It is slightly problematic with prophecies. They are often foggy in a way, that they can be interpreted for pretty much anything, as long as you cut a heel and chop a toe. However, one of the prophecies from the Bible is particularly clear in his pictorial prediction of how the Power of the World will change for 2,500 years after its prophecy. However, it is an interpretation, but the exercise may still be interesting.
The city and the gardens – in itself a dream
Let us assume for a moment that under special conditions it is possible to tap into the large database that contains the possibilities that the future may bring. The database may be multi-stranded, so there are several possible clues that can all become reality, but some or just a single one is more likely. Let us also assume that prophets at the heavy end of the scale have a slightly more in-depth and intuitive unobstructed access to the database than modern-day lightweight pseudo-prophets in the form of analyzers who simply gather data on current trends and project them.
In 630-562 BC, a king lived in Babylon by the name Nebuchadnezzar II also called the Great. Among his brutal exploits was the destruction of Jerusalem and the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah (Judea), which, among other things, marked the beginning of the Jewish captivity in Babylon.
Babylon was perhaps the most lavish city of antiquity, and even Rome had to fade. Nebuchadnezzar’s queen Semiramis gave her name to the Hanging Gardens, known as one of the Seven Wonders of antiquity, which the king had built around the palace because the queen was reportedly longing for her birthplace in the mountains. The great zigurath in the center gave its name to the Tower of Babel – the temple, the university, the central bank. The city was so much His city and self-indulgent life-work, that he wrote instructions to his successors that they had to surrender if they were attacked, for he could not bear the thought that his splendor should be destroyed in the same way as he had destroyed Jerusalem and other cities. On the other hand, he aspired that the city was impregnable, since there were an overkill-large number of walls, ramparts, and moats around it.
It was common for a conqueror to abduct selected persons among the conquered intelligentsia, artists and nobles. The intention was to influence and educate them – let’s just say brainwash them – as young people to later represent and master the conquered culture when they returned. One of these figures was a man we know from the Old Testament as the Prophet Daniel, who was brought to Babylon in the first of three expeditions to the land and its capital around the year 605 BC. It is described in the Bible as the Babylonian Captivity.
The Prophet in the lions den
Daniel was raised and educated among the Babylonian scholars. He was given the name Beltsazzar and was to gain reputation as a scholar and even superior to his Babylonian counterparts. In other words, according to the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament, but should a little impartial non-objectivity have crept in here, his book is not a scientific-historical dissertation either. In any case, it is said that he was particularly knowledgeable in the interpretation of dreams, which should benefit him one day and save his life.
We all know the feeling. Sometimes we have a dream that seems more vivid than others, and which is so disturbing that we cannot let go of it. Such a dream the king had, and he was very troubled. He believed that it was a dream that required an interpretation and commanded his sages to interpret it. They volunteered for the task but soon got reluctant as it was not enough for the king that they interpreted the dream. He simply refused to tell them what he had dreamed, so they had to first tell him what he had dreamed. They were horrified, for no one was capable of such a thing, and they were no less horrified when they were told that they would be decapitated if they did not cope with the task.
Daniel was also contacted and the conditions were the same. He agreed, but said he needed time to prepare. Together with their friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, they asked the God of Heaven to help them, and as it says:
Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision; and Daniel praised the God of heaven, and spake, saying,
Blessed be the name of God from eternity and to eternity, for to Him belongs wisdom and strength!
He lets times and moments confess, deposes and inserts kings, gives the wise their wisdom and the insightful their knowledge; he reveals the deep and secret; he knows what darkness hides, and the light dwells with him.
I thank you and praise the God of my fathers, because you gave me wisdom and strength, and now you have made known to me what we asked of you; for what the king will have known, you have announced to us!
When he stood before the king, and the latter asked him if he was able to tell him the dream, Daniel replied that the secret sought, no Chaldean sages, magai, dream-interpreters or star-interpreters could tell the king, only the Heavenly God could tell such matters. So Daniel modestly (tactically wise) does not take credit for the interpretation, but says that his God has done it to do the king a favor and for him to know his dream.
Then it says in the book of Daniel, chapter 2, vv. 31-35, that Daniel retells King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream:
You saw, O king, before you a mighty figure; this figure was great and the brilliance exceedingly strong; it stood in front of you, and its appearance was awful.
The head of the image was of fine gold, the breast and arms of silver, the belly and the loins of copper,
the legs of iron and the feet half of iron and half of clay.
Thus you saw until a stone was torn loose, but not by human hands, and it struck the iron and clay feet of the image-support and crushed them;
and at once iron, clay, copper, silver, and gold were crushed and became like chaff from the threshing-floors of summer, and the wind carried it away without a trace; but the stone that struck the image became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.
