdom will arise ..."

"Next, a third kingdom ..."

"Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom ..."

Daniel 2:37, 39, 40 NIV

The clay being in the feet and toes but not the legs, necessitates the clay manifested toward the end of the divided fourth iron empire.

The metal man also has a geographic aspect. It stands somewhere. The Persians extending the influence of the Babylonians and the Romans that of the Greeks.

The significant difference being the swing from the seat of government in the levant - the garden of god (hence the tree), to being in Europe. Represented by :

"Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump, bound with iron and bronze, in the grass of the field, while its roots remain in the ground ... until seven times pass by ..."

Daniel 4:23 NIV

These seven times of dormancy being equivalent to the span between the vision and the later day re-appearance of Israel as a nation.

The other significant transformation seen in the legs, being from a single wholly imperial system, subsequently divided, and ultimately manifesting into separate theocratic systems.
That process seen in the expansion of the Roman empire and eventual split under Constantine into the western and eastern empires, and the devolvement of those legs into ecclesiastical-military systems and ultimately the theosophical hegemonies of catholicism and orthodoxy. Represented by :

"... there before me was a fourth beast ... It was different from all the former beasts ..."

"... the fourth beast, which was different from all the others ..."

"The fourth beast is a fourth kingdom that will appear on earth. It will be different from all the other kingdoms ..."

Daniel 7:7, 19, 23 NIV

While Daniel 2 and 4 concern themselves with geopolitical succession and division, Daniel 7 being concerned with the style of rule concentrates on the majority aspect of the animals, in the case of the fourth "beast", its theocratical nature, this nature being manifestly different to the previous empires.

The six seals.

While the events of Revelation chapter 13 are primarily focussed on the appearance of the beast in the seventh seal, seventh trumpet period, that is after the barbarian predations against the western empire, the preceeding chapter 12 introduces us to the "iron scepter ruler", an analog of which is found in the sixth seal of chapter 6.

The preceeding 5 seals being (obviously beginning with the authorship of the Revelation) :

The white horse.

"I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest." (verse 2 NIV)

White being symbolic of peace within the Roman polity (the horse). The bow without arrows symbolic of the spread of the message of christianity. The crown being στέφανος as presented at the crucifixion. The "conquest" being at the price of much persecution.

Five Good Emperors.

"... that their rule was a time when "the Roman Empire was governed by absolute power, under the guidance of wisdom and virtue" ... these benevolent monarchs and their moderate policies were unusual and contrasted with their more tyrannical and oppressive successors.'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerva%E2%80%93Antonine_dynasty

The red horse.

"Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make people kill each other. To him was given a large sword." (verse 4 NIV)

Red being symbolic of bloodshed. The "large sword" being properly "great dagger" - μάχαιρα - an instrument for assasination.

Year of the Five Emperors.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_the_Five_Emperors

The black horse.

"I looked, and there before me was a black horse! Its rider was holding a pair of scales in his hand." (verse 5 NIV)

Black symbolic of mourning and death. The scales - elaborated in the following verse - representing the decline of the Roman economy following excess and severe taxation and the crippling effects on food production.

Five emporers of excess and taxation.

"All land, including imperial estates, which was not under cultivation in Italy and the provinces, was to be given over to private individuals to work, with security of tenure and a ten-year tax exemption."

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/cambridge-ancient-history/severan-dynasty/E77FF1B3F3C5B7D9EDC0109D5B74EE8B

"... around 20,000 men and women were killed or proscribed on this charge during this time."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geta_(emperor)

"Domestically, Caracalla became known ... for the introduction of a new Roman currency named the antoninianus, a sort of double denarius; and for the massacres he ordered, both in Rome and elsewhere in the empire."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caracalla

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antoninianus

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitutio_Antoniniana

"This shortfall left Rome in a dire fiscal situation that Macrinus needed to address."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macrinus

"... he suffered one of the worst reputations among Roman emperors."

"Elagabalus was not a tyrant, but he was an incompetent, probably the least able emperor Rome had ever had."

"Under Elagabalus, the gradual devaluation of Roman aurei and denarii continued ..."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elagabalus

"Alexander's reign was also characterized by a significant breakdown of military discipline."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severus_Alexander

The pale horse.

"I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hades was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." (verse 8 NIV)

The pale horse - χλωρός - being the colour of death. The sword in this instance being ῥομφαίᾳ as used in war. The "wild beasts" being the barbarians who for the first time directly threatened Rome - the fourth part of the empire, hitherto untouched.

