Daniel 2:36-38

What is "Babylonia" for you? What do you think about biblical prophecy? Observe Daniel's prophetic interpretation:

Daniel 2:36-38

“This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold"

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If you compared NIV's rendering with the original Aramaic in Interlinear Bible then you have found a very literal and good translation. The term "king of kings" is applied in the Scriptures to the Babylonian and Persian kings (in the NT is used as a title of Our Lord Jesus Christ) and corresponds among oriental societies to the western "emperor", in use from the times of the Roman empire (a king who rules over nations, and the kings of them are his vassals)

We can see that in his interpretation, Daniel remarks three times that the king's authority comes from God. When he says to Nebuchadnezzar, "you are that head of gold", he's not talking about the royal person itself, but about the investment or position which God has given to him. In Daniel's parallel vision in chapter seven, the "head of gold" corresponds to a "lion with the wings of an eagle" (now we know through archaeology that in old Babylonia the lion was a symbol of royalty, and also the symbol of Ishtar, one of the Babylonian deities) But... the kingdom of God didn't come after the fourth successor of Nebuchadnezzar! Are we talking about the king itself here, or about something else?

In Daniel 7:17 the word "king" is used to mean "kingdom", really. We can see that when we compare the last beast with Dn 7:23-24, where that "king" is a "kingdom" from which several literal "kings" will come. Then Daniel's phrase, "you are", must be taken as "Babylonia is" the head of gold. But... which Babylonia?

In a previous message (see Daniel 2:31-33 in this site) we have told about the reasons of calling Babylonia a "head of gold" (the first "human government" which became a state) A brief look to the history of Mesopotamia, as it has been retraced through archaeological discoveries, shows us a succession of dynasties which formed Babylonia. Notice that many dates are "circa":

1) Ca 6700-2334 BC - The Sumerians (of Hamitic origin; they spoke Sumerian, a non Semitic non Indo-european language, which used cuneiform writing system) Several cities (Lagash, Ur, Uruk etc) were capitals of Sumeria; that's why the history talks about "the dynasty of Ur", "dynasty of Lagash" etc.

2) 2334-2154 BC - The Akkadian empire (they spoke Akkadian, a Semitic language which mixed with Sumerian to form the old Babylonian language, and adopted the cuneiform writing system) Akkadian was for more than a thousand years the official language of the region (even when it coexisted with other several ones) and it is believed to be the language of Abraham, who left Ur of the Chaldeans in that period. The first Akkadian king was Sargon the Great (2334-2279 BC) who has been identified as Nimrod in Genesis chapter ten (but Nimrod was of Hamitic origin and the Akkadians were Semites) Some of those peoples which contended by the hegemony in Mesopotamia are Hamitic (Amorites, Hittites, Horites and others) The capital of that empire was Akkad, in Mesopotamia.

3) Different peoples:
2154-2112 BC - The Gutians
2112-2004 BC - Ur III (the so called "Sumerian Renaissance")
2004-1792 BC - The Amorites (rivalry between Isin and Larsa)
1792-1595 BC - Old Babylonia. With king Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) the city of Babylon became capital, and one of the world's oldest system of laws was established (the Hammurabi's Code)
1595-1150 BC - The Cassites
1150-1025 BC - Isin II. With Nebuchadnezzar I (1125-1103 BC, not the biblical one) the capital turns back to Babylon.
1025-725 BC - An agitated period; several peoples (the "Sea Peoples", Elamites, Arameans and Suteans) fought to obtain the supremacy over the region. It is in this period that the Aramaic language becomes so usual as the Akkadian; the first one was written on papyrus or parchment, with an alphabet similar to the Hebrew one, and the other one on clay tablets, with cuneiform writing.

