This study of Daniel Ch2 was given by pastor Barry Forder on 2nd May 2021 at Calvary Chapel Portsmouth.
And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.
The third year of Jehoiakim as we have already seen was 606 B.C. This was the year when Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem, besieged it and eventually took the choice captives back to Babylon including Daniel and his friends. Josephus records that it was while Nebuchadnezzar was in Palastine that he got word that his father, king Nebopolassar, had died. Thus to our way of reckoning, Nebuchadnezzar actually became king in the Autumn of 606 B.C. upon the death of his father. However the Babylonians (unlike the Jews) did not include the ascension year as part of the king’s reign. Thus for the Babylonians, the first year of a kings reign was counted from the first full year that he reigned. This makes 605B.C. king Nebuchadnezzar’s first year and 604 B.C. his second year. Daniel was taken to Babylon (as we have just noted) in 606 B.C. and we know from chapter one that he served a three-year apprenticeship before being presented to the king.
- 606 B.C. – Daniel’s 1st year in training – Neb’s year of ascension
- 605 B.C. – Daniel’s 2nd year in training – Neb’s 1st year as king
- 604 B.C. – Daniel’s Final year in training – Neb’s 2nd year as king
Thus it would appear that it was during Daniel’s final year as a trainee that Nebuchadnezzar had this dream. This explains why Daniel did not present himself before the king when the king called for the ‘wise men of Babylon’. In fact, none of the men that Ashpenaz was training for the king would have been ready at this time, so those that presented themselves before Nebuchadnezzar would no doubt have been the men who had served under Nebopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father; and as becomes clear, Nebuchadnezzar did not trust them!
Nebuchadnezzar ruled his empire and had complete authority; what he said went. There was no government or cabinet that passed laws, it was all down to what king Neb said (this is alluded to in the king’s dream itself). No succeeding ruler had this power as will be seen in chapter 6 when king Darius signed a decree, he was bound by the ‘law of the Meads and Persians’ (Dan 6:16), although he was the king, he was himself bound by the law. Not so with king Nebuchadnezzar. Therefore we have here a man who need not worry about anything; he had all the wealth he could imagine, he had a powerful and mighty army, the kings harem, drink and food to satisfy his every desire, and he was in the prime of his life. Yet we read that this dream troubled him so much that he was unable to sleep. Nebuchadnezzar was a man that had the power to solve any problem, until now.
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.
The king is so disturbed that he calls for his royal advisors, he is evidently not bothered about how this will make him look, he just needs to know what this dream meant. Some of us have dreams – in fact I have heard it said that we all have dreams, it’s just that not all of us remember them! Many dreams are an amalgamation of thoughts and images that we have seen that day, or in recent days. Some dreams are simply because we had too much pepperoni on the pizza before we went to bed last night. But without doubt God uses dreams to communicate. As well as in the book of Daniel, there are many dreams recorded in the Bible such as those connected to Joseph in the book of Genesis (Josephs own dreams, the butler and baker in prison, Pharaoh’s dream). In Job we read:
“For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;” (Job 33:14-15)
In the book of Acts, Peter quoted from the prophet Joel who said: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17)
The magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were supposed to be experts in interpreting dreams. Archaeologists have unearthed books containing formula whereby they would take the key elements of a dream and come up with the interpretation. The magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were not just superstitious nut cases as we may think from our understanding of the terms; these were men of great learning and would have been highly respected. Babylon was famous for its science and discoveries. The division of the elliptic into 360o came from Babylon and was probably done so because of the earth’s orbit, which at that time may well have been 360 days. Thus these characters were no daily newspaper horoscope columnists – yes they dabbled in the occult, but they tried to apply scientific method to their practices.
- The magicians: – sacred scribes, involved in mystic writings and secret writings
- The Astrologers – ‘Enchanters’, involved in séances (talking to the dead – so they thought)
- The Sorcerers – principally involved in using drugs and hallucinogenics; incantations etc.
- The Chaldeans: – the Babylonian ‘star readers’ (astrologers), the Babylonian priests.
And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
So the king explains the predicament.
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.
