Saturday, Nov 25th

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Daniel 2

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Daniel and his three young friends were the intellectual giants of their time; it is reasonable to say that each was a genius. We also know that Daniel was gifted by God to see and interpret dreams and visions. He now starts to describe the beginning of another phase in his life amongst pagans.

I have read many weird and wonderful ‘interpretations’ of Daniel’s visions. We will ignore them all and concentrate only on what we know God’s word says. If I need to use human views I will identify them as such, bearing in mind that they are no more than guesses, and not equal to scripture.

This chapter gives us a detailed example of yet another way God communicates with His people. We already know that He can give dreams and visions, prophecies, and so on. But, here is a remarkable instance of God giving the substance of a dream experienced by someone else. Of course, God can do this because He knows everything anyway. I suspect, however, that it was God Who gave Nebuchadnezzar the dream in the first place, so that He could show, through Daniel, His greatness.

Even more remarkable, though, is the way Daniel, as a young man, was confident enough to tell the king that he would tell him what he wanted to know… even before Daniel had asked God for the answers!! And he did not just ask if God would answer – he KNEW God would answer!

Now that is amazing faith! Yet, it should be ordinary faith for us all – it should be how we live from day to day. God tells us that if we ask for anything in true faith, we will receive. He does not tell us to add “if” into our prayer! Daniel relied on this fact and was given the answer he sought. The question for us all is simple and profound: if we say we ask God for all manner of things, and do so in faith… why is it that we have no response from God? It can only be that God is not yet ready to answer, wishing us to go on our knees in full humility, or, that we ask wrongly, or, that the faith we claim to have does not really exist. Which is it? Daniel knew even before he asked, that God would respond.

Verses 1-2

  1. And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

  2. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

This is said to be the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Yet, Daniel is included amongst the wise men of Babylon, which, according to some, took place after three years tutoring in the ways of Babylonia. So, say critics, how can this possibly be only the ‘second’ year of the king’s reign.

Suffice to say that whenever critics try to destabilise God’s word, the supposed criticisms are unfounded. God does not lie, and no writer would so blatantly get the matter wrong! It is thought that this was the second year of the king’s reign over a re-conquered Egypt; which would be quite acceptable in ancient forms of historical commentary. On the other hand, Jewish sources suggest that Daniel came to the notice of the king well before the three years were up.

In this ‘second year’ the king “dreamed dreams”. ‘Dreamed’, chalam, can have one of about six meanings, but the addition of ‘dreams’, chalowm, offers only two possible meanings – an ordinary dream, or a prophetic dream. So, the latter word qualified the first as a ‘prophetic’ dream, because of its content. Interestingly, the root of chalowm is chalam.

When he dreamed his dreams the king was disturbed by them to the extent of waking up. By his ‘spirit’ is meant his soul or mind. We know it does not, in this case, mean his actual spirit, because until a man is born again/a believer, his spirit is dead.

The dreams were not nightmares but obviously had some kind of strong effect. It is very likely God gave them to the king, so that His own glory would be shown through Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar therefore called his advisers, the magicians and astrologers, to enter his presence, together with the “sorcerers, and the Chaldeans”. The magicians were diviners. The astrologers told the future by the stars; they also acted as exorcists. The sorcerers were witches.

The Chaldeans, or Kasdiy, were considered to be the wisest people in the land (from where Abraham came). It is also the general region inhabited by the magi who visited Jesus, so it is possible the magi were one of the Chaldeans, or high-ranking advisers to the court; equally, they could have been royal astrologers.

So, the king gathered together many who were thought to be skilled enough to answer his questions. It is obvious from later texts that not all wise men attended this first meeting. Usually, the wise men managed to convince the king, but not this time. Nebuchadnezzar’s query was, on this occasion, barbed with the threat of death!

In today’s world, political and other leaders rely on those whose lives and hearts are lost in sin. These sinning individuals advise governments, churches and others, with zeal and bad counsel. Sometimes those voices are ungodly men who claim to be Christians. Their unbelief affects us all, as we see in our own land.

