It is meaningful and revelatory, in and of itself, that God would give a timeline of human history to a wicked king, especially one who destroyed the temple and deported most of Judah. Yet that is precisely what the Lord did in Daniel 2. He saw Nebuchadnezzar's potential to be saved. After the statue revelation, after the fiery furnace miracle (chapter 3), and after seven years of severe humbling (chapter 4), Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon was saved (4:34-37). In the midst of all these complex and spectacular revelations about eschatology in the lifetime of Daniel, God still worked on a profoundly personal level to save one soul, even one as dark and destructive and seemingly irredeemable as the king of Babylon. We cannot forget the sweet love of the Lord for individual salvation and transformation in the midst of our big-picture eschatological studying and learning.
And so the Lord gave Nebuchadnezzar a dream, one that was truly sui generis. The dream laid out the four Mediterranean empires that would rule Israel from Babylon to the Second Coming. In his dream the king saw this illustrated as a four-part statue of a man: a head of gold, an upper body of silver, core and thighs of bronze, and legs of iron that degraded into an iron-clay mixture in the feet and toes. The following picture recreates the initial scene of the dream nicely.