4) 725-625 BC - The Assyrian empire. With this great power the Aramaic language became official, and replaced Akkadian as a spoken language. Already in the times of Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC) Assyria had received some control over Babylonia, in exchange for military help to keep the order in the country. The son of this king, Shalmaneser V (726-722 BC) was the first Assyrian king who reigned over both nations. Then Assyria ruled the whole Mesopotamia until the "Chaldean" dynasty, which turned the tables by conquering Assyria (Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, fell 612 BC, defeated by a coalition of Chaldeans, Scythians and Medes)

5) 625-539 BC - Chaldeans (the modern Babylonia; language: Aramaic) This was the last dynasty before Babylonia's fall. Nabopolassar (625-605 BC) is the first Chaldean king of Babylon who defeated the Assyrians with the help of Cyaxares (king of the Medes) and others. Cyaxares' granddaughter, Amytis, became queen of Babylonia by marrying Nebuchadnezzar II (the biblical one, king of Babylonia in the book of Daniel, who reigned 605-562 BC and was Nabopolassar's son) The last king of the "Chaldean" dynasty was not a Chaldean. His name was Nabonidus (556-539 BC) who seems to have married Nebuchadnezzar's daughter Nitocris. He is the father of Belshazzar, other Babylonian king in the book of Daniel. Both Nabonidus and Belshazzar fell before the Persians in 539 BC. The Persian conquest marked the end of Babylonia as an empire, and even as a state (Mesopotamia would be controlled by Persians, Greeks, Parthians, Arabs, Mongolians, Turks of the Ottoman Empire and the British empire, until 1932 when it became a sovereign state, named Iraq)

Note the succession of empires which succeeded the "head of gold". They are certainly more than four, and besides, the kingdom of God, represented by the "rock", hasn't come yet. How could we know which are the empires that are represented by that image of the the king's dream, and by the beasts of the prophet's vision in Daniel seven? There are many who have interpreted this prophecy, but not all of them have done it properly. Evidently, if a major power is identified as "Egypt" for example, it "is not" Turkey or Mongolia.

In the first place, observe that the biblical text itself identifies the head of gold with Babylonia (that most be that ancient empire which existed before 539 BC, because after the Persian conquest, Mesopotamia was not an independent nation until 1932 AD, and now it isn't "Babylonia" but "Iraq") In the Scriptures, most of times we read "Babylonia", the meaning is that ancient empire. We'll see other uses of this name, but in this particular verses is that ancient Babylonia which is meant, the one that fell 539 BC.

If you want to receive prophetic revelations then it is very important to read the Scriptures. And not only to read them, but to interpret them with the Holy Spirit's help. There are many ways to interpret a text, but not all of them are "prophetic" or true. If we read Daniel 7:17-18; 8:20-22; Revelation 1:20; 17:12-18 and other examples, we'll see that those visions and images in prophecy are representing real, historical events. Both Jewish and Christian faith is based on the Bible's historicity - the Scriptures aren't a myth or a fable. The predictive prophecies reveal a future "history", the events which will happen in a certain way and not in another one.

"Babylonia" became for the Jews a symbol of "captivity", as Egypt had been (see Jeremiah 16:14-15, Psalms 137) and because of that, the Christians, under Roman persecution from their very beginnings, used that word to mean "Rome" (1st Peter 5:13) It is in this context that the apostle John mentions in the book of Revelation a different "Babylonia" ("Babylon", the city that was the capital of Babylonia, as "Rome", the city which the capital of the Roman empire) That "Babylon" means the reconstructed Roman empire in the last times (Revelation 14:8; 16:19; 18) and the religion of this empire (Revelation 17, the Roman-Catholic church under that period) If you want to know the scriptural details of these revelations, keep reading. This revelations which we have got through the Spirit of God are for you too, because God doesn't want anybody to be confused or deceived by Satan about the things which have happened, are happening nowadays or will be.

Many false prophets have used and even now use these prophecies to incite hatred and "holy" wars against other nations. It is our vision that the Lord make this revelation about the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and his Millennial Kingdom known all around the world, and by this, the knowledge of that which is truly going to occur, and of Satan's lies on the other hand. Our Lord Jesus Christ said, "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life". If you have not received yet Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, now is the time to do it. You will receive eternal life, pardon for your sins and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, who reveals God's hidden things.

May the Lord bless you. In the love of Christ, your brother

Israel Leonard

PS Jesus comes quickly!

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