Your Friday Firestorm #32

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

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. 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 threshingfloors; 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: 31-35)



  1. Obviously, the first kingdom is Babylon. The next three would be Media, Persia, Macedonia (Alexander), or maybe Media-Persia, Macedonia, and Rome (if you believe in prophecy).

    What’s the stone then?

  2. Ronan,

    Well let’s see, Iraq is Babylon, Media is Turkey, Macedonia is, well…who knows, and Rome are those dastardly Europeans. And America is the stone that was cut without hands and will fill the whole earth and break everything out there and fill the whole earth with its Americanness.

  3. Ronan,

    I had heard the feet of clay and iron are the kingdoms of Europe, after the fall of Rome and the empire was divided up. Would that be your assumption as well?

  4. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    The church of God, which started small, but will eventually fill the whole earth.

  5. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    My goodness, there certainly are a lot of people blogging early on a Friday morning.

  6. Kris Larsen says:

    Except that the stone, after being broken loose to smite the image, seemed to be stuck in stasis for 1800 years or so. Jesus just came at the wrong time! You would think that He, of all people, should have known better than to come to the earth when He did. There was no way His kingdom to fill the whole earth until America appeared on the scene.

  7. Kris Larsen says:

    Oops, “could fill the earth…”

  8. non-mormon-observer says:

    Could the stone be Jesus himself? I would say that he alone qualifies as being “cut without hands”.

    And it only took about 300 years before Christianity become the dominant religious force in the Roman world (of course LDS would say that it then became apostate or maybe before that).

  9. Yep, I believe in prophecy.

  10. #2 I would also suggest that the American Empire (the NAU?) would be the golden head. That way we get to have our cake, by being the stone cut w/o hands, and eat it too, by being the golden head. And who doesn’t want to be a golden head?

    I guess the only downer is the being smashed into pieces part. But at least we did our own smashing.

  11. Oh, and #5, we’re not all in the West. Or in America, for that matter. “Filled the whole earth . . . ” you know. I’m in Ohio, but I think the board gets a fair bit of activity from overseas, too.

  12. Kris Larsen says:

    #11: Yep, I’m coming out of ‘s-Gravenhage, in he Kingdom of the Netherlands.

  13. In further complication, the stone, or Kingdom of God, was taught by Joseph as not being the Church…

  14. Stapley, are you saying the stone is the Council of Fifty? Where have they been for the last 150 years? Is Romney their public spokesperson?

  15. kevinf, the idea of Romney representing what Joseph Smith intended in the Council of Fifty is one of the most frightening things I’ve ever encountered in the bloggernacle. ;-)

  16. Fortunately, the early twentieth century dispensational fundamentalist Clarence Larkin has provided us with a full explanatory diagram.

  17. Steve Evans says:

    Pres. Hinckley, in one of his last public addresses, commented on this particular chapter.

  18. Nick, perhaps I should have worded it this way: 150 years of deep cover manipulating and covert organizing, and Romney is the best they can come up with?

  19. Actually, the Council of Fifty is alive and well. It wasn’t dead, just restin’.

  20. This one is easy.

    The great image with the feet of clay represents the New England Patriots, and the stone cut without hands signifies the New York football Giants.

  21. MCQ, nice linkage of self promotion and something silly! On second thought, perhaps the stone is made of Cheese!

  22. Actually, I was promoting my co-bloggers, but I see you are a true connoisseur, Kevinf. That is gourmet cheese indeed.

  23. Apparently Daniel did not see the contemporary wave of titanium shoulder, hip, and knee replacements or part of the beast would’ve been arrayed in titanium.

    On a more serious note, Bruce M. states that babylon or the entire world system represented by the beast will ultimately be destroyed.

    Clarence Larkin is a wee bit off by naming the catholic and orthodox churches as the legs. Protestants have been trying to assimilate the Vatican into Daniel’s image of the beast for centuries. It’s sort of cliche and somewhat off the mark.

  24. I’m trying to figure out how the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, est. 1830, took down the Neo-Babylonian empire in 539 BC.

    The first thing you have to do with passages like this is figure out what it meant to its original audience. If you accept a Hellenistic composition date, there are plenty of contemporary issues that would have exercised its author. If you believe Daniel wrote it, you should still look to the Near eastern empires first before you start throwing the Vatican into the mix.

    The stone is curious indeed. If it’s the kingdom of God, then the stone is Cyrus (smasher of the Babylonians) and Alexander (smasher of the Persians) and various other warlords of the ancient Orient. This is on par with Isaiah’s view of Cyrus the Messiah. This is fine, I suppose, but it’s hardly the kingdom of God Jesus preached.

    Of course, it’s perfectly legitimate to view the stone in other ways — via a bit of pesherising — but first let’s try to understand what “Nebuchadnezzar” would have understood.

