Daniel Chapter Two

I Had A Dream

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In our study of Daniel chapter two, we look at the dream of the Babylonian king and its coming fulfillment. Although much of what was revealed in this dream has already come to pass, we will see that some concerns the days that we live in.

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Daniel 2:1 & 2a

In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed.

The most powerful man in the world at that time was given a dream by God and it worried him. We must remember that this man was a pagan and yet God sent this dream to him. It is interesting to see that he turned to all kinds of wisdom of that day for the answers but he left out Daniel who, as we saw in chapter one, was found to be ten times better than any of them. We must not be too hard on the king as many times we, too, forget to look for the wisdom from God's people instead of the ways of the world. It is also interesting to note that, when he summoned the wise men, he did not ask for an interpretation but instead told them that they must first reveal the dream to him.

Daniel 2:2b-4

When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, 'I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.' Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, 'O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.'

So, when the wise men of the day came to the king, they wanted him to tell them the dream so that they could make up an interpretation for the king. It is interesting to note that, at this point in the book of Daniel, the language shifts to Aramaic. This was the diplomatic language of the time much as English is today around the world. It is also the language that Jesus spoke when He was on the cross.

Daniel 2:5 & 6

The king replied to the astrologers, 'This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.'

Imagine the terror that must have struck these wise men when they heard this. They had much to gain by telling the king the dream and what it meant but, if they did not, they and their families would lose everything.

Daniel 2:7-9

Once more they replied, 'Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.' Then the king answered, 'I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.'

Once again, the magicians and such tried to get the king to tell them the dream so that they could make something up to interpret it. The king explains his reasons for making them tell him not only the interpretation but also the dream. If they can tell him what happened in the dream, then, he will know that they can give the right meaning for it. This is a picture of how we, as Christians, can read and understand the Word of God. It is not by our own efforts or what someone else tells us but by the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. God uses people and resources such as this website but only the very Spirit of God can speak the meaning into our hearts.

Daniel 2:10 & 11

The astrologers answered the king, 'There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods and they do not live among men.'

At this point, the wise men are begging for their lives. They plead by explaining that what the king asks is impossible for any man to do. They also admit that it is only possible with the help of the gods. You can almost feel God setting things up for His glory to be revealed. It was the same type of thing with us and our problem of sin as it was impossible for us to do anything about it on our own but God stepped in and Jesus paid the penalty for us.

Daniel 2:12 & 13

This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.

The wise men did not tell the king his dream and so he ordered their death. Even Daniel and his friends (who were not asked to interpret the dream) were sentenced to death. This is a reminder to us that sometimes even the innocent are affected by the sin of others.

Daniel 2:14-16

When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king's officer, 'Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?' Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.

When Daniel found out about the death sentence that was imposed for all of the wise men (including himself), he went to intercede with the king. He asked for time and the opportunity to interpret the dream. This is a wonderful picture of how Jesus stepped in and saved His enemies (us) from the penalty (death) for our sins.

Daniel 2:17 & 18

Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

As we have seen, Daniel is a man of prayer and so he turns to the Lord for answers. He and his friends seek the answer to the dream from the Lord. We notice that he did not try everything else he could think of and then finally turn to prayer. We all have to ask ourselves whether we seek God's answers first (like Daniel) or as a last resort.

Daniel 2:19

During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven

Daniel was a man of prayer and not only did he take his problems and concerns to God but he praised Him when the prayer was answered. Many times we are quick to ask God for what we need but we do not always give Him thanks and praise when our Father answers us. There are those who say that God does not use visions and dreams today like He did here with Daniel but the prophet Joel said that it would happen to all of God's people in the last days. Peter quoted Joel to explain what happened to the crowd at Pentecost (see Acts 2). There are those who say that Joel was only talking about the period of time when the apostles were sent out but, as we see from the quote, these events are happening and even more as the Day of the Lord approaches. The quote from Joel speaks of wonders in the heavens and those same events are described by John in Revelation 6.

Daniel 2:20

and said: 'Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his.'

Daniel begins praising God by remembering the fact that He is the source of all wisdom and power. In our world today, everyone grows up thinking that they need a college degree and that, if you want wisdom, you have to go to college. We, like Daniel need to remember that wisdom comes from God not a professor, course, or school. God can use them but they are not the source of wisdom but only the tool that is used.

Daniel 2:21 & 22

'He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.'

Daniel continues to praise God for giving wisdom and knowledge to men. He remembers that all authority is His as He is the one that places kings on their thrones and removes them at His will. He even causes the days to come and go as well as the different times of the year. As Creator of the world, God could have just created everything and turned it loose to sit back and watch but we know that He is active in all of His creation and it would all end without Him to sustain it.

Daniel 2:23

'I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.'

Daniel is specific in his prayer as he has been given the dream of the king as well as its interpretation. God has done what no man could do and so He will be glorified.

