During his rule King Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by a nightmare he couldn't understand so he summoned all his astrologers and demanded that they not only interpret the dream, but tell him what the dream was!
The astrologers told the king that there was not a man on earth who could do what the king asked. "No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."
They certainly had a point but Nebuchadnezzar was not a very reasonable man and gave the order for all of the wise men to be executed. This included Daniel, even though he wasn't present when the order was given. When Daniel heard what was to happen, he asked for an audience with the king and after praying about the dream, was given a staggering revelation of the future!
Nebuchadnezzar had seen a huge metal man in his dream. The man had a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, waist and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of clay — a progressive decrease in value from head to toe and a correspondence increase in brittleness. Daniel went on the interpret the dream for the king.
You, O king, 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 mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.
"After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours.
Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth.
Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron-for iron breaks and smashes everything-and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.
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.
"In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (Danel 2:37-44)
The head of God was easy enough to understand. The narrative itself said it represented Babylon. History makes the other kingdoms clear. After the Babylonian Empire came the Persian Empire — the chest and arms of silver. They were swallowed up by the Greeks — the belly and thighs of bronze. Then came the Roman Empire — the legs of iron. What is left are the feet of clay, with ten long toes. The European Union?