  25. Steve Evans says:

    Ronan, have you never heard of time travel?

  26. Joseph Smith sent a band of Danites back in time to slit ol’ Darius’ throat?

  27. Steve Evans says:

    I’m just saying you have to keep the possibilities open, man!

  28. Interestingly, Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s dream is mentioned nowhere in the New Testament; however, later Christians came to view the stone as being Christianity itself, which has rolled forth since the time of Christ and will eventually fill the earth. According to early nineteenth-century Bible commentator Adam Clarke, the stone represents “the spiritual kingdom of the Lord Jesus, which is to last forever, and diffuse itself over the whole earth.” The fourth kingdom is interpreted as being the Roman empire, which was partly divided at the time of Christ.

    In Joseph Smith’s day, Nebuchadnezzar’s prophetic dream had also become a way of explaining God’s hand in contemporary political events. The Prophet’s grandfather, Asael Smith, like others, considered that one fulfillment of this prophecy was the establishment of the sovereign United States after the Revolutionary War. In either case, the mountain into which the stone eventually grew was perceived as being the millennial kingdom of Christ. Mormonism came to see itself as the stone that would expand into the millennial kingdom (D&C 109:72).

    Joseph Smith’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream differed from that of mainstream Christianity in that he saw the stone being cut out without hands as occurring in modern times, specifically as the restored church growing into the millential kingdom. He said, “I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdom of Daniel . . . and I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the whole world.” Joseph received a revelation in October 1831 stating that the “gospel” or “kingdom of God” shall “roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth” (D&C 65:2-6).

    Early twentieth-century general authority, B. H. Roberts, defended this interpretation arguing that the king’s dream didn’t imply that the stone or kingdom would be set up during the Roman empire, which Christians (Mormon and non-Mormon) generally believed to be the fourth kingdom, but rather “in the days of the [fifth] kingdom represented by the pieces of iron and clay in the feet and toes of the image.” Daniel actually doesn’t speak of a fifth kingdom, but only that the fourth kingdom of iron would be divided producing the toes of iron and clay. Non-LDS writers contend that the Roman kingdom was already divided at the time of Christ.
    Critical biblical scholars see Daniel’s prophesied kingdom in a much different light than either traditional Christians or Latter-day Saints. In the first place, “all but the most conservative scholars now accept the conclusion that the book of Daniel is not a product of the Babylonian era but reached its present form in the 2nd century B.C.E. Daniel is not a historical person but a figure of legend.” Scholars point to literary and historical evidence that at least this portion of the book of Daniel was actually written between 168 and 164 B.C. and not in the sixth century B.C., which also means it was written pseudonymously, like several other known works attributed to Daniel.

    These scholars further interpret the four kingdoms in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream as kingdoms in antiquity, which were known to the writer. Biblical scholar Matthias Henze, writing in The New Interpreter’s Study Bible, states that the four kingdoms are “easily identified as Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar), Media (Darius the Mede), Persia (Cyrus of Persia), and Greece (the ‘prince of Greece’ in [Daniel] 10:20).” Consequently, the kings spoken of in the book of Daniel had already lived down to the feared Antiochus IV Epiphanes, who was the ruler of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire at the time of writing. His kingdom, which was the Seleucid dynasty, was the feet of iron and clay seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. According to L. Michael White, professor of classics and religious studies at the University of Texas at Austin, “in Daniel’s interpretation . . . these [different body parts] refer to the succession of kingdoms after the Babylonians, the very kingdoms that are in charge of the Jews, ending with the Seleucids, who are the feet of clay, whom the forces of God crumble, causing the statue to collapse and this gives rise to a new kingdom of Israel.”

    Critical scholars explain that it was during the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucids, known as the Maccabean Revolt, that the book of Daniel was written. The Jews won their war, but the predictions in Daniel beyond this point, including the establishment of a new kingdom of Israel, failed to materialize. Stripped down to its basic message, the book of Daniel provided hope for the captive Jews at that time by showing that God was about to set up a kingdom on earth where they could finally live in peace. (sorry, I don’t know how to get the footnotes to work)

  29. I actually like the football comments best. I also hope that the Patriots feet are clay.

  30. #24

    Nebuchadnezzar was told by Daniel that his kingdom (Neb’s)was the golden head, and he described the kingdoms that were to follow. He tells the king that the 4th kingdom shall be as strong as iron-and then indicates that after that kingdom comes a kingdom that is divided-that is part iron and part clay.

    Interestingly parallel-the House of Israel was divided into two kingdoms-and two feet combined would have ten toes. The “stone” or rock breaks the feet and scatters the pieces so that they are lost (no place is found for them. Ten tribes reference? Could be…except that Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that the events depicted in his dream are future, not past events.