This is the biblical image of the colossus on clay feet, which, as we know, is bound to fall. Daniel then says to the king:
O King, King of kings, to whom the God of Heaven gave kingdom, power, strength, and glory, in whose hand he gave the people so that they know the inhabitants, the beasts of the field and the birds of the sky, so that he made you The Ruler over them all – you are the head, which was of gold.
Daniel thus interprets the dream by saying that the head of gold is the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar. He makes sure to honor – one can almost say flatter the king by comparing his kingdom with a golden head. BUT – and this is the bad news – soon after there will be a kingdom that is inferior to his, which is of silver. Then there shall come a kingdom that is inferior even to copper, but which in turn shall extend over the whole earth. Finally, there must come a kingdom of iron that is strong and mighty, and that will crush everything in its path. The strong kingdom, however, has the weakness that its feet are not of iron but of clay.
Iron and clay cannot be mixed, they cannot enter into marriage. In return, there will eventually be a kingdom that smashes the kingdom of metals and clay but which will not perish. A stone must move loose, smash the colossus, and a mountain must rise.
It is an interesting and quite strong image. One can actually well understand, that the king was worried about the strength of the dream and therefore sought a competent interpretation. He obviously did not trust his sages and commentators enough, for he suspected them of wanting to give him a pleasant interpretation to save their butts. Daniel’s interpretation is accepted as a mixture of good and bad news that does neither stroke his head hair nor offend him. If the head is to fall, it must provide full currency for as long as it lasts. An image of arrogance and megalomania. The king is not entirely satisfied that his kingdom should perish, but he accepts it as an inescapable fact.
It is interesting that the prophecy emerges as a collaboration, a co-production between the king and the prophet. The king is the primary prophet, for he has the dream, and the interpreter is the secondary prophet, for he interprets it. One cannot take place without the other.
The king has other visions and prophecies in his late days. He sees the Great Tree in the Middle of the World grow into the Sky (thus the proverb: trees do not grow into the sky), but is felled and a stump with roots is left. He sees man being deprived of his heart, replaced by an animal heart for seven ages. Several quirky and powerful images that describe in a disturbing and direct way what has actually happened to humanity.
In pure euphoria over his realizations about the course of the world, the king – and here there is an inelegant shift in the text, for the king is now all of a sudden Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Belsazzar (strangely enough almost the same nickname that the king gave Daniel – he called him my son ? – is this pesha for God and the Son of God?) – a great feast for the great men of the kingdom, where they get seriously drunk in drinking cups the size of vases stolen from the destruction of Jerusalem, while praising their gods of gold, silver, copper, iron and stone (the image from the dream).
After which the Writing on the Wall is written by a human hand. Spooky! Have you seen the writing on the wall? we say.
Once again the mages and the interpreters are summoned, and they fall short again. Then they summon the prophet Daniel at the command of the old queen Semiramis, who explains the scripture: The king had great power, everyone feared him, and he did what he wanted. For this arrogance he was overthrown – just here in a flashback we are told that a coup has taken place – and he had to live among donkeys and eat grass until he realized, who was the Master in his house and able to exalt and overthrow people.
But thou, Belshazzar his son, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;
you have taken pride in the Lord of Heaven!
… and drank wine of vessels stolen from the house of the Lord. And then, of course, he says what was written on the wall: Mené, mené, tekél, ufarsin. Mené means that God has counted your days, tekél means that you are weighed and found too light, and ufarsin (those who speak Farsi) or perés (Persians) means that your kingdom is divided between the Media and Persia.
Daniel pronounces by his interpretation the death sentence on the heir to the throne, who is killed the same night. As far as the first five chapters of the Book of Daniel, which are nine chapters in total. We do not have to retell them all, but one can basically say, that it is all about a demonstration of the power of the god of the Jews over the Babylonian king of gods, who demands that the people worship them. At one point, Daniel is thrown into the lions’ den when he refuses to worship the king, but as you know, he survives because God sends an angel who closes the teeth on the lion. After Belshazzar, the throne is taken over by the Median Darius and after him the Persian Cyrus. Daniel becomes the main character in this story of a change of power.
Let’s return to the dream, for it is interesting. We have already understood that the head of gold on the statue is identified as Babylon, and that Nebuchadnezzar personifies the head.
Reinterpreting The Dream
Undoubtedly, Babylon was famous for its gold. The city was larger than both Rome and Athens – located 20 km south of present-day Baghdad. It was said: more gold in Babylon than dust. Excavation of Babylon started in 1899 by German archaeologists has revealed a city surrounded by two separate wall systems, each consisting of 3 separate walls. There were 200 temples in the city. The Akkadian language was an international trade language – the Akkadians were the warriors who overcame the formerly advanced empire, the Sumerian – and this linguistic dominance shows the enormous influence of Babylon. This influence has lasted over time, for banking, as we know it today, is a Babylonian invention.
