In chapter two of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has this weird and disturbing dream. It is the figure of a man with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron, and feet of iron mixed with clay. The disturbing part was next. A stone comes flying out the air and crashes into the statue's feet, disintegrating the entire thing into dust which is blown away by wind. Finally the stone becomes a mountain which fills the entire earth.
Nebuchadnezzar wants to know the meaning of the dream but not trusting the wisemen he inherited from his father, he puts them to the test by not only asking the meaning of the dream but also requiring them to tell the dream itself. After all, they are supposed to be in contact with the gods. Of course they cannot tell the dream.
But Daniel, beloved of God, asks Him to reveal to him this dream and so He does. Needless to say, Nebuchadnezzar is impressed.
The standard model for the interpretation of the dream is the image represents a sweeping panorama of world history as four succeeding world kingdoms: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome embodied in the four metals of gold, silver, bronze and iron. Each kingdom is conquered by the next one, except for Rome. Who conquer's the Roman empire, nobody they fell from within.
It is apparent that each empire is significantly larger and lasts longer than the preceding one. Why then the decreasing value of the metals from gold to iron? Shouldn't they increase in value proportionate to the empire's longevity and size?
The reconciliation is to see the value of the metals relating to the type and effectiveness of the government while the size and length of the empires relates to the relative strength of the metals, iron being the strongest and gold the weakest.
So why would Nebuchadnezzar be considered a more valuable form of government? The government was an absolute monarchy. The king's command was law, period. As treacherous as that can be, it is still quite effective and unambiguous.
It is interesting to note that Persia was a combined rule between the king and the nobles. Greece introduced the aristocracy into the governing influence. Finally, Rome had a senate representing the voice of the people. You can see the increasing decentralization of government. Of course, as citizens of the United States today, we would argue that a democracy is the best form of government albeit the most decentralized form.
So what's the value in a dictatorship? If that dictator is good and wise and righteous with a servant's heart, it could be a marvelous thing. Of course this is a description of the Kingdom of God. Will there ever be a time when the Kingdom of God will reign over the earth in a geo-political way? If you believe what the Bible says about the millennial reign of Christ, there will.
That stone which destroyed all the kingdoms of this world represents Christ, the stone which the builders rejected and became the chief cornerstone. He is also the stumbling stone, over which many will fall who do not believe. Finally, he is the smiting stone which grows into a mountain, a common symbol of government in the Bible. The image has this mountain covering the whole earth.
So God reveals to Nebuchadnezzar the prophetic dream which outlines all history including the second coming of Christ and beyond to the millennium kingdom of our Lord.
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold—the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.