See summary here :

https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/abs/cambridge-ancient-history/maximinus-to-diocletian-and-the-crisis/E05D7B1DEAD0E01B17972C0636743DF5

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_of_the_Six_Emperors

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crisis_of_the_Third_Century

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetrarchy

The fifth seal.

'When he opened the fifth seal ...' (verse 9 NIV)

"The Diocletianic or Great Persecution was the last and most severe persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire."

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diocletianic_Persecution

The sixth seal.

I watched as he opened the sixth seal. There was a great earthquake. The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red, and the stars in the sky fell to earth ... The heavens receded like a scroll being rolled up, and every mountain and island was removed from its place.

Revelation 6:12-14 NIV

The earthquake signifying the massive shift from pagan Rome to "christianized" Rome under Constantine.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great_and_Christianity

The sun representing the embodiment of imperial power, until that time pagan, disappears.

This disappearing of the sun or imperial authority, eclipsed by theocracy or "christianity" again being found in Constantine :

'... a vision that Constantine had while marching at midday in which "he saw with his own eyes the trophy of a cross of light in the heavens, above the sun, and bearing the inscription, In Hoc Signo Vinces" ("In this sign thou shalt conquer").'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantine_the_Great

The moon, representing the ecclesiastical systems of that pagan system are stained through war and violence. The stars, or "leading lights" that received power from that pagan system and its emporer and ecclesiastical systems "fall to the earth".

These heavens in their entirety "receded like a scroll being rolled up". All mountains and islands, nominally protected from upheaval by prominence and isolation, affected.

This description forming the backdrop to the introduction in chapter 12 of Constantine and the beast of chapter 13.

Constantine.

A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.

She was pregnant and cried out in pain as she was about to give birth.

Then another sign appeared in heaven: an enormous red dragon with seven heads and ten horns and seven crowns on its heads.

Its tail swept a third of the stars out of the sky and flung them to the earth. The dragon stood in front of the woman who was about to give birth, so that it might devour her child the moment he was born.

She gave birth to a son, a male child, who “will rule all the nations with an iron scepter.”

And her child was snatched up to God and to his throne.

The woman fled into the wilderness to a place prepared for her by God, where she might be taken care of for 1,260 days.

Revelation 12:1-6 NIV

The narrative here shifting to the woman, representing the bride or christianity, who fulfilling the abundant new testament prophecies regarding the "falling away" is, in the absence of the king, in the process of defiling herself and has become pregnant. No longer a virgin.

"Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction."

2 Thessalonians 2:3 NIV

And while there is an initial fulfillment in Constantine, his mother regarded as being a christian of some variety, but his father, also emporer, a pagan, there is a pointing forward to the papacy generally.

The dragon of course being pagan Rome (the dragon or snake not only being symbolic of paganism generally, but the Roman legions, the power of Rome, employing the dragon as their banner).

These "seven heads" compromising the seven forms of Roman government extant from its inception. In this case the "crowns" being διαδήματα symbolic of secular authority.
They being - Regal, Consular, Dictatorship, Decemviral, Tribune, Imperial, Gothic. This further explained :

"They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while."

Revelation 17:10 NIV

The imperial form being found in John's day.
The seven hills of course being a reference to Rome.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_hills_of_Rome

So on and so forth.

Not only is Constantine responsible for swapping the Roman dragon for the beast of Revelation 13 and Daniel 7 against much opposition - the geopolitical space of the western empire, and the resultant flight into the wilderness of the woman, but he is also the founder of Constantinople, and of the division of the empire in two, and hence the legs of Daniel's metal man.

'Constantinople became the de facto capital of the Roman Empire upon its founding in 330, and became the de jure capital ... after the fall of Ravenna and the Western Roman Empire.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantinople

The eastern or Byzantine empire eventually falling and being rolled up into Russia. Hence Moscow being referred to as the third rome :

'Moscow, third Rome is a theological and political concept asserting Moscow as the successor to ancient Rome, with the Russian world carrying forward the legacy of the Roman Empire.'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow,_third_Rome

Those two legs ultimately transitioning through secular military and political authorities to two distinct ecclesiastical hegemonies - catholicism, the succession in the western empire, centred in Rome and eastern orthodoxy, the succession in the eastern empire, initially centred in Constantinople, styled the second Rome, then after the fall of the Byzantine or eastern empire, centred in Moscow, styled the third Rome.

