February 19, 2023

Homily on the Terrible Day of Judgment and the Dream of Nebuchadnezzar (St. Luke of Simferopol)

By St. Luke, Archbishop of Simferopol and All Crimea

(Delivered on Meatfare Sunday in 1958)

In very ancient times, the powerful despot Nebuchadnezzar reigned in Babylon, subjugating many kingdoms of the earth.

One night he had a terrible dream, which greatly disturbed him. But waking up in the morning, he completely forgot this dream and ordered all magicians, charmers, fortune-tellers and wise men to be called to him. From them he demanded to explain his dream to him. But, of course, no one could know and say what the king dreamed of, and they only promised him to interpret his dream if he himself told it to them.

Nebuchadnezzar fell into a furious rage and ordered to exterminate all the wise men, magicians and charmers in his kingdom.

The prophet Daniel, who was then in Babylonian captivity with all the people of Israel, learned about this. He, too, was in danger of death. But God revealed to him the king's dream and its meaning. And he appeared before the terrible despot Nebuchadnezzar, and thus told him his dream: “You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth” (Dan. 2:31-35).

The prophet Daniel explained this dream of Nebuchadnezzar as the history of the kingdoms that will rise after his kingdom, which in a dream is shown as the highest of all kingdoms, like the golden head of an image.

It will be followed by other very strong kingdoms, like silver, copper and iron - like the chest, belly and thighs of an idol, made of copper, which was very highly valued in ancient times; and like his iron legs are kingdoms as strong as iron, the strongest of metals. And the feet and toes, made of a mixture of iron and clay, depicted later, much weaker kingdoms.

And on this weak spot of the idol, which depicted the later weak kingdoms, a stone struck, torn off the mountain without the participation of hands, and the terrible idol collapsed, and broke into small pieces, even to dust blown away by the wind.

And the Stone, not hand-cut, was separated by God’s power from the “Uncut Mountain” - the Blessed Virgin Mary - and became a huge mountain that covered the whole earth.

This is how the Divine power of Christianity, which conquered all pagan peoples, was depicted.

The interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dream was given to the great prophet Daniel from the Holy Spirit and, as we know from the further history of mankind, it was exactly fulfilled. A huge and terrible idol was an image of many kingdoms and states that had a common grave vice, all of them had one weak spot - feet, partly iron, partly clay. This weak point was the absence of Truth.

The words of the great prophets, inspired by the Holy Spirit, have eternal significance. And until now stands before our mental eyes a terrible idol that was dreamed of by King Nebuchadnezzar: until now we see in the recent historical past and even in contemporary events of the state, relying in their desire for power over the whole world on the power of gold and silver, on the power of the military power of their copper torsos and thighs, to the power of iron legs, striding all over the earth and trampling weak peoples. But we know from the prophet Daniel that their terrible feet are made of clay and only partly of iron.

And these mighty states will come to a miserable end when the great and glorious day of the Last Judgment comes, when the "Stone cut without hands", not by human force moving away from the "Uncut Mountain", will strike on the feet of clay all the workers of iniquity, from entire states to individual people.

Then all human strength and power will collapse. Then all the dead will be resurrected by the power of the uncut Stone - our Lord Jesus Christ - and His Terrible Judgment will begin over the whole world.

Then He will command His Angels to divide all those who are brought to judgment, and put some to His right, and others to His left, and will say to those standing on the right: “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? 38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.' Then He will also say to those on the left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.' Then they also will answer Him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (Matthew 25:34-46).

As you can see, the Lord Almighty, the Terrible Judge of the world, will judge all nations only by two criteria or signs, or even only by one sign of the highest truth, for it is inseparable from perfect love. For the deeds of truth and love, He will justify those placed on the right; for deeds of unrighteousness and dislike for God and people, he will condemn those who stand to the left.

Among the justified and blessed there will be many ordinary people, about whom the Apostle Paul said: "But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are" (1 Corinthians 1:27-28).

These simple people have nothing in common with the terrible idol shown in a dream to Nebuchadnezzar. Their mind is not educated, and not learned, and does not look like the golden head of an idol. They do not have the mighty power of money, they do not have the strength and power of copper and iron, but they do not have clay feet either. Their whole being consists of human flesh, which, of course, will not be struck by the Stone that is not cut by hands, crushing only untruth.

These are kind, simple people who wholeheartedly loved the Sun of Truth, the Lord Jesus Christ.

May our Lord Jesus Christ vouchsafe us eternal joy to be among those in whom He does not find any unrighteousness.

May He also count us among the host of the unwise and despised, and not those who have been abolished that are wise and mighty. Amen.

Source: Translated by John Sanidopoulos.

Become a Patreon or Paypal Supporter:

Recurring Gifts

Contact Form


Email *

Message *