Daniel 2:24 & 25

Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, 'Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.' Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, 'I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means.'

Once again, we see the favor of God at work in the life of Daniel. When he went to the man that was put in charge of the execution, the man could have simply ignored him and carried out the orders of the king but he did not. Instead of death, Daniel gets a meeting with the king. That is also a picture of what Jesus has done for us in that He rescued us from death and allows us to meet with God anytime that we want.

Daniel 2:26-28a

The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), 'Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?' Daniel replied, 'No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.'

Daniel appears before the king and, when asked if he could fulfill the king's request, replies that he cannot but he knows who can. When many lesser men would proudly say that they can, Daniel remained humble and informed the king that God was able. He had the opportunity to tell the king about the power of God and he did so but there are many today who do not acknowledge the fact that their gifts and talents are from God. The result of this pride is the failure to tell others about the power of Jesus Christ and the fact that they can have the same type of power through Him.

Daniel 2:28b-30

He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these: 'As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.'

Daniel explains to the king that his visions were a revelation of future events. He was quick to explain that the interpretation was only from God and because of His grace and nothing of Daniel. He explains that God wants the king to understand what is to come and why. That is much the same with us today with God's word in Revelation. Many do not study it out of fear while others say that we cannot understand it. Just like King Nebuchadnezzar, God wants us to understand what is to come and so He gives us the ability to read and know what it says.

Daniel 2:31

'You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue - an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.'

Daniel begins to tell the king his dream and we see that the dream was of a rather large statue. The Babylonians were very familiar with statues as they were everywhere to be seen and so we see that God is communicating with the king in a way that he will understand. In the same way, God communicates with each and every one of us through the power of the Holy Spirit. We see that this statue was so impressive that it was scary as it was distinguished from the statues that the king would see every day.

Daniel 2:32 & 33

'The head of the statue was made of pure 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 baked clay.'

Daniel describes the statue to the king and we see a downward spiral from the most valuable of materials to the least. Throughout the Bible, gold is associated with divinity and so we also see a progression away from God and to the efforts of men (clay).

Daniel 2:34 & 35

While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.

What a wonderful picture this is of the coming millennial reign of Jesus Christ (see Revelation 20)! Jesus was described as "the stone you builders rejected" (Acts 4:11) by the apostle Peter as well as by the psalmist in Psalm 118:22. This stone was the Son of God but most rejected Him in favor of their own efforts to please God. As we see here, man's efforts to build on their own will be destroyed.

Daniel 2:36-38

'This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.'

Daniel tells the king that he and his kingdom are the head of gold. Up to this point in history, the Babylonian kingdom was the greatest most far reaching kingdom that the world had ever seen. Gold is associated with the divinity of God and so Daniel reminds the king that this has been given to him by God.

Daniel 2:39 & 40

'After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron - for iron breaks and smashes everything - and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.'

Daniel explains to the king that what he saw was a string of kingdoms each getting weaker than the last. The second kingdom (silver) was the Media-Persia empire which replaced the Babylonian. The third (bronze) represented the Greek empire and the fourth was the Roman empire. What is history to us today was prophecy to Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 2:41

Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay.

The Romans were known for their legions of military forces which were the finest of the time and they are the iron in the feet of the statue. But, that is not all that the Roman Empire was known for and we see that in the clay that was mixed in with the iron.

Daniel 2:42 & 43

As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.

The Roman empire had military strength but they were weak because they grew to love pleasures above all other things. The people they conquered were never truly brought into the kingdom and so, although they were mixed, they were still somewhat separate.

Daniel 2:44 & 45

'In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands - a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.'

Daniel speaks of the kingdom of God and its appearing through Jesus Christ. This has happened in that we, as followers of Jesus Christ, have been made an eternal kingdom but it is yet to be the earthly kingdom. This will be fulfilled in the future as we see in Revelation 21. Daniel assures the king that the events of the dream will come to pass. Just as the rock described was from God, the interpretation of the dream could have only been from God and not men. The king would have realized it was true because he had been able to tell the king what the dream was and interpret it.

Daniel 2:46 & 47

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, 'Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.'

In this passage, we see the reason for God doing this wonderful thing through Daniel and that is so that God would be honored and worshiped. That was the same reason that Jesus and the apostles did miracles and wondrous signs. It is also the reason that signs and wonders will occur even more often in the last days.

Daniel 2:48

Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men.

By being obedient to God, Daniel was shown favor by men. That same type of thing can happen with us today as we walk out our faith. Many times, when those around you see the Spirit of God at work in your life, they will want to bless you and that is favor from God.

Daniel 2:49

Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court.

We see from this passage that Daniel was able to bless the men that had been with him because of his favor with the king. The same thing happens today as we are given the opportunity to bless those around us because of the favor of God upon our lives.