Daniel and the dream: Feet of iron and clay

It wasn’t Daniel’s dream exactly. The vision of a statue with feet of iron and clay was in king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, and he wouldn’t tell anyone what he’d seen. Still, he demanded to know what the dream meant. Not known for his reasonableness or good will, Nebuchadnezzar summoned the sages of Chaldea to not only interpret it, but also tell him what the dream was. No clues given. This all happened around 600 years BC1 but it seems to me that the message behind this statue with feet of iron and clay is very pertinent right now.

The Jewish prophet, Daniel, was the only one among the wise men and mystics of the empire who was able to meet the challenge, and he did so by the power of the God of Israel. Here’s the puzzling omen which Daniel was able to identify, and later unravel:

“You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.” (Daniel 2:31-33)

The feet of iron and clay are relevant now

According to Daniel, as God revealed it to him, the golden head represented Nebuchadnezzar and his spectacular Babylonian empire. Later would come other subsequent empires, represented by decreasing value, until it came to the last empire, a mix of iron and clay, which all would ultimately be smashed to smithereens by a giant rock. I want to talk particularly about the feet of iron and clay, because it seems to represent the times we’re living in. This is what Daniel said about it:

And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 

As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 

And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” (Daniel 2:41-45)

There are differing interpretations of which empires are represented, but if Babylon was the head, others will be empires like that of the Medes and Persians, Greece and Rome.

Could it be that the feet of iron and clay might be the Islamic colonialism that has taken so much ground, and its uneasy alliance with the cloying Marxist humanism that has overrun the west?

Islamic east and woke west

Many people have been bewildered as to why the blue-haired folk with pronouns in their bio have such a bizarre affection for Hamas. How could the queer community be so fond of groups that would not hesitate to throw them off buildings, or drag them round behind motorbikes for their sexual proclivities? Why do feminists seem to be supporting rapists? What makes balaclava-wearing students, who call themselves anti-fascist, cheer on violent dictatorships?

Iron and clay do not mix, just like the woke mob and extremist IslamWhat in the world do these two groups, one excessively liberal, the other extremely authoritarian, have to do with each other? By now it should be obvious that the liberalism of humanistic, woke ideology is actually way more authoritarian than the naive might once have assumed. Step out of line and the punishment is severe and irrevocable. It’s the most intolerant parody of tolerance imaginable.

Refusing to acknowledge the difference between men and women, the woke crowd have proven determined to destroy the nuclear family in their defiance against God’s created order. They may seem to be campaigning for kindness, equality, and justice, but this is the antichrist spirit. It is the very opposite of God’s kingdom, parading as if it were light. Humanism without God, based on the assumption that all humans are basically good, has eroded people’s ability to know right from wrong, truth from lies, and darkness from light. Malcolm Muggeridge, a British journalist once enraptured with socialism, but transformed after spending time in the Soviet Union and coming to faith, observed:

“The depravity of man is at once the most empirically verifiable reality but at the same time the most intellectually resisted fact.”

Radical Islam, on the other hand, seems to be entirely in the opposite corner. “At least they know what a woman is”, as some have said. In general, Islamism veers towards creating a gulf between men and women, often expressed in misogynistic practices like the forced modesty of the hijab and even banning women from being out and about without permission in some places. How in the world have these two become partners?

