Daniel explains the dream to the king
36 Daniel continued to say, ‘That was your dream, King Nebuchadnezzar. Now we will tell you what it means. 37 You are a great king who rules over other kings. The God of heaven has given to you the authority to rule. He has given to you power and strength and honour. 38 He has put all the people of this world, the wild animals and the birds under your power. He has given to you the authority to rule them all, in every place that they live. You are like the head of gold in your dream.
39 After you, there will be another kingdom. It will not be as great as your kingdom. Then a third kingdom will come. It will be like the bronze part of the statue. It will also rule the whole earth. 40 Then there will be a fourth kingdom. It will be as strong as iron which breaks everything into pieces. Like iron, that kingdom will destroy the other kingdoms. 41 In your dream, you saw that the statue's feet and toes had parts of clay and parts of iron. This shows that this kingdom will not be united as one. Some parts will be strong, like iron. The iron that you saw shows that strength. 42 But the iron parts of the statue were mixed with clay parts. This shows that the fourth kingdom will be strong in some parts and weak in other parts. 43 You saw iron and clay that were mixed together. The two parts of that kingdom will try to become united by marriage. But that will not help them to stay together as one. Iron cannot mix properly with clay.
44 During the time when those kings rule, the God of heaven will begin a new kingdom. That kingdom will continue for ever. No other people will ever win against it. It will break up all those other kingdoms and it will destroy them. And it will continue for ever. 45 You saw the stone that came from the mountain. It was not a human hand that cut it out. That stone broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold into pieces.
In your dream, King Nebuchadnezzar, the great God has shown you what will happen in future years. I have told you the dream, and I have told you what it means. You can be sure that all this is true.’