Verses 3-6

  1. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

  2. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.

  3. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

  4. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

As the company stood before the king, he related his problem, saying that he was much troubled by the dreams. The Chaldean wise men were the first to speak, and spoke to him in Syriak. That is, in Syrian or Aramaic (‘language’). In typical sycophantic tone they firstly said they hoped he would live forever! Then they said that if the king just told them the dream they could then provide the interpretation.

Then came the shock – the king told them he had by now forgotten what the dream was (as is often the case with dreams, once the dreamer has awoken… or was it a ploy he used?). But, this is where the ‘barb’ enters the account: the king told them that if they did not give him both the original dream and the interpretation, they would be “cut in pieces” and their “houses shall be made a dunghill”. The Chaldeans and the others who so confidently earlier stood before the king, must have quaked as the horror of their fate surged through their minds!

He further advised them that if they successfully gave him both answers, they would be greatly rewarded and given unbounded honour. Then, he again demanded to hear both the dream and the interpretation.

Sometimes in life we are literally hit hard in the face with a sudden and very surprising shock. It can be anything. It rocks our life so much that our minds reel with it, with a violence we cannot initially comprehend. Or, it can be an equally sudden demand from God, that is so different from our usual thoughts, we stagger under its enormity. The wise men and occultists had obviously influenced the country until this moment. Now, with a sudden movement like a sword slicing the air, the king brought them news of their own deaths if they did not comply. The promise of great rewards was useless, because the occultists knew they could not answer the king. Their beings and legs must have turned to water.

One day, the Lord will summon us all to the Judgment Seat. He will tell us everything we have ever done, said or thought, and our misdeeds will be made known. Those who are unsaved will have legs of water as they begin to realize the unbreakable will of God is to bring them continual horror in hell, just as it was promised to them on earth. Like occultists, they thought that godly threat, and even His existence, was just a joke, so they lived without God. Now, He is before them, and their lives are shown to be worthless, deserving only of death. But, it is then too late, for their fate is sealed, just as it was in eternity.

Verses 7-9

  1. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.

  2. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.

  3. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.

Fearing beyond measure, the assembled wise men again told the king that unless he told them the dream they could not tell him the interpretation. Of course, this was true in normal circumstances. Imagine going to a doctor and asking him for a cure. He asks what the health problem is, but you tell him you cannot say. He will not ask you to stay in his surgery, but will tell you to leave and stop wasting his time! Nebuchadnezzar wanted an answer to what seemed to be an insoluble problem!

The king saw the questions as a way of the wise men gaining some time, and warned that there could be only one penalty for refusing to answer his questions. He added that if they could not reply, it proved only that they lied and cheated to gain his favour. This was certainly true, for occultism is a lie of Satan. Therefore, said the king, if they could tell him what his dream was, he would know for certain that they would tell him the interpretation.

I remember several occasions when this kind of thing happened to me. One I have related before – when I knew I had to counsel a mother about her home situation. I went upstairs to my bedroom and asked God to give me the words necessary. Then I immediately went back down again and, before I could begin to talk, God filled my mouth with the answers. I could only speak them, though I had no clue in advance what I was saying. In the answer was a description of her problem, what would happen when she went back home, and what the result would be.

All came about in detail that afternoon, and the woman marvelled at what God said. But, most people pretend to speak from God. They garble with fake ‘tongues’ (all so-called ‘heavenly’ tongues are fake), or they give false divine prophecies, or false ‘interpretations’. God will reward them, but with judgment and not as they would wish!

‘True’ charismatic and other fakes will one day know God’s wrath because of their lies and deception. It will not matter if they lied with conviction or if they were lying deliberately. It is all the same to God, Who will punish surely.

Verses 10-13

  1. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

  2. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

  3. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

  4. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

The Chaldeans knew they were in deep trouble and this is why they dared to challenge the king – something they would normally be too afraid to do. ‘No-one on earth can answer your question!’ they replied. ’No king or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer or Chaldean! Only the gods themselves can give such answers!’

