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ch. 2:24-49

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ch. 2:1-23   ch. 2:24-49

Nebuchadnezzarís Dream  (ch. 2:1-23)

 

 

Verses 1 to 3 tell us that in King Nebuchadnezzarís second year of being king he had a very troubling dream.  It was so troubling that he could not get back to sleep.  So, in the morning he called in his enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers, to tell him the meaning of the dream.  These were the wise men of the kingdom of Babylon.  All of these three groups of men would be classified as spiritualists, or demonic in Christian terms. 

 

We should note that these wise men and magicians were castrated.  This was simply done to make sure these men were completely dedicated to the king.  This chapter implies that Daniel was one of these wise men.  That would mean that Daniel would have been castrated as well.  

 

In verse 4 we see that the astrologers answered the king "in Aramaic".  Aramaic dates back to at least 2000 B. C. and was the language of commerce during Danielís time and for many centuries before and after.   You will note that in the New Testament that often Jesus spoke in Aramaic.  One example is, "Why have you forsaken me", found in Mark 15:34.  Jesus might well have spoken these words in Aramaic to make sure everyone understood what He has just said.  Of course, I can't say this for sure.  It's simple speculation on my part. 

 

We note that from this verse on, until the end of chapter seven, that Daniel actually wrote in Aramaic, while the rest of his book was written in Hebrew.  Some find significance in this in that much of what is written in chapters two through seven concerns the Gentile world, thus the Gentile language.

 

Also in verse 4 we see that the astrologers wanted to know what the dream was so they could interpret it.  Itís a lot easier to tell the king what the dream meant if they knew the dream.  The king wasnít in agreement.  He clearly needed to see the supernatural in the interpretation.  It's too easy to make up an interpretation if you know the dream.  

 

In verses 5 through 7 we have the kingís response to the astrologers.  He did not want to tell them the dream.  He wanted them supernaturally to tell him what he dreamed as well as tell him what the dream meant.  If they could not do this, heíd have them executed by cutting them into pieces and their homes turned into a pile of rubble.  On the other hand, if they could tell the king the dream and what it meant, theyíd be greatly rewarded. These men were really on the spot.  They must have been very nervous, knowing that their lives were in the balance.   

 

You can see the type of man Nebuchadnezzar was.  He did not mind killing people if they could not serve him in the way he wanted.  He, and other kings of his day, viewed themselves as gods, thus the reason for much of their behaviour. 

 

In verses 7 through 9 the dialogue between the king and the astronomers continue.  They request once again that the king tell them the dream.  The king is firm in his answer and he feels that they are only buying time to try to conspire among themselves what to do about the situation.  Thus, the king thinks they canít come up with the right answer and most likely they would attempt to trick him in some manor.

 

In verses 10 and 11 the astrologers tell the king that his request is unreasonable and that no king in history has ever asked the wise men to interpret a dream without telling them what the dream was.  Nebuchadnezzar felt that if he told them the dream, then how would he know for sure their interpretation was right.  That only made sense to him.  If they could miraculously tell him what his dream was, then heíd know for sure that their interpretation was right.

 

The astrologers told the king that no man could fulfill this request.  Only the gods could do such a thing, "and they donít live among man".  The idea that the gods donít live among men is the basic premise of any pagan religion.  Christian thinking is quite different in that we believe God wanted to unite Himself with man so He became a man.  He also sent His Holy Spirit to live within men.  This is the main difference between Christianity and every other world religion.

 

In verses 12 and 13 we learn that what the astrologers said made the king very angry so he sent out a decree to kill every wise man in Babylon , which would include Daniel and his friends. Once again, you can see the intensity of Nebuchadnezzar.  This was just another occasion for these four Israeli men to trust their God.

 

In verses 14 through 16 we note that the kingís officials came to Daniel to kill him and Daniel wondered why the king has issued such a harsh decree.  Daniel obviously was not present with the other wise men of Babylon when the king spoke to them or else he would have known why the king issued this harsh decree.  So, Daniel went in to see the king.  This is interesting in the sense that Daniel had what we would call a high level security position.   He had the privilege to visit the king at any time.  This was not normally the case with kings back then.  You only visited the king when the king requested you to visit him.