In the usual (and no doubt wise) way you address the most powerful man in the known world, the Chaldeans get straight in there and ask the king to tell them the dream and they would be only too pleased to give the interpretation – no doubt their formula books at the ready.
In the original manuscripts the writing in this verse changes from Hebrew (which the book has been in up to now), into Aramaic (Syriack). It is significant that Daniel then uses Aramaic all the while he is referring to the Gentiles. Later in the book when the focus comes back to the Jews he will switch back to Hebrew (chapter 7, verse 28). Normally in the Bible we see the world through the lens of Israel, however in Daniel we get a rare glimpse at the world from a purely gentile perspective.
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.
There is some debate as to what Nebuchadnezzar is saying here; he is either saying that he can’t remember the dream, or that the ‘thing’ that has gone [forth] from him is the command to interpret the dream; it would seem more likely that it is the latter. J Vernon McGee states: This would be a rather extreme judgment, but you can see what the king wants. Frankly, a faulty translation of this verse gives the impression that the king had forgotten his dream. He hadn’t forgotten his dream. He knows the dream, senses its importance, and refuses to divulge it to the wise men. Why? He wants to get a correct interpretation of it. In the margin, the American Standard Version of 1901 translates “The thing is gone from me” as, “The word is gone forth from me.” In other words, Nebuchadnezzar is saying to these men, “I will not change my mind about this judgment I am pronouncing. Don’t beg me to tell you the dream—I’m not going to do it. You are going to come up with the dream if I am to listen to your interpretation of it.” The Berkeley Version has a helpful translation at this point also: “The king answered the Chaldeans, ‘This word I speak, I mean! If you do not tell me the dream and what it means, you shall be torn limb from limb and your houses will be destroyed.’” That translation really tones it down, but nevertheless the penalty is still excessive and extreme. Nebuchadnezzar is putting fear in these men. They have to come up with the interpretation of the dream, but they first of all have to give what the dream is.
Either way, the wise men are in no doubt as to what is being asked of them.
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.
Just in case being cut to pieces and having your house made into a dunghill was not a big enough incentive, the king offers a reward for whoever can tell him the dream and the interpretation.
They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.
This was a real problem for them. They could given an interpretation for dreams – if they had them! But without a dream to begin with, they were well and truly stuck. This reminds me of the humorous anecdote of the scientists who have become so clever they don’t need God. They explain to God that they can now create life. God asks them if they could do it like He did it – from the dust of the ground. They look at each other and confidently assert that they could even do this, after all, the essential ingredients that we are made of are found in the dust of the earth. God decides to take them up on this challenge, so says ‘Go ahead then. Create life from the dust of the ground’. So the scientists bend down and pick up a few handfuls of dust to head back to their laboratory. All of a sudden God interrupts them, “Oh no you don’t. Get your own dust!”
Men can seemingly do a lot without God; but when it all comes down to it, we are hopeless and helpless without Him.
The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.
King Nebuchadnezzar sees their problem, and just as he thought, there is a limit to these guys usefulness. The problem he has is, how can he trust their interpretation? And he perceives that they are trying to stall for time.
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.
The king underlines the decree – cut to pieces / dunghill etc – and then tells them that he doesn’t trust them, nor it would seem has he previously as he accuses them of [previously] preparing lying and corrupt words. The king is not going to be fooled this time.
10 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.
11 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.
It is interesting in scripture how often ‘evil’ men speak the truth. Here they are absolutely correct that only ‘the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh’ can do what the king is asking. Caiaphas, the high priest made the following true statement about Jesus that was also prophetic: “Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” (John 11:49-50). Judas said: “I have betrayed the innocent blood.” (Matt 27:4).
Socrates said: ‘It maybe that God can forgive sin, but I don’t see how’. This shows great insight and understanding of the nature of God and the nature of man. God is righteous and holy and therefore cannot just forgive and forget sin. Sin – the inherent nature of man since the fall – has to be paid for, if justice is to be done. God would simply not be just if He ignored sin – this is what Socrates realised. The problem is, how can a finite man pay an infinite price? It cannot be done. But because “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. So God, whose dwelling is not with flesh, became flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14) so that He, being infinite, could pay the infinite price for sin that we owed, thus once and for all satisfying the justice of a holy God.
