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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In the second year of the reign of N'vukhadnetzar, N'vukhadnetzar became so troubled by a series of dreams he had that he couldn't sleep. So the king ordered the magicians, exorcists, sorcerers and astrologers summoned to interpret the king's dreams to him. They came and stood in his presence.
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.
The king said to them, "I had a dream which will keep troubling my spirit until I know what it means." The astrologers spoke to the king in Aramaic: "May the 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 Yeshua spoke when he was on the cross.
The king answered the astrologers, "Here is what I have decided: if you don't tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you will be torn limb from limb and your houses reduced to rubble. But if you do state the dream and its interpretation, I will give you presents, rewards and great honor. Just tell me the dream and its interpretation."
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.
A second time they said, "Let his majesty tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it." The king replied, "I see you're only trying to gain time, because you see that I've decided that if you don't tell me the dream, there is only one sentence passed on all of you. So you've conspired to mislead me with lies in the hope that time will change things. Now, just tell me the dream! That will convince me that you will also be able to give me its correct interpretation."
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.
The astrologers answered the king, "Your majesty, nobody in the world can do this! Never has a king, no matter how great and powerful, asked such a thing of any magician or exorcist or astrologer. The king is asking a difficult thing; nobody but the gods could tell this to your majesty, and they don't live with mere mortals."
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 Yeshua paid the penalty for us.
At this the king flew into a rage and ordered all the sages of Bavel put to death. When the decree was published that the sages were to be slain, they sought Dani'el and his companions in order to have them put 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.
Then, choosing his words carefully, Dani'el consulted Aryokh, captain of the royal guard, who had already gone out to kill the sages of Bavel. He said to Aryokh, "Since you are the king's official, let me ask: why has the king issued such a harsh decree?" Aryokh explained the matter to Dani'el. Then Dani'el went in and asked the king to give him time to tell the king the interpretation.
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 Yeshua stepped in and saved his enemies (us) from the penalty (death) for our sins.
Dani'el went home and made the matter known to Hananyah, Misha'el and 'Azaryah, his companions; so that they could ask the God of heaven for mercy concerning this secret, and thus save Dani'el and his companions from dying along with the other sages of Bavel.
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.
Then the secret was revealed to Dani'el in a vision at night, and Dani'el blessed 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.
in these words: "Blessed be the name of God from eternity past to eternity future! For wisdom and power are his alone;
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.
he brings the changes of seasons and times; he installs and deposes kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those with discernment. He reveals deep and secret things; he knows what lies in the 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.
I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for giving me wisdom and power, and revealing to me what we wanted from you, for giving us the answer for 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.
So Dani'el went to see Aryokh, whom the king had charged with destroying the sages of Bavel, and said to him, "Don't destroy the sages of Bavel! Bring me before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation." Quickly Aryokh brought Dani'el before the king and told him, "I have found one of the exiles of Y'hudah who will reveal the interpretation to his majesty."
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 Yeshua has done for us in that he rescued us from death and allows us to meet with God anytime that we want.
The king said to Dani'el (who had been renamed Belt'shatzar), "Can you tell me what I dreamt and what it means?" Dani'el answered the king, "No sage, exorcist, magician or astrologer can tell his majesty the secret he has asked about. But there is a God in heaven who unlocks mysteries, and he has revealed to King N'vukhadnetzar what will happen in the acharit-hayamim. Here are your dream and the visions you had in your head when you were in bed.
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 Yeshua Messiah and the fact that they can have the same type of power through him. We also see that God had revealed to the king what will happen in the last days which includes the times that we are a part of.
"Your majesty, when you were in bed, you began thinking about what would take place in the future; and he who reveals secrets has revealed to you what will happen. Yet this secret has not been revealed to me because I am wiser than anyone living, but so that the meaning can be made known to your majesty, and then you can understand the thoughts of your own 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.
"Your majesty had a vision of a statue, very large and extremely bright; it stood in front of you and its appearance was terrifying.
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.
The head of the statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its trunk and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, and its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
We see the materials that made up the statue and it is important to note that the feet or foundation of the statue was of clay which is a material that is easy to form and shape.
As you watched, a stone separated itself without any human hand, struck the statue on its feet made of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken into pieces which became like the chaff on a threshing-floor in summer; the wind blew them away without leaving a trace. But the stone which had struck the statue grew into a huge mountain that filled the whole earth.
What a wonderful picture this is of the coming millennial reign of Yeshua Messiah (see Revelation 20)! Yeshua 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.
"That is what you dreamt, and now we will give the king its interpretation. Your majesty, king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; so that wherever people, wild animals or birds in the air live, he has handed them over to you and enabled you to rule them all - you are the 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.
But after you another kingdom will rise, inferior to you; then a third kingdom, of bronze, which will rule the whole world. The fourth kingdom will be as strong as iron. Iron can break anything into pieces, pulverize it and crush it. So just as iron can crush anything, this kingdom will break the other kingdoms into pieces and crush them.
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.
Finally, you saw the feet and toes made partly of pottery clay and partly of iron; this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the firmness of iron, since you saw the iron mixed with clay from the ground.
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.
Just as the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. You saw the iron mixed with clay; that means that they will cement their alliances by intermarriages; but they won't stick together any more than iron blends 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.
"In the days of those kings the God of heaven will establish a kingdom that will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not pass into the hands of another people. It will break to pieces and consume all those kingdoms; but it, itself, will stand forever - like the stone you saw, which, without human hands, separated itself from the mountain and broke to pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold. The great God has revealed to the king what will come about in the future. The dream is true, and its interpretation is reliable."
Daniel speaks of the kingdom of God and its appearing through Yeshua Messiah. This has happened in that we, as followers of Yeshua Messiah, 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.
Then King N'vukhadnetzar fell on his face and worshipped Dani'el; he ordered that a grain offering and incense be offered to him. To Dani'el the king said, "Your God is indeed the God of gods, the Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets, since you have been able to reveal this secret."
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 Yeshua 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.
The king promoted Dani'el to a high rank, gave him many rich gifts and made him governor of the entire province of Bavel and head of all the sages of Bavel.
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.
At Dani'el's request, the king put Shadrakh, Meishakh and 'Aved-N'go in charge of the affairs of the province of Bavel, while Dani'el remained in attendance on the king.
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.