Nebuchadnezzar was not content to just be the head of the statue. It is then told that he had a large statue of gold erected and commands people to worship it. It was a time of rebellion in his kingdom, and this initiative can be seen as a way of enforcing loyalty to him. Perhaps the whole book of Daniel should be read as an allegorical tale and this rebellion, and the names of Daniel’s three friends, in Babylonian Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, are similar to the names mentioned on the king’s rebellious subjects. In fact, in this way Daniel assumes the form of the Messiah, the leader of the Jewish revolt we know from the 1st century, who is also known only in allegorical form – see The King That Disappeared. The three friends were at one point locked into a blazing hot oven where they survived. As it says: three men went into the ‘oven’ and four came out again. Is this a side story of occult technology like the Ark of the Covenant?
But what is the dream’s description of of the chest and arms of silver? What is the belly and the loins of copper. And what are the legs of iron and the feet of clay?
The third kingdom to come was to extend over the whole Earth, so we understand from this that it was not regional kingdoms but Empires that are in question. Empires do not stand and fall in a short time, so we also understand that it is a prophecy that looks far into the future.
The silver kingdom that caused Babylon to fall was Persia. King Cyrus the Great’s army surrounded Babylon in the year 539 BC. It is also called Achaemenid Persia. The Babylonians felt fairly safe due to the impregnable masonry that could not be overrun by either cavalry, tanks, archers or the like. That was before the time of the great war machines. This is where the Book of Daniel comes into the picture with his allegories, and he writes that the king, who was Belshazzar, fell in a single night.
The feast and the fall
The Euphrates River ran across Babylon, and the masonry through which the river flowed in through sunken gates was closed with solid lattices – and water. The Persians solved the problem by building a dam and a canal that led the river around and exposed the underwater gate and the ground below. Once inside, they were able to open the other gates, whereby the city fell on a night when the king held his last feast, as described in the Book of Daniel. This is where they see the writing on the wall, which allegorically describes that they recognize that their days are numbered and that their kingdom is now being taken over by the Achaemenid Persia or the Medic-Persian Empire and their soldiers with armor plates in oil-polished iron, which resembles silver.
King Cyrus could be brutal at the cities that fought before they fell. Cities, houses, men-women-children were wiped out, not a pretty sight. But the city-state of Babylon fell in a rather effortless manner, and here it proceeded without brutality. In Jewish optics (Daniel) it was a charitable fall, for the Jewish captives were allowed to return to their land.
It is a built-in dynamics, that a great kingdom wants to expand, because how had it become a great kingdom to begin with? One of the Persian kings was named in Old Persian Xšaya-ṛšā or in modern Persian Khashayar. But the Jews could neither spell nor pronounce it, so his name was Ahasuerus. But the Greeks could not pronounce it, so he was called Xerxes. We find the word again in the titles of the emperors (one of the variations is precisely emperor after Caesar, pronounced Kaisar), Shah or Tsar. Xerxe’s wife was Esther, a young Jew, and the story is found in the Book of Esther. His ambition was to conquer Greece, so he did. And the Greeks never forgot that story.
These events were in the 400s BC. So when Macedonian Alexander the Great took over Greece 100 years later, Macedonians and Greeks remembered what the Persians had done to them and wanted revenge. They assembled an army with great force that could fight the Persian army of far greater manpower. At three major battles in the 330s, they defeated the Persian army. At the Battle of Arbilla in 331, Alexander was a large minority, but won by his special tactics. His army was only about 49,000 men. The Persian king Darius’ army was 490,000 men conservatively estimated, some sources say one million men! Alexander’s tactics were the phalanx, the long spears, etc. – a military historical account in itself. King Darius simply chooses to turn his horse in the middle of the battle and flee, meaning his army follows.
So here we have the third kingdom in Daniel’s interpretation, the Kingdom of Copper (bronze). It is Alexander the Great’s empire that expanded through the Persian Empire and all the way to India. It is described in the book of Daniel chapter 8, where in a vision appears a large ram that breaks one of its horns. Alexander’s Greek world expansion cracks his one horn as he hits the wall and reaches the End of the World – and he cried because he saw that there were no more worlds he could conquer.
Alexander was powerful and intelligent. He was educated by the foremost philosopher of the time, Aristotle. But even though he conquered great empires and the whole world known to the World of Antiquity, he never conquered himself and his own demons. He died frustrated and disillusioned out there on the battlefield of Babylon, leaving a kingdom to his four generals, Cassander, Lysemicus, Ptolemy, and Soluceus, who divided his kingdom into four territories.