12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
Even though Daniel and his friends were still trainees, king Nebuchadnezzar was prepared to abandon his training programme as well as getting rid of the old guard. After all, what was the point of wasting the kings money on these ‘wise men’ if none of them could help when he needed it?
14 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:
15 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.
It would appear that Daniel was oblivious to the kings dream up until this point, thus supporting the fact that he was still in training and had not yet graduated – otherwise he also would have been called before the king. Arioch is only too pleased to explain the situation to Daniel, as killing all the wise men of Babylon was probably the last thing he wanted to do.
Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation.
This really is Jewish hutspa! Daniel, only 16 or 17 at this time, not yet ‘qualified’, goes into the king who has just signed a decree to have him executed! But then again, he had nothing to lose. This highlights a problem for so many Christians; we have so much to lose; so much in this world that is important to us, that we don’t want to stick our necks out for the sake of God’s glory. Daniel at this time had nothing, nothing but his relationship with God and that was clearly first in his mind as he went into the king. Daniel saw this as an opportunity to bring glory to his God.
Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:
This is just great! Daniel gets home and says to his friends: “Guess what guys, the king has had a dream. No one could figure it out so he was going to kill all of us…..But I told him that me and my buddies would be able to work it out! How cool is that? You can hear their reply: ‘You did what?!’
Something tells me that Daniel did not need to encourage them too hard to pray that evening!
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’s at times like these that we are so glad that our God is merciful. What did they pray that evening? We can only speculate but possibly Psalms like Psalm 28:1-2 “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.” Or maybe Psalm 31:1-4: “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for an house of defence to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength.”
What a comfort for God’s people that we have the promises in His word, and the testimony of men like David who was outmatched, outnumbered and frequently overwhelmed and yet knew that “….in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock. And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the LORD. Hear, O LORD, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.” (Psalm 27:5-7)
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
All answered prayer is an occasion to bless God; but how much more here when, thanks to Daniel and his big mouth, God’s reputation is on the line! Daniel’s faith is remarkable; did he have any doubt that God would answer them? Not that you would notice.
20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:
21 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:
22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him.
23 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.
Oswald Chambers once said: “If God is the God we know Him to be when we are closest to Him, what an impertinence worry is”. The God that Daniel is thanking here is our God, He is the same yesterday, today and forever. That means that the next time you are in a difficult situation, the God of Daniel is ready to take your call!
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.
Daniel could have used this as an opportunity to get rid of all these other ‘wise men’, yet he says ‘destroy not’. Daniel no doubt saw this as an occasion to witness to them also, showing that, despite their fancy Babylonian names, there is just one God who reigns.
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.
Arioch is typical of your bureaucratic professional type. Notice how he claims all the credit for solving the king’s problems!
26 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?
27 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;
After Arioch’s confident assertions, the king asks Daniel ‘Can you show me the dream and the interpretation?’, in effect Daniel says no way, nor can anyone else! – Arioch’s heart must have skipped a beat! Fortunately, Daniel continued……
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;
Here Daniel gives the king a 7-word summary of the subject of the dream.
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.
Now this is impressive. Daniel actually tells the king what he was thinking about before he went to sleep – it was this that gave rise to the dream. And notice again the scope of the dream: what is going to happen hereafter.
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.
Daniel again makes it clear that it is not because he is more intelligent or better than anyone else that God has revealed the dream to him; but for 1) ‘their sakes that shall make known the interpretation’ i.e. Daniel and his three friends and 2) for the king himself that he would understand.
Here as in verse 49, Daniel includes his three friends in the ‘who deserves credit’ list. Just because Daniel was the one that received the vision does not negate the part that his friends played through their prayers. This should serve to remind us that those who support a ministry are as important as those who head up and are the public face of that ministry – ‘every part doing its share’ (Eph 4:16).
The Dream – Daniel 2:31-35
31 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.
32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
34 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.
35 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.