An ungodly alliance of iron and clay

Ironically, the ubiquity of this worldly humanism in which anything goes (except the God of Israel) has given permission and created fertile ground for Islamic fundamentalism to flourish in the West. But these two domineering empires of iron and clay, Mohammed and Marx, don’t really mix. They do, however, have a few things in common. Both demand compliance. Or else. Both are founded on lies. Any discerning believer can easily identify the dark forces Muhammed encountered when he received his “revelations”. Islam’s false prophet has led billions of precious people astray and viciously murdered many millions of others who refused to worship the moon god of Saudi Arabia. Similarly, the woke, neo-Marxist ideology is based squarely on falsehoods, right to the core. Whether it’s a rejection of God’s existence, goodness, authority or design, the hatred of God is manifest. As slow as we have been to identify the rotten roots of wokeism, we have been way slower to see the spirit of Islam for what it really is. We’re now in the surreal situation where tiktok is persuading countless gullible millennials that Osama Bin Laden was simply misunderstood. His “letter to America” went viral, and well-known transgender author, Gretchen Felker-Martin, called the 9/11 attack ‘principled and defensible’. Such befuddled thinking boils all of the human experience down to a ridiculous oversimplification of power dynamics. Good and evil is often judged on a warped idea that to be powerful is to be de facto evil, with no discernment about actual morality. Those who have the honor of knowing the most powerful being in the universe know that He is also the purest form of good. 

The woke mob want the optics of seeming inclusive, diverse, and tolerant in order to protest their virtue while the Islamists have found a very powerful ally in the liberal elite. Their alliance is mutually beneficial so long as you don’t look too closely. But for now they just empower one another to become more diabolical in their moves against God, His people, and His plans.

The result: Hatred of Israel and the God of Israel

This erosion of ability to perceive good and evil in relativistic western society, along with the rapid growth of Islamic influence, has led to an eruption of antisemitism. It was a toxic mix just waiting to explode, and October 7 lit the fuse. Crowds were exhilarated and gleeful about the massacre, even calling for the gassing of Jews the very next day, before Israel had lifted a finger. The annual antisemitism report for 2023 and January 2024 shows an extreme surge in global antisemitic incidents – 235% – since the massacre according to the Diaspora Ministry, the World Zionist Organization, and the Jewish Agency who published the report. And most of the agitators believe that they are signaling virtue by doing so, imagining that they are sticking up for the underdog.
Iron and clay do not mix, just like the woke mob and extremist Islam
It’s just part of the fast flowing river of guilt-ridden human beings bereft of any way of dealing with their sin, and so campaign for all they’re worth, hoping to find redemption. Because nothing can wash away our sin, nothing but the blood of Jesus. Daniel Sugarman, Director of Public Affairs at the Board of Deputies of British Jews, wrote on X: “You have to understand, for most… activists it’s not about oil, or climate change. It’s about a cause which allows them to cosplay as crusaders for righteousness. That’s why the transfer over to “Pro-Palestinian” protesting is so effortless.” Hating Israel is the new way of declaring your own righteousness, of signaling your own virtue. Without the moral compass to identify the very serious issues in Islam, the West is falling headlong into trouble. This is exactly the sort of mixed up alliance of power that could lead to the rise of the antichrist. On the other hand, this heady mix is also presenting a gigantic opportunity. The fields are white, ripe and ready for harvest, with millions of people craving freedom and forgiveness which can only come through Jesus. Many Muslims are finding their Savior in these days, and those coming out from that deception, blinking in the light, are able to see much more clearly what’s at stake. An army of brave disciples is rising up, ready to declare the truth that sets us free—even at the risk of their own lives.

And let’s not forget: Daniel’s dream of the statue and its feet of iron and clay is ultimately overcome by a huge rock that fills the whole earth:

As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:34-45)

What is this mighty stone, uncut by human hand? The Messiah. As we hear repeatedly throughout the Scriptures, the Messiah comes to thresh, with a winnowing fork in His hand. The wheat and chaff will be separated. Jesus Himself makes the link while speaking about Himself:

“Have you never read in the Scriptures? ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this has become the chief cornerstone. This came from Adonai, and it is marvelous in our eyes.’” (Matthew 21:42)


1. The second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, according to the Babylonian system of reckoning, would begin March/April 603 BC, (Baldwin, Joyce, Daniel – Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series, 1978), p.85 

Photo by Casey Lovegrove on Unsplash

Show the world you are One for Israel!

Order your 2024 ONE FOR ISRAEL

Prayer calendar