It is interesting that a world conqueror – today we would call him an imperialist – is brought up by philosophers. Today we would call it ideologues, spin doctors or geopolitical / security policy advisers. Philosopher Leo Strauss of the University of Chicago advised a strip of students and later politicians rooted in the US Deep State called The NeoCons. Was Strauss at all aware of what he was delivering philosophical shots for? Was Aristotle aware of what his teachings ended up with?
The fourth empire is the Kingdom of Iron. This empire has the greatest power imaginable, with which it shatters and smashes all countries that oppose its ambition of conquest. The Kingdom of Iron is the Roman Empire, the military empire.
The Roman Empire is like the British Empire or the United States post WW2. It is an empire characterized by its military budget, the size of its army, its Senate and its corrupt and bribed senators, its brutal encroachment on all countries in its operational sphere, its theft of other cultures’ inventions and properties, and its ability to falsify history to dis-explain its abuses.
Rome was not overrun by yet another empire. It was undermined, for its feet were of clay. Rome had attained the maximum strength of any conceivable empire so that nothing of the same size could overcome it. The clay feet of the empire were its subjects, who bottom-up invaded and destabilized Rome. The empire disintegrated through its internal and underlying contradictions, exposing itself to both internal and external takeovers.
In the prophecy of Daniel it is said that the kingdom will be divided into the kingdom of iron, for clay and iron cannot be mixed. A number of so-called barbaric tribes undermined Rome. The Roman Empire continued in various limited and temporary forms such as the Frankish Empire = Charlemagnes German-Roman Empire. The Catholic-Roman Empire was divided into the Eastern and Western Roman Empires. In other words: none of the kingdoms that succeeded and imitated the Roman were able to hold together the Empire. Napoleon was not capable of that. The British have not been able to do that. The Americans – it turns out now – have not been able to do that either.
Europe’s history has been the story of more than a millennium-long attempt to unite the Empire through inbreed, an artificial bond to keep the dream of the undivided Roman Empire alive by arranging political and strategic marriages. It was only able to do so for a limited time. After that it was clay and iron, and they did not mix, for the togetherness was shattered by their greatness madness, which always ended up with them fighting each other. World War I was the culmination of this death drive, in which closely related monarchs slaughtered and destroyed each other’s greatness.
An entire strip of empires after the Roman Empire sought to recreate their grandeur. Charlemagne German-Roman Empire, British Empire, Napoleonic Empire, Third Reich, US Empire, they all took their ideal and role model with the Romans. Most clearly among the British, who so explicitly proclaimed themselves as the true heir of the Roman Empire with the right to exercise the power of the Iron. In the king’s dream it is said that it would not succeed, for iron and clay cannot mix and create coherence and strength. The clay, the soft, will undermine the iron, the hard. Also the British and most recently the Americans had clay in their shoes and mud between their ears.
OK. How can we know that the Book of Daniel was written before all these events considering a whole range of doubts and disputes surrounding the dating of biblical scriptures? That seems to be the big question with most of the material that has become the Bible’s two testaments. The whole writing may in fact be a post-rationalization based on knowledge of the four empires. What may indicate that the book is authentic is that it is found as a canonical writing in the Dead Sea Scrolls, dating to between 250-50 BC.
The end of the dream is the stone that comes down from the mountain – the Old Testament God lived on the mountain, because Moses had to go up there to talk to the Lord to get The Law. The stone shatters the unsustainable image of God, which does not have enough coherence – to speak managerially. Christian interpreters are not late in saying that it is the return of Christ and the Millennium, for out of the stone grew a mountain in itself that fills the whole Earth. So Daniel prophesied about Jesus 500 years before – according to the Christian pundits.
If one is not to throw oneself into the arms of the Bible bashers, then one could also cling to the devolution, the degeneration described as the decay from gold to iron. It is the same process that Plato describes in his Great Year, in which the age of gold becomes the age of silver, the age of copper / bronze and ends in the age of iron. We know it in the Vedic, the knowledgeable version as the four Yugas, where Kali Yuga is the Age of Iron, and the beginning of Kali Yuga according to the most reliable interpretation, which is Sri Yukteswar, dates the beginning of Kali Yuga as coinciding with the formation of the Roman Empire, and the end of Kali Yuga including the transition period of 400 years is the year 2000. After this we have entered a new ascending Copper Age.
Times have now changed, subtle energies have set in, but people are impatient and want to see results here-and-now. Contributors and exponents who are already imperfectly contributing to the shift are being shot down and put out of hatred, because we want Stairways to Heaven NOW!. Here it is only to say: 2,500 years are like the days of men and like grass, as it is written in the Book of Psalms.