This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
Notice that Daniel says WE will tell……once again including his three friends.
The Interpretation – Daniel 2:37-38
37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom,
power, and strength, and glory.
38 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.
As we mentioned earlier, no subsequent king had the total power that Nebuchadnezzar had. Other empires may have exceeded Nebuchadnezzar’s in physical size, but not in absolute authority.
And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.
The detail and accuracy of this prophecy is a thorn in the flesh to the critics; for after Babylon (that was full of gold), another kingdom did arise, but not with the absolute power of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. In 539 B.C. Cyrus conquered Babylon (without a battle! – see Chapter 5). Cyrus was part Median and part Persian and so united the two factions into the great Medo-Persian Empire. Silver coinage became the currency of the empire. After the Medo-Persian Empire, history confirms that a third kingdom, wielding brass shields and swords, with stunning speed conquered the Persians and went on to take the known world. It is recorded that the leader of this new empire, at only 30 or so years of age, wept because there were no more lands to be conquered. That leader was Alexander the Great and the Empire was the famous Greek Empire. After Alexander’s death the Greek Empire was divided between his four generals, but it never had the same power as it did under Alexander. Eventually the Greek Empire fell to a fourth empire.
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.
Now we move onto the ‘iron’ nation that breaks into pieces and subdues all things. Even those with a basic grasp of history will be familiar with the empire that succeeded the Greeks. Rome. Whereas the previous empires took the best of the cultures and nations they were conquering, leaving much intact, Rome did not. The Roman Empire seemed to thrive on what it could destroy. It really did break into pieces and subdue all things
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.
Unlike the previous empires, Rome was never defeated. It divided into the eastern and western ‘legs’ (with the eastern leg outlasting the western by almost a 1000 years). Since its demise, almost all of the parts that made up the old empire have had their day at ruling. The Ottoman Turks, the French of Napoleon, The Germans, the Dutch, the Spanish and of course, the British Empire. Even America (USA) was founded by people from the old Roman Empire. So as we come to this verse we are told of a phase of the Roman Empire of which history knows nothing; therefore it is reasonable to conclude that it is yet to come, something that is confirmed in subsequent verses and chapters of this book. We are told this final phase of the Roman Empire will consist of feet and toes, partly potters clay and partly iron – not a good mixture for these two will not stick together, and indeed we are told that this kingdom will be divided, yet there will be the strength of iron in it.
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.
This verse hints at the strong part of this kingdom ruling over the ‘partly broken’.
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.
It is easy to just read over this verse and continue with the interpretation; however, if we read carefully there is a strange remark. We are told that, just as iron was mixed with miry clay in the vision, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men. Who are the ‘they’? From the context, and the fact that they mix themselves with the seed of men, would seem to exclude them from being the seed of men themselves. Chuck Missler (among others) see this as an allusion to the Nephilim (offspring of fallen angels). The first mention of these beings is in Genesis 6, the flood came to wipe them out, but we read that more came after the flood (Gen 6:4) only to be finished off by Joshua and then finally by David (remember Goliath & his brothers?). However Jesus said: “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26) Could it be that the Nephilim are set to make a return as part of a major end times delusion? (For more on this subject see ‘Alien Encounters’ by Dr Chuck Missler & Dr Mark Eastman).
Another thought is that this could be alluding to clones. Are clones human? Would they have souls? We are certainly living in interesting times!
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.
This verse confirms that the final phase of the Roman Empire is yet future, for ‘in the days of these kings….”. The simple fact that these kings have not yet reigned – and from the context it is clear that they must reign simultaneously – nor have they been destroyed, nor has the God of heaven set up a world government (which is the whole subject of the dream), shows without any doubt that this is yet to be fulfilled. But when it is fulfilled it will be the end of mans rule and the beginning of God’s eternal kingdom that will stand forever.
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.
