Prophecy and Empires
The Persians were the second world empire represented in several dreams God gave to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. These dreams so troubled the king that it kept him awake all night. He sought their interpretation amongst his magicians, astrologers and sorcerers - his wise men. There was, however, one catch. These 'wise men' had to first state what the king dreamed BEFORE they gave its meaning! The king was so serious about this matter that he declared if his counselors could not tell him his dream they, and their entire households, would be put to death! The story begins in the second chapter of Daniel:
"Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams.
"So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, 'I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.' Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, 'O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.' The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, 'My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap . . . '
"The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, 'There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean . . . the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon." (Daniel 2:1-5, 10, 12)
Four of the king's wise men were the prophet Daniel and his three friends. Just before they were also to be killed Daniel told the king that he could tell him what he wanted. After Daniel and his friends prayed to God the secret of the dream - that God was foretelling all the Gentile kingdoms to rule the earth from Babylon to the Beast - was revealed:
"Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, "The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king, but there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in THE LATTER DAYS. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:
"You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay . . .
"This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all - YOU ARE THIS HEAD OF GOLD.
"But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours (the empire of Persia); then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth . . . " (Daniel 2:27-31, 36-39)
In 539 B.C. - more than sixty years after Nebuchadnezzar's prophetic dream - Cyrus invaded Babylonia and defeated the Babylonians at Opis. They quickly surrendered and Cyrus' soldiers entered the capital city of Babylon without a fight.