Nebuchadnezzar was furious for two reasons: though he was a pagan, he was given insight, that if these people claimed to be all-powerful occultists, they would be able to give the answers he wanted, so a refusal meant they were fakes. But, also, they dared to speak out and challenge him – something not done by anyone in their right mind. So, he commanded the destruction of “all the wise men of Babylon”… and these included Daniel and his three friends, who were not present before the king. The order was put into effect immediately, and soldiers went out to put all the wise men to death, together with Daniel and friends.

The occult friends of pagan rulers are in a precarious position before both ruler and God. Before rulers they are friends only when they are useful, then they are cast aside. Before God, they are condemned to hell for their occult beliefs and practices. Today, the ‘black arts’ proliferate unchecked and unchallenged and join with pagan and wicked practices of rulers and followers, to destroy society and godly beliefs. It is why we are seeing frightening violence, murders, sexual evils, rebellion of youth, political filth and lies, and so on. These are the natural results of sin.

Verses 14-18

  1. Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:

  2. He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

  3. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.

  4. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

  5. That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

It would be easy to assume that Daniel’s reaction to the news of the king’s wrath was just one of panic, where he attempted to save his life. However, this is not what scripture says. Rather, when the captain of the guard, Arioch, knocked on his door, Daniel responded “with counsel and wisdom”, because this was his usual attitude.

Evidently, Arioch (‘Aryowk, ‘lion like’), though now an executioner, was disposed towards Daniel, as were others in high command. He listened to what Daniel had to say. These texts are given in Aramaic but the meanings are plain. ‘Counsel’, ‘eta’, means that Daniel was prudent; ‘wisdom’, t@’em, means his judgment was excellent and full of discretion. Only those who live a life of holiness can show these attributes.

Daniel, a very young man, asked Arioch why the king had made such a sudden judgment, and to his credit (or was it God’s influence?), Arioch described events at the palace. Daniel immediately went to the palace and asked the king for time to prepare an answer. This meant that God stayed the hand of Arioch, and that He also prepared Daniel and the king for what came next. Few today understand what this means or how it comes about, because few Christians trust God to that extent, if at all!

Obviously, the king agreed to Daniel’s request and allowed him to leave the palace unmolested. Daniel could easily have tried to escape from Babylon, but he did not. I suggest this is because he knew God would save him by giving him the dreams and their meanings. For the modern believer this is far more significant than it at first seems.

It means that Daniel was already in a holy position before God; his spirit was living in God’s glory. It means that God prompted him to seek a stay of execution; it means that Daniel had complete trust that though he did not yet have the answers, God would give them quickly. It also means that such trust was rewarded by God with a perfect response that not only saved Daniel’s life, but also glorified God. Little of this is known to today’s believers, whose faith is at such a low ebb!

What we see in these amazing events is that when we have faith of such calibre, it overcomes any fear. It shows that if we call on God He will respond… but the call must be made in trust, not out of panic, though a sense of fear may exist. Can you see how important this is? It means we can, at certain times of fear or anxiety, call upon God to provide an answer… and He will give it! This ties-in perfectly with Matthew’s text, that if we obey God and live in Him, He will give us whatever we ask for.

What if He does not answer when we ask? It can only be that the time is not right; that God may be testing us; that we did not ask with faith; that we did not expect an answer. It has to be one of these! Each answer carries with it a dynamic truth. Many Christians say they have faith (because it is expected of them by their peers) in God but negate it by their lack of it! Just as a soldier needs an actual battle to prove his mettle and courage, so a Christian must be tested against circumstances to prove his faith! Otherwise, anyone can claim to have faith and will not need to prove it to themselves, to God, or to anyone else.

With Daniel, he was living an holy life and already trusted God, so when the time of testing came, he was ready and knew, without doubt, that God would save him and his friends, even before he had any answers. Can modern Christians say that kind of thing? I do not think so. Yet, they are able to do so, if they live in trust and obedience, because God gives them what is necessary. That most ignore it, is their own fault.

