John, That got me thinking about several other verses.
32 The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 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. 35 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.
43 `Because of this I say to you, that the reign of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth its fruit; 44 and he who is falling on this stone shall be broken, and on whomsoever it may fall it will crush him to pieces.' 45 And the chief priests and the Pharisees having heard his similes, knew that of them he speaketh,
20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, "Why have you made me like this?" 21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?
6 "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
The feet were partly of iron and partly of clay and could that mean Rome and Israel?
Good to hear from you Fred.
Yes, I agree with you that the "legs of iron with feet of iron mixed with clay" represent the fourth kingdom since Nebuchadnezzar's to subjugate God's People: it symbolizes the Roman Empire subjugating with the cooperation of local kings such as Herod. The Romans did not naturally mix it up with the Jews any more than Iron mixes it up with clay. (But Pilate did finally make friends with Herod the day Jesus was crucified). And I consider it a stroke of brilliance to bring in those passages from Romans and Jeremiah as you did.
Interesting thought I had the other day about the contempt the Romans had for the Jews:
When Pilate taunts the crowds several times, and even posting it above Jesus' head on the Cross, "This is Jesus, the king of the Jews" I wonder if he meant it also as a form of contempt for them. Think of it: Pilate was mocking, like his soldiers before him, calling attention to the fact that Jesus, a single man with no son, no natural heir, is indeed singly qualified by lineage from David to be king of the Jews - their last hope of ever regaining their former glory & kingdom & freedom. And here is Pilate personally overseeing to his death as a capital criminal. So I wonder if publically posting on the Cross, "This is the king of the Jews" was an expression of spite towards all Jews, indicative of the mutual contempt between Rome and Israel; like between iron and clay, even as they cooperated together as a team, as a government, to kill Jesus and oppress & subjugate His People.
So yes, I would see the iron & clay representing the Romans & Herodians/Sanhedrin/Sadducees/Pharisees working together to subjugate God's People at the time that the Kingdom of God, "the stone that becomes a great mountain," finally arrived.
I got so involved in a response here that it seemed good to just go ahead and make a page out of it here:
I really appreciate your interaction.