These two systems co-existing with the remnants of the two iron legs and with the subsequent tyrannies with which they mixed and co-existed. Neither therefore corresponding to the clay.

The clay.

From those two geopolitical legs, have arisen two systems, contrary to the established order of tyrannical rule, and contrary to the following theosophical hegemonies. They have been the significant feature of both of those geopolitical spheres for the majority of their recent history. Both are clay in nature - being concerned with the people and not plenipotentaries, and both necessitated the direct dissolution of their predecessor monarchies with which they could not mix, through violence. And both, more than any other upheavals, have had impacts on the political atmosphere of the earth.

Both are also described elsewhere in the bible.

One particularly as the antagonist leading to the events of the last days, and one particularly as the actor in the events of the last days.

The antagonist.

'Then I saw three impure spirits that looked like frogs ... they go out to the kings of the whole world, to gather them for the battle on the great day of God Almighty.'

"Look, I come like a thief!"

'Then they gathered the kings together to the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon.'

Revelation 16:13-14, 15, 16 NIV

This is the final action before the 7th bowl - being "it is done". This gathering, known in popular culture by its hebrew name, Armageddon - עָמַר (aw-mar') גַּיְא (gah'-ee) דִּין - (deen) - results in the coming like a thief, where all the nations of the earth are gathered against my people Israel, and the stone made without hands breaks them in pieces, the chaff on the summer threshing floor.

These three frogs being the clay in one of the feet, and described elsewhere :

'Their bodies will lie in the public square of the great city ... where also their Lord was crucified.'

'But after the three and a half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and terror struck those who saw them.'

'At that very hour there was a severe earthquake and a tenth of the city collapsed.'

Revelation 11:8, 11, 13 NIV

The "great city" being of course Rome, and representing the western empire.

Some three and a half days or 42 months or 1260 years after the crowning of Justinian in the eastern empire (527AD), and the death of Theodoric in the western empire (526AD), and the rise of the beast from the sea, that oppression having reached it's endpoint, the French "stood on their feet" and revolted against the adulterous union of pope and king in 1789AD, overthrowing both by bloodshed and forever changing the political heavens.

'Though Theodoric himself only used the title 'king' (rex), some scholars characterize him as a Western Roman Emperor in all but name, since he ruled large parts of the former Western Roman Empire, had received the former Western imperial regalia from Constantinople ...'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodoric_the_Great

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Justinian_I

This "great earthquake" collapsing a tenth of the "great city", or one of the ten toes, namely France.

'Within France itself, the revolution permanently crippled the power of the aristocracy and drained the wealth of the Church ...'

'The Ancien Régime also known as the Old Regime, was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France ... until 1789 and the French Revolution, which abolished the feudal system of the French nobility and hereditary monarchy.'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancien_R%C3%A9gime

'The French Revolution was a period of radical political and societal change in France ... Many of its ideas are considered fundamental principles of liberal democracy ...'

'The French Revolution had a major impact on western history, by ending feudalism in France and creating a path for advances in individual freedoms throughout Europe. The revolution represented the most significant challenge to political absolutism up to that point in history and spread democratic ideals throughout Europe and ultimately the world.'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Revolution

These three frogs not only found spiritually in the motto Liberté, égalité, fraternité originating in this Revolution but also in the three fleur-de-lis employed by the French nobility and monarchy.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fleur-de-lis

The legend being Clovis, the first king of France, upon his "baptism" in 508AD and his support to the beast, swapped his original three frog heraldic device for three fleur-de-lis at the request of pope. And of course some 1260 years later, the man Napoleon (1769AD), the first French emporer, a product of the French revolution, and the scourge of catholic Europe was born.

'Clovis is important in the historiography of France as "the first king of what would become France".'

'Clovis was baptized on Christmas Day in 508.'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clovis_I

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Napoleon

The work of Napoleon of course being the focus of the first five vials or bowls in Revelation 16 :

'Then I heard the angel in charge of the waters say:'

“You are just in these judgments, O Holy One, you who are and who were; for they have shed the blood of your holy people and your prophets, and you have given them blood to drink as they deserve.”

'And I heard the altar respond::

“Yes, Lord God Almighty, true and just are your judgments.”

(verses 5-7 NIV)

As the clay is an appropriate metaphor, so this. Appropriate as a symbol, but also found literally in its manifestation. One of the two most powerful political upheavals in the earth in the last two thousand years that has changed the world more than any other, and directly and conceptually ended the previous manner of things, with which it cannot mix.

The actor.

'In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land.'

