When Daniel says the “image” that the king dreamed about “stood” before him (v. 31), that indicates it was a man. But not the walking, talking kind of man; the kind of image of gold or silver that the king worshipped (v. 32,33). The metals of this image get stronger from head to foot, which makes sense, for they represented nations that were about to rise and conquer one another in succession. But the fact that these metals also get cheaper shows that God knows civilization is going downhill, spiritually speaking!
The “stone” (v. 34) is Christ (I Cor. 10:4). “Without hands” means without human instrumentality (Col. 2:11 cf. Acts 7:48). He was “cut out” of “the mountain” (Dan. 2:44) of God’s kingdom in heaven when the Lord was born of a virgin, without the human instrumentality of Joseph. He was given a body like the body made “without hands” that we will have in heaven (II Cor. 5:1). Your new body will be “eternal” because God made it, but recognizable because it will be the same body your mother made.
When verse 34 says the stone will smite the metals of this image, that’s a picture of Revelation 19:15. It will smite the image’s feet because the metals represent nations that would rule the world in the future, and the last nation that will rule the world will be Antichrist’s. His nation will be the culmination of all the wickedness of all those previous nations, so in smashing it the Lord will be smashing them. That’s why verse 35 says they’ll be smitten “together.”
After that, the nations will be “like the chaff” (v. 35). That tells you how small the “pieces” are they’ll be broken into (v. 34)—like “powder” (Mt. 21:42, 44)—and blown away by the second coming of Christ! And after that there will be “no place” found for them (v. 35). That’s referring to places in the government of earth (cf. Jo. 11:47, 48). Fallen angels currently have places in the government of heaven (Eph. 6:12) and will continue to do so until they lose their “place” in Revelation 12:7, 8. And there will be no place found for the nations of the world in the government of earth at the Lord’s coming either. That’s because the kingdom that the Lord will set up won’t be a culmination of all the kingdoms that came before it. Verse 35 says the Lord will make “of Himself” a kingdom, not of them.
Someday the Lord will be “the king of kings” (I Tim. 6:15), but here in Daniel 2 He made Nebuchadnezzar “a king of kings” when He gave him his kingdom (v. 38). God again claimed credit for giving him his kingdom in Jeremiah 27:5-7. When it says he had power over man and beast in all the world, that’s similar to the power God gave Adam (Gen. 1:28). None of the fallen angels that he was told to “subdue” could have conquered him if he hadn’t sinned, and no nation could conquer Babylon either.
The next kingdom of silver wouldn’t rise until “after” Nebuchadnezzar died (Dan. 2:39 cf. Jer. 26:6, 7), which is exactly what history tells us happened. Then God said to his grandson that his kingdom would be “divided” to the Medes and Persians (Dan. 5:28-31)—one kingdom with two parts, represented by the one breast and two arms of the image. It is said to be “inferior” to Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:39) because the world is getting worse, not better!
We find out who that third kingdom of brass is (2:39) when God gives Daniel a vision of the same world powers in Chapter 8. After seeing Media-Pesia described as a ram with two horns, he saw a he-goat representing Greece conquer them (8:1-21), so the kingdom of brass here is Greece. God showed these kingdoms to Nebuchadnezzar as a bright shiny man because that’s how men see the future. But He showed the same future to Daniel as animals getting progressively smellier, because that’s how God sees man’s future!
The other metals represent nations, but the gold represented the king of a nation because God couldn’t say Babylon was the head of gold because Babylon had kings before Nebuchadnezzar (II Ki. 20:12), and Babylon didn’t become head of the world until he was king. Even then it wasn’t automatic. In the fourth year of Jehoikim, he burned his Bible (Jer. 36:9-23), and a year later God gave Nebuchadnezzar this vision appointing him head of the world in Jehoikim’s place (Jer. 25:1 cf. Dan. 2:1).
Video of this sermon is available on YouTube: The Depiction of Daniel’s Prediction – Daniel 2:31-39