Head Of Gold, Babylon (605-539BC)

Over 2000 years ago in the year 604BC a Babylonian king named Nebuchadnezzar had an extraordinary dream. Unable to recall or interpret it’s meaning, Nebuchadnezzar called on a Jewish captive by the name of Daniel. According to the ancient writings of Daniel, the King dreamt of a giant statue made of precious metals. Each metal representing a new kingdom. Daniel begins by telling Nebuchadnezzar the head was made of pure Gold & represents Babylon. “Thou art this head of Gold.”


Daniel was a young Hebrew man taken captive by the Babylonians when they had earlier invaded and destroyed God’s people Israel & the city of Jerusalem (605BC). In the writings of Ezekiel we find God had warned Israel that they would soon be overthrown because of their idolatry. Ezekiel (8: 14-16) indicates Israel had adopted Pagan worship from the surrounding nations. Turning their back on God in the temple they were found worshipping the Sun God “Tammuz” & with their backs to God’s temple they were “bowing down to the sun in the East”. Ezekiel chapter 9 tells us only a chosen few who remained steadfast to God’s 10 commandments, received a “mark on their foreheads” to save them from the Babylonian onslaught (Ezekiel 9: 4). This was even predicted in Jeremiah 25:9 when the Lord said he would summon his “servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon” to destroy Israel for their abominations. Daniel had found God’s grace & was saved, quite possibly one of the few who received the mark on his forehead.

Once captured, Daniel finds favor with King Nebuchadnezzar & in the 2nd year of the kings reign (604BC) he is tasked with retelling & interpreting a strange dream which disturbs Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel says, before you stood a large dazzling statue, “the head of the statue was made of pure gold”. (Daniel 2:31-32) He then tells the king, “you are that head of Gold” (Daniel 2: 38). History shows us that King Nebuchadnezzar was the Babylonian king from 605BC to October 7, 562BC. His 2nd year of reign was 604BC. This is important because Daniel 2:1 tells us that this is when Nebuchadnezzar first had his dream – in his second year.  A look at history also confirms that King Nebuchadnezzars Babylonian empire had made several raids on Jerusalem around this time and the possibility of Daniel being taken captive was very real, just as Daniel chapter 1 indicates. Encyclopaedia Brittannica reveals Nebuchadnezzar lead Babylon from 605BC. It shows he again attacked Jerusalem in 597BC, taking “Jehoiakim King of Judah” captive – just as Daniel 1:1-2 tells us. This provides context to help us understand that these events unfolded just as the Bible says & that the likelihood of Daniel being a genuine historic figure are real. Interestingly, the Siege of Jerusalem was completed in 587/86BC when the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Nebuchadnezzar & his army made several raids on Jerusalem. The final attack culminating in the destruction of the temple in 586/7 BC.


Beasts represent “kings” or “kingdoms” (Daniel 7: 17,23) 

The Babylonian empire is clearly established as the ‘Head of Gold’. However, Daniel also had his own dreams – a dream of four beasts which we are told also represent the same kingdoms from Nebuchadnezzar’s statue. Daniel 7:17 says the beasts Daniel dreamed of are “four kings that will rise from the earth.” In bible prophecy kings & kingdoms are used synonymously – you can’t have a king without a kingdom nor a kingdom without a king. However, to be sure we are not left guessing the meaning of the word ‘beasts’, Daniel 7: 17 & 23 actually says the four great beasts represent “kings” or “kingdoms”. Babylon was the first of these.

The first beast Daniel dreams of “was like a Lion and it had the wings of an eagle.” (Daniel 7: 4) Ironically, the Head of Gold – Babylon, had all sorts of winged lion statues & pictures which Daniel would have been very familiar with. In fact, the Ishtar gates in ancient Babylon show the very same winged Lion depicted on it’s walls. Before Jerusalem was destroyed, Judaean prophet Jeremiah tells us the lord would bring great destruction on the city and “a Lion has come out of it’s lair; a destroyer of nations has set out.” (Jeremiah 4:7) He was speaking of Babylon as the Lion because this is exactly what happened. The wings of an eagle are then mentioned in Jeremiah 4:13 when it describes Nebuchadnezzar  coming like an eagle to destroy Jerusalem. Lamentations 4: 19 also refers to Eagles wings when it says Israel’s pursuers (Babylon) were “swifter than eagles of the sky.” Habbakuk 1: 8 also says, Babylon was “like an eagle swooping to devour.” The wings clearly represent the speed in which Babylon took control, with the Lion representing the fearful creature which ruled the area at the time (the Mesopotamian Lion).

If it were not for the discoveries made in Ancient Babylon, one might question the analogy of the Lion with Eagles wings. Archaelogical findings from the ancient Babylonian ruins reveal something quite amazing. Lions with eagles wings have actually been discovered. The Lion with wings can be found today in ancient Babylon (Mesopotamia) which is 94km from Baghdad, Iraq. The statue (left), is the Basalt Lion of Babylon statue in Babylon, Iraq. It was discovered in 1876 & is thought to have been built by King Nebuchadnezzar (605-562BC). The image to the right, shows the winged Lion Daniel dreamt of & is found on the Processional path on the way to the Ishtar gates in Babylon, Iraq. 

Like all earthly kingdoms predicted by Daniel, Babylon would eventually fall. After telling Nebuchadnezzar his kingdom represented the Head of Gold, Daniel then says, “after you another kingdom will arise, inferior to yours” – Daniel 2: 39. King Belshazzar was the last King of Babylon when it famously fell to a new world power. This new kingdom became the Silver arms & chest of Nebuchadnezzars statue and brought us a step closer to the year we now live in.

Jump to the 2nd kingdom in King Nebuchadnezzar’s stunning dream!