Ezekiel 38:8-9

'I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’

Ezekiel 38:22-23

'I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you.'

Ezekiel 39:2,4

'I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the Lord am the Holy One in Israel. It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign Lord. This is the day I have spoken of.'

Ezekiel.39:7-8

'I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay on them. From that day forward the people of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God. And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them.'

Ezekiel.39:21-24

Etcetera.

The subject of Ezekiel 38 and 39 being the attempted destruction of Israel, in the latter days, after they have returned to the land (that 1948 and 1967 process described in Ezekiel 37), culminating in the manifestation of god to an unbelieving Israel and to the earth generally. This prophecy being the explanation of the particulars referred to in Revelation 16:14, 16 - the great day of God Almighty.

This antagonist being referred to on several occasions, notably :

'And the word of Yahweh came, unto me, saying: Son of man, Set thy face against, Gog, of the land of the Magog, Prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal,––And prophesy concerning him, and thou shalt say, Thus, saith My Lord, Yahweh,––Behold me! against thee, O Gog, Prince of Rosh, Meshech and Tubal ...'

Ezekiel 38:1-3 Rotherham

Described as such for a reason. These names among others listed in these 2 chapters being from the table of nations found in Genesis 10 by which the earth was re-populated after the flood. The opposition to which also being listed, and in a type being found the Anglo-American alliance as the JWs are fond to call it. Not the antagonist nor the actor, but the opposite. Plainly stated and found in a type.

This "Ros" corresponding to the one other major political movement of the last two thousand years that re-invented the political landscape and set aside the old order of the metals. It also corresponds to the geopolitical footprint of the other of the Daniel 2 legs, and currently occupies the world stage.

'The Russian Revolution was a period of political and social revolution that took place in the former Russian Empire ... This period saw Russia abolish its monarchy and adopt a socialist form of government following two successive revolutions and a bloody civil war. The Russian Revolution can also be seen as the precursor for the other European revolutions that occurred during or in the aftermath ...'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_Revolution

'The revolutions had lasting effects in shaping the future European political landscape, with for example the collapse of the German Empire and the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Revolutions_of_1917%E2%80%931923

'Following the coup, the Bolsheviks lead by Vladimir Lenin established the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR), the world's first constitutionally guaranteed socialist state.'

'The Soviet Union ... was a transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state ... the city of Moscow serving as its capital ... It was the largest country in the world ...'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union

Again, a people's movement, involving a violent overthrow of the previous order - monarchy - with which it could not mix.

And while the collapse of the Soviet Union may have caused some to question their future role, the Ezekiel prophecy is clear :

'I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army ...' Ezekiel 38:4

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dissolution_of_the_Soviet_Union

The French and Russian clay.

The thing to keep in mind is the metal man of Daniel 2. This is the basic outline, and all understanding of the clay should be according to that symbol. The stone without hands (the return of christ) being spoken of elsewhere in Revelation - "behold I come as a thief", and "it is done", directly informing us this is in response to "all nations being gathered together to Armageddon (not a greek word)" and the particulars of that process being described in Ezekiel.

This return being elegantly referenced here :

“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

'Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city.'

Acts 1:11-12 NIV

'On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west ...'

Zechariah 14:4 NIV

'It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord ...' (verse 7 NIV)

Calling to mind the words of the great king :

"But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."

Matthew 24:36 NIV

This greatest earthquake and surrounding events in Zechariah chapters 12 through 14 finding an analog in the prophecy in Ezekiel chapters 38 through 39 ...

In both cases, the actors, or antagonists, are referenced. Three frogs, and Ros. Both being found in recent history, as significant political movements (two of two) originating from the peasant classes , i.e. from the people, that overthrew the established order of monarchy with all appearance that the old order is gone, never to return. These two movements (two of two) influencing all nations, even those not associated directly with the events in Revelation and Ezekiel.

These two clay elements - inherently government by the masses - in principle without theology and incapable of sharing power with tyranny or monarchy - yet co-existing with the theosophical hegemonies resulting from the two legs and occupying their respective geographic and geopolitical "footprints".
Democratic western Europe and catholicism.
Socialist eastern Europe and orthodoxy.

2
  • This answer is considerably longer than is standard for this site, and has been automatically flagged by the system. Please consider if you could condense it down somewhat.
    – curiousdannii
    Apr 24, 2023 at 3:26
  • @ curiousdannii > I plan to do that soon. Cheers. Apr 26, 2023 at 15:39

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