When the king allowed him to leave, Daniel quickly went to his house, where he spoke to his three friends. He said they must pray to God to seek His mercy, that He would give them a full description of the dreams and their interpretations, so that their lives would be spared. Without doubt, God tells us that if we ask in true faith we will receive. And that is what Daniel did.

Verses 19-24

  1. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

  2. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

  3. And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

  4. He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.

  5. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter.

  6. Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation.

That same night, God gave Daniel the answers he needed, in a ‘night vision’. A vision from God may be at night or in broad daylight; they are real in every sense and are direct communications from God, usually as instructions. A vision is given when the person is awake. A dream comes when he is asleep.

When they occur they are unmistakable, because they are striking and a burden on the soul. Daniel had a definite vision from God and responded to it verbally. Note that though the request for answers was made on behalf of all four friends, God spoke to Daniel. Thus, only one person may be given a vision by God, with the idea of passing it on to others. When a vision is given by God it will have the desired effect on those it is meant for, and will be dynamic, unlike the pretend-visions of charismatics and others.

(Note that visions can be given by demons, or through use of drugs, or by brain malfunction, and so on. Visions given by demons can come about as ‘true’, because they can manipulate circumstances and events to make them come true, but only after they give the vision. With God, He gives a vision that is based on both His foreknowledge and predestination, so He does not manipulate circumstances and events to be ‘self-fulfilling’).

Daniel thanked God and praised Him, blessing the Lord for all that He is and represents, saying that all wisdom and power belong to Him. Thus, Daniel firmly shows that it is God Who has divine power and is the source of all gifts, and NOT men.

Daniel further blessed Him saying that only God has power over seasons and times, elects and rejects kings, gives wisdom and knowledge to those He wishes to have them. Today, almost all world leaders are horrendous parodies of the ‘real thing’, because they reject God and have unfettered power over their subjects. Yet, strangely, few Christians pray for their removal, because they have no real connection to God. They are their own experts! But, like Daniel, if we ask the right thing God will answer. We have the leaders we deserve, because we have neglected the Lord. God help us all to repent and reform! And may He remove the wicked from office.

God also reveals things that are unknown. We might have no idea what something is, or what is to come, so we fret and worry. The real answer is to stay still and listen, no matter how long it takes for the answer to come. How many do that? Not many, for we are restless souls who want instant answers. We fail to recognize the divine when we rush headlong demanding this or that answer in our own time.

When I travel I love every moment and savour even the journey between home and destination. Some, in their haste and lack of appreciation, prefer to rush as fast as possible to their destination. For myself, I loathe motorways and try not to use them preferring smaller roads, which have less stress and strain, and which I savour as I travel more slowly and enjoy the sights. If I can I meander! When doing so I often discover new delights and hidden gems. Do not rush headlong in an effort to force God to answer immediately! He will answer in His good time. The period between asking and receiving is as important as the final answer, in which you learn a great deal.

God knows what is unrevealed (in darkness) because the “light dwelleth in him”. That is, He is Light, and He sees everything. The ‘light’ in this text can equate to predestination, which is the expression of His eternal will. Daniel praised God for all His attributes, as God of his ancestors, for giving him the answers he sought to give to the king. You might say that if God can answer in any time span He wishes why did He reply so quickly? In this text the answer is obvious – if Daniel did not have the answer, the king would have killed him next day! (Yes, God could have changed the king’s mind, but this was not part of His plan, as the text confirms).

Next morning Daniel went with great confidence to meet Arioch the executioner, and asked him not to destroy the wise men, but to take him to see the king, so that he could tell him everything he needed to know.

As believers we usually live in religious non-belief! We are supposed to speak with God daily, taking everything to Him. When we do, we live dynamically in Him and His will becomes ours, as He reveals what is necessary in our life. We do not become Him but we start to live like people who know God! And when we do that, He gives us everything we need, and more. It is this dynamic living that brings us answers to secrets, and wonderful responses from God to our needs. Daniel simply told God what was needed and, importantly, expected Him to answer because he had absolute faith in Him. Then, God answered. So simple, yet rejected by most feeble Christians today.