 

In verses 17 to 20 we see that Daniel left the presence of the king and went straight home, found his three Hebrew friends, and they had an all night prayer meeting.  They pleaded with God for the answer to the kingís request so they and the other wise men of Babylon would be saved.  We note that Daniel had the Gentile wise men on his heart as well as his own life and the life of his three Hebrew friends.  This might tell you something about Daniel.  He was probably a very caring person, along with being wise.  Even though these other wise men were pagan men, Daniel cared from them as the true man of God he was.  We should have the same spirit as Daniel.  As the old saying goes, "we hate the sin but we love the sinner".  This was true in the life of Daniel.

 

In the middle of the night God spoke to Daniel in a vision and told him what Nebuchadnezzarís dream was and what it meant.  He was so happy that he praised God.  I'd be happy too, and so would you.  Daniel's life was just spared by the hand of God.

 

What Daniel says in his praise gives us insight to what he believed.  I take what Daniel says here in praise as being prophetic in nature.  Daniel exclaimed that his God lived for ever and ever.  There was no beginning or end with his God.  He was nothing like the pagan gods.

 

In verse 21 Daniel says that "God changes times and seasons". This is an illusion to what the dream is all about, which is the change of times and seasons in world kingdoms.  When it comes to God changing season, this might well be the answer to what we call "climate change".   Climate change is more about God's hand in the affairs of this world than it is about man's messing up our ecology. 

 

We see God works among nations in Daniel's next statement.  He says that God sets up kings and deposes them.  If God set up and deposed kings in Old Testament times there is no reason why He doesn't do the same today.  I sure He does.  Iím not saying that God has a hand in the election of every civic official, but it is quite possible.  Maybe He does and maybe He doesnít.  The fact still remains, that God is able to set up those He wants and take away those He wants from any nationís leadership.

 

Daniel goes on to say that "God gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning". When speaking of the wise and discerning, to me this suggests that anyone who wants to be wise and discerning and applies himself towards these things, God will supernaturally give him wisdom and knowledge.  We see this with the gifts of the Spirit in the New Testament.  See 1 Corinthians 12.

 

In verse 22 Daniel says that God "reveals deep and hidden things and He knows what lies in the darkness".  God would reveal the deep and hidden things of the future to Daniel, some of which was dark and some of which was light.  Darkness represents sin while light represents the nature and glory of God.  Daniel says that "light dwells with God".  In fact we know that God Himself is light.

 

I believe that God can still reveal such things today to holy men and women of God.  I say "holy" because many claim to have special secret information from God but their lives aren't so holy.  You can't trust people like this.  They're false prophets.  What God chooses to reveal to holy men and women today does not contradict what is clearly taught in the Bible.  It doesn't add to the prophetic Biblical message and it doesn't take from it.  Again, if a modern so-called adds or takes away from Biblical prophecy, you can know that he or she is a false prophet or prophetess.   

 

This section ends by Daniel thanking God that He has made known Nebuchadnezzarís dream and what it means to them.  This was clearly a great relief to Daniel and his three Hebrew friends.

 

 

 

Daniel Interprets The Dream (ch. 2:24-49)

 

In verse 24 we see Danielís concern about the wise men of Babylon.  He had Arioch, the man who was about to kill the wise men take him to speak to the king.  Arioch tells Nebuchadnezzar that he has found someone among the men from Judah who can interpret the dream.

 

In verse 26 we see Danielís Babylonian name is "Belteshazzar".  This name means "Baal protects the king".  Protecting the king was part of Danielís job.  As earlier stated, the name "Daniel" means "God is judge", or "God judges".  The meanings to these two names are interesting.  Daniel, which means "God (that's Yahweh the Hebrew God) judges" shows Nebuchadnezzar that his dream is all about God judging the nations.  Daniel, the kingís protector protects the king in showing his future, but the king's future is not revealed from the gods, but from "the God".  How ironic.

 

From verses 26 to 29 we see the king ask Daniel if he can in fact interpret the dream.  Daniel replies by telling him that no wise man in Babylon can fulfill the kingís request.  He's probably saying this to protect the Babylonian wise men who said the same.  He didn't want them executed.  The only one who can interpret this dream is the "God in heaven" and this God has revealed both the dream and the interpretation to Daniel.  Daniel thus associates himself more with the God in heaven than he does with the wise men of Babylon and there gods. 

