Author

Jacob G. Bury

Date of Award

5-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

History

Abstract

In the second year of his reign as King of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Nebuchadnezzar II dreamt of a large stone that rolled down the side of a mountain, shattered a great metallic statue, and grew into a mountain range large enough to cover the earth. The accomplished ruler, who went on to oversee the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, as well as the destruction of Jerusalem’s Jewish temple, was no revelator, and so enlisted Daniel, an exiled Jew, to interpret his dream. According to Daniel, the statue, divided into five parts from head to toe, portrayed mankind’s present and future kingdoms. The last, represented by the statue’s iron and clay feet, would be “a divided kingdom.” Unable to unify, “the kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. . . . [T]he people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.”1 Once all five kingdoms had matured and fallen, God’s kingdom, the large, rolling stone, would destroy all vestiges of temporal rule and establish governance over the earth until the end of time. To the Old Testament king, Daniel’s interpretation meant little; to future religious groups, and especially for members of the early Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Nebuchadnezzar’s dream served as a clear roadmap to the millennium.

Share

COinS