When we rush ahead of God, demanding instant answers when the time is not right, we miss what He has to say. We become so worried we ignore the obvious and refuse to sit quietly to wait until He speaks. Very often God is the ‘still, small voice’, so easily missed if we are filled with anxiety! I urge you to sit still and just accept the silence until God speaks. In that silence you will learn much about yourself and your real inward, spiritual desires and life. In many ways this silent period may be the real answer to your pleas, so no expected ‘final’ answer will come.

By rushing headlong looking for a ‘final’ or single answer, we just miss the real answers altogether, because all the thoughts in between, from God, are ignored in our anxiety. It is usual for God to build us up rather than suddenly thrust a whole instant-answer into our lives. This is because instant answers relieve us of our own part and need to gain in spiritual strength. Slow down and listen to God in the silence. The answers you seek may very well be in that silence, when your spirit is taught many lessons.

As Dr Lloyd-Jones said in his book on ‘Spiritual Depression’ - “We must talk to ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to talk to us”: Continual introspection is a deadly and fruitless occupation! Admonish yourself when it arises, and remind yourself of God’s goodness and mercy until your inner-self stops plaguing you!

Verses 25-30

  1. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

  2. The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

  3. Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;

  4. But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

  5. As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.

  6. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

When Arioch was told by Daniel that he had the information required by Nebuchadnezzar, he rushed to the king with the news. The text suggests to us that though Daniel and his friends were courtiers, the king was not on close terms. To him, they were merely adornments for his palace and general court life. This is why Arioch referred to Daniel as “a man of the captives of Judah”.

The king asked Daniel if he had the answers he sought… both dream and interpretation. Boldly (because God had spoken to him), Daniel confirmed that he could answer. He reminded the king that none of his occult advisers were able to give him any answers. But, he said, “there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets”! ‘God’ in this text is the Aramaic form, ‘elahh. It can mean either any god or the God of Israel. Of course, Daniel was speaking of Jehovah. This God, said Daniel, will tell Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in “the latter days”. The word ‘latter’ is ‘achariyth, meaning the end, or latter/later. More accurately it speaks of the root, ‘achar, which means ‘after’, or hereafter, or afterwards. That is, there is no specific time-frame, nor does it particularly refer to many years hence. It simply means ‘afterwards’ or ‘after I tell you this’.

Daniel then said that he would give him the dream and what it meant, so that the king would know God was supreme… the information did not arise from his own human mind, which, he humbly said, was no more than anyone else could have. He would now speak to save their lives.

Verses 31-36

  1. Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

  2. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

  3. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

  4. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

  5. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

  6. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Daniel now gives the information… without hesitation, he gave precise details of the dream. ‘You saw a “great image” (if you wish to check wording, remember that this chapter uses Aramaic). By this is meant a tselem, or idol. That is, a large statue, very bright to look at and ‘terrible’ – dĕchal, causing him fear. Then, Daniel gave the interpretation, shown below. Note that he did not define who or what these kingdoms were, probably because they were not relevant to the king after his death!

Verses 37-45

  1. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

  2. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

  3. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

  4. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

  5. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

  6. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

  7. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

  8. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

  9. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

To more clearly define what was said, I have placed the elements of the dream and the interpretation in the following boxes.

Element

Interpretation

V32 A Head of fine gold

Symbolises Nebuchadnezzar and following Babylonian/Chaldean monarchies. (1st kingdom)

V32 Breast and arms of silver

The kingdom that would arise after the demise of the Babylonian monarchies. Silver denotes that it would be inferior (Second kingdom)

V32 Belly and thighs of brass

The next ‘global’ kingdom after that would rule a vast area (Third kingdom)

V33 Legs of iron. Feet and toes of clay mixed with iron

The next kingdom would be strong and cruel and would become divided and partly broken, through intermarriage, making it weaker

V34 A large stone would break the feet and then (v35) the rest of the image.