There are those who would try to suggest that all prophecy has been fulfilled, and that Christ’s kingdom was established at His first coming in and through the church. Furthermore it is proposed that the church is now to fill the earth and subdue it in the name of Christ. Although not so prevalent in the UK, names such as ‘Kingdom Now’ and ‘Dominion Theology’ are well known in America of groups that support this idea. However have seen The Emerging Church, Mission Shaped Church, Messy Church and many others that have taken hold in this country. One of the underlying themes of these initiatives is a non-literal interpretation of scripture, particularly in regard to prophecy. The emphasis is on getting people into the church (nothing wrong with that on the surface) but at the expense of watering down the word of God so as not to be ‘offensive’ (and there we have the real problem – to present a sinner with a gospel that says he is a sinner on his way to hell unless he repents and puts his trust in Jesus, is always going to be offensive until such a person is brought under conviction by the law – see Psalm 19:7 / Rom 7:7 / Gal 3:24). By watering down the gospel message and not presenting the law, the modern church becomes nothing more than a caring social club; but without the solid foundation of God’s word they will yield to popular opinion and political pressure every time.
All of this goes hand in hand with a belief known as ‘Preterism’ which, in its extreme form holds that all prophecies have been fulfilled (by 70AD) and that Jesus is not really coming back physically but is now reigning in the hearts of Christians.
As even a casual reading of this chapter (and these last few verses in particular) will show, this simply cannot be, because the church is not a political kingdom, whereas the kingdom that God establishes here is a political rule on the earth that puts an end to mans government once and for all. The fact that the church exists alongside political ‘kingdoms’ in the world today shows that the church is not the stone cut without hands, for once that stone smites the feet of the image, it all comes crumbling down and there will be no more opposition. The fact that the church has opposition in this order of things shows that it cannot be the kingdom that Daniel sees in his vision. It is also clear that the stone that is cut from the mountain, is done so without hands, i.e. supernaturally. It is not mans effort that will accomplish this but God’s sovereign power through the One who throughout scripture is described as the Rock/Stone – Jesus Christ our Rock! (See 1 Cor 10:4 / Deut 32:4 / 2 Sam 22:2 / Ps 18:31 / Is 51:1 / Matt 16:18 / Acts 4:11 / Matt 21:42-44 / 1 Peter 2:8)
All of this is in agreement with the countless passages that talk of a time of political rule on the earth by the Lord himself. For example, Isaiah writes: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’S house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” (Isaiah 2:1-4)
“And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (Luke 1:31-33)
See also Psalm 2 – Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron – this hasn’t happened yet!
Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.
Nebuchadnezzar makes the classic mistake of worshiping the instrument and not the source. Daniel had already laboured the point that it was not because of any ability he possessed, but rather it was because of the God of heaven that he was able to interpret the king’s dream.
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.
He didn’t get it! The dream wasn’t to show Nebuchadnezzar that God can reveal and interpret dreams, but to show him that it is God who rules in the kingdoms of men. It is He who puts one down and raises another up, “he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Dan 2:21). As Jesus said to Pilate: “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11).
Nebuchadnezzar will get another warning that it is God and not him that is running the show, but as we will see in chapter 5, he once again misses the point and is humbled before God and man in dramatic fashion!
48 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.
49 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.
So Daniel is promoted and ensures that his friends are too. As a result of these four Jewish young men the wise men of Babylon were spared from being cut in pieces and their houses being made a dunghill, were they grateful? Sadly the answer is no. In fact as we move into chapter three we will find these wise men conspiring against Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and trying to get them killed. Their principle motivation was no doubt jealousy, after all they represented the greatest minds in the kingdom but had been made to look foolish by four teenage Hebrew slaves. However, before we are too hard on the Chaldeans and their associates, we should remember that in like manor we rejected the one who had given up His home to come to a foreign land to save us. He crossed a gulf that no one among the sons of men could cross; only one whose dwelling is ‘with the gods’ would be able, and so He humbled Himself and became a man, and then purposed in his heart to do the will of His Father in Heaven, to the extent that He became obedient to the death of the cross, that you and I may go free. He is the Rock that was smitten the first time (Ex 17:6), but will come again to establish His kingdom, a kingdom that will fill the whole earth, a kingdom that will be an eternal kingdom. The kingdom, the power & the glory be His, now & forever, Amen.
May you be blessed and encouraged by this study.