    So my question is-who are the ten kings(horns)that come from the fourth kingdom (beast) of iron?

  31. Sorry…my bad. According to various sources, appears MattG was closest in #3-the ten “toes” being the divided kingdoms of Rome. Jesus Christ is not the stone-as the kingdoms represented by the feet and toes didn’t exist when Christ lived.

    J.Stapley is right #13. The Kingdom of God in scripture does not always mean the “Church of God” or vice versa. When the “Kingdom of God” is established on Earth and the Millenium begins, His kingdom will cover the entire earth but not all people living will be members of His Church. IOW-the Church is part of the Kingdom.

    The stone (Kingdom of God)is “cut without hands” because it is not established or created by any mortal. The stone in the dream doesn’t roll across the feet, or start out slowly and gather speed like a snowball-it smites them-crushing all of the kingdoms into pieces so that they are found no more on earth…more like a cannon ball. :-)

  32. Kevin Barney says:

    When I was young there was a document that circulated that purported to identify each of the ten toes as European kingdomds following in the wake of Rome, leading inexorably to 1830. I haven’t seen that recited for a long time; does anyone else recall that?

  33. Steve Evans says:

    Kev, I’ve got it somewhere — I thought that was BH Roberts’ doing.

  34. With all due respect, for us does it really matter what the original prophecy meant? Joseph did a lot of re-interpreting and re-positioning of ancient scriptures and scriptural accounts. After all, if the Garden of Eden narrative can be repositioned to the modern US, and then throughout the world via the temples, why can’t this dream also prophetically be “likened unto ourselves” and re-applied to the Church as the Kingdom of God rolling forth to conquer the apostate world?

  35. That was me. Forgot to change my wife’s info, since she commented last on this computer.

  36. Maybe it’s just me, but I think knowing what a prophecy means is pretty critical to knowing when that prophecy has been fulfilled.
    We should liken the scriptures to ourselves-but I think a prophet re-interpreting or expounding scripture for the world or Church is entirely different than members determining what they mean to them personally.

  37. #36 – If one believes the original (or initial) meaning of the prophecy has been fulfilled, but that there is a modern application of that prophecy that can be made (or that was included in an original dual meaning), does it really matter what the “fulfilled” meaning was? It’s past and done. What matters now is the “new” or “second” meaning.

    There are many examples of end times prophecy that have been fulfilled already – but can be seen as still awaiting fulfillment or as waiting for fulfillment again. It doesn’t have to be a one-time-only thing.

  38. Ray – I think the word you’re looking for here is ‘type’ rather than prophecy. That is, the scriptures present us with a generalized shadow of the way God manages the ebb and flow of history rather than necessarily specific and particular Nostradamus style prophecies.

    This is, of course, assuming God manages (rather than governs or presides over) history.

  39. matt, I’m not mixing “type” and “prophecy”. They are two distinctly different things, and I am not addressing “types” in the classic manner in which they are defined.

    I’m saying prophecy can either be given with multiple fulfilling events (literally by meant to be fulfilled more than once) or that it can be fulfilled as originally intended then re-interpreted / re-applied later by another prophet to something else that will fulfill it anew – even if the original prophet never envisioned the later event – even if it wasn’t given originally as a “type”. Prophecy can be co-opted and recast without it ever being a type.

  40. More directly, I do believe in specific prophecy about specific events – and not just in ancient times or by institution-wide prophets or “Prophets”. I don’t believe for a moment that all “prophecies” are merely “types”. Not at all.

  41. ray, you do appear to be using prophecy in the way many of us would use type. a prophecy is a specific single prediction of an event. a type is a more flexible precedent for a variety of events. i think i understand that you’re implying that a specific prediction of a specific event can be flexibly interpreted, but that’s what a number of us would consider a type with several antitypes. Edwards and the crew that loved types were fervent Biblical literalists, as i recall. i think you’re using type the way many of us would use metaphor, which implies a less “faith-filled” view of a scriptural prediction.

  42. Yeah, I understand completely the linguistic nuances of the words. I don’t like the way that “type” was used in scriptural discussions in college, so many years ago, so I don’t like it in discussions of prophecy. It’s my own experiential bias showing. In the end, we’re talking semantics and word choices that really don’t matter – as long as the meaning is clear.

    As long as the statements I believe to be prophetic are classed as prophesies, I really don’t care what other words are used to describe multiple applications or recasting.

  43. Aha, Ray. I spend most of my religious reading in the SGA period, where type meant what Edwards intended it to. My college days studying modern scholarship have slipped back some, and typology has admittedly evolved in the interim.

    On an unrelated note, John Taylor argues that the Jaredites were one of the kingdoms destroyed. “Ancient Ruins,” T&S 5:23:747.

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