V35 The stone would become a mountain that fills the earth

“in the days of these kings” the kingdom symbolized by the stone would crush all other kingdoms and remain forever

And so Daniel gave both the dream and the meaning to the king. Many amateur sleuths have attempted to give their own versions of the meanings. In Biblical terms, only what God says or allows in His word can be given as meanings. And, if such meanings humans give seem reasonable, if they do not have scriptural support, they must stay as human musings, not equal to scripture.

Note how each successive monarchy would be worse than the one preceding. The rule of the Romans is the one referred to as “in the days of these kings”. This is when Christ ushered in the kingdom of God.

Verses 46-49

  1. Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.

  2. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

  3. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

  4. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

Nebuchadnezzar was astounded. In all his years as king he had never received such profound answers to his queries from his occultists! He was so moved with astonishment he laid himself prostrate before Daniel and praised him. He called upon his servants to offer up an “oblation and sweet odours” to Daniel. An oblation in this text is a minchah, or meal offering, because Daniel represented God. Sweet odours are, of course, incense. At least for now, the king acknowledged the God of Daniel as supreme, and Daniel as his spokesman. What Daniel did was not based on things already known, but were prophecies of the future. Thus, Daniel could not possibly have known them humanly speaking.

“Truly,’ said the king to Daniel, ‘Your God is the supreme God! He is Lord of all kings, and can tell all secrets, as He did through you.’ The king then “made Daniel a great man”, making him ruler over all of Babylon province, not just the city; he was also made chief of all the wise men. However, Daniel wanted his friends to share his new status, so he persuaded the king to appoint them as rulers over the province, while he “sat in the gate of the king” – that is, stood-in for the king in matters of judgment and representation… a position of great power.

Notes on the Interpretation

There was only one statue. Therefore, it represented one major movement or ‘spirit’ behind the various kingdoms. This was a spirit of unbelief and growing ungodliness, as we are seeing today and in history.

The kingdoms need not be Chaldean or Babylonian. They were, rather, different ruling nations at later times.

At the time of speaking, the rule was in Babylon, a Chaldean dynasty.

Daniel acknowledged that at that time Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty king.

Those who continued the Babylonian monarchy for a short while are also included as the ‘golden head’. Then came another rule, deposing that of Babylon.

The next kingdom came with Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian, as the Babylonian state was swallowed by this next great kingdom. Though great, Persian rule was inferior in terms of both rule and money. Hence it is referred to as ‘silver’ and not gold.

Next came the Greek empire, or the ‘third kingdom’, first made great by Alexander and again inferior to both the Babylonian and the Persian empires in terms of both finances, character and spread. Thus, the reference to ‘brass’.

The legs of iron and clay refer to the Roman rule. It was certainly very strong and brutal, but it became weak through numerous conspiracies, internal warring and many convenient marriages with foreigners, diluting the Roman line.

The large stone? This is obviously the rule of Christ, because it is said to be eternal, crushing all earthly kingdoms.

We can see that the kingdoms shown are logical and straightforward descriptions of what actually happened in history, with no need for embellishments or speculation. The language used and structure of the texts obviously show that the monarchies would arise in ordinary succession, and need not refer to the far future. Indeed, if we take the various kingdoms in logical order, they spanned a period of just 600 years before Christ came.

We know the kingdoms mentioned are not far-future. For example, in the “days of these kings” – the Romans – “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom”. This can only refer to the coming of Christ, because this was when the kingdom of heaven was first preached. It is the heavenly rule, as the words “which shall never be destroyed” tells us.

A further confirmation that this is the heavenly kingdom is found in the fact that it will “not be left to other people… it shall stand forever”.

The “stone was cut out of the mountain without hands” is an allusion to the divinity of Christ, Who is the Rock. He will shatter all kingdoms and human arrogance when He returns. This actually began when Christ rose again. The final crushing of human agencies will occur at the end of time, but it seems the last prophecy concerning the large stone takes us up to the time of Christ.

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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