 

In verse 29 Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that the "revealer of mysteries" had told him what would come to pass in the future.  Of course, this "revealer of mysteries" is the God of heaven; Yahweh Himself.  When using the term "God of heaven" you could interpret it two ways.  One was is that God is God of heaven, that is, heaven being where God lives.  The other way would be that God is the God of the whole universe, that is, the heavens.  Heaven is used three different ways in Scripture.  It's used to mean the blue sky above, the universe, and where God lives.    

 

Daniel understands that His God reveals mysteries.  God who is all knowing wants to reveal to us what we donít know.  If we are walking properly in the presence of the Lord, and if He so chooses, He can also reveal mysteries to us.  Again, not all so-called mysteries that we claim are revealed from God are from God.   Some, if not much of what we claim as revelation may simply be the imaginations of our own minds.  Laying that aside, we should know that God can reveal whatever He wants to us.  This is part of the mark of New Testament Christians and a fulfillment of prophecy.  Peter, on the Day of Pentecost quotes the prophet Joel and says that the young men will see visions and the old men dream dreams. (Acts 2:17)  We cannot discount such things as many non-Pentecostal Evangelicals do.  On the other hand, we must be aware of false prophets and false prophecies.

 

Verse 30 shows us the humble man that Daniel is.  He tells the king that itís not because he is wise that he knows the dream and its meaning.  Itís because God wants the king to know certain things that are to come.  Daniel is simple the spokesman for God.  My guess is that God wanted more than the king to know these things.  He wanted us to know them as well.  God knew only to well that these things would be recorded for others to read and understand throughout history.  I'm sure that was His choice.

 

In verses 31 to 35 Daniel tells the king what he saw in the dream.  Nebuchadnezzar saw a great statue.  The statueís head was made of pure gold, his chest and arms of silver, his belly and thighs of bronze, his legs of iron, and his feet were made of part iron and part baked clay.

 

In the dream the king saw a large rock that struck the feet of this statue.  It caused the feet to brake and the whole statue to crumble to the ground and blow away in the wind.  Then the rock grew and became a huge mountain that filled the whole earth. 

 

In verses 36 and following Daniel tells the king what this dream means.  Daniel says that Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold.  He is the king of kings, the most important king on the earth, with more power than any other king ever and maybe to come after him. 

 

In verse 39 we see that another kingdom will replace the Babylonian kingdom which will be inferior to Babylon.  This is represented by the chest of silver. Then another kingdom will replace the silver kingdom.  This is symbolized by the bronze belly. 

 

The next kingdom is the iron kingdom that crushes everything in its sight because iron is strong.  Yet from this iron kingdom comes the feet of iron and clay.  The feet are part of the iron kingdom that is symbolized by the iron legs. The mixture of the iron and clay in the feet symbolizes both the strength and weakness in the kingdom.  Clay is not strong.  Because of this weakness this kingdom will be divided and eventually crumble.

 

In verse 44 we note that in the days of the kings of the feet and toes, the God of heaven will set up his own kingdom that no other kingdom will be able to overthrow.  This is symbolized by the rock that smites the feet of this statue. 

 

Daniel says that the rock that smites the feet was not made by human hands but came out of a mountain.  Not being made of human hands speaks to the God of heaven who formed the rock. 

 

We should also note that this rock, though it only struck the feet of the statue caused the whole statue to crumble, and Daniel specifically mentions the gold, the silver and the bronze, fell along with the iron.   This is significant to us as we will see later.

 

Nebuchadnezzar is overwhelmed by the interpretation of the dream and glorifies both Daniel and the God of heaven who he now claims is the God over all other gods.  He orders that an offering be made to Daniel.

 

This chapter ends by the king making Daniel head of Babylon and his three friends administrators.  Daniel is lavished with gifts and prestige and is recognized as the most important person in Babylon, next to the king himself.  God is quite capable of making a prisoner of war, which Daniel was, the leader of a nation.   

 

We have an advantage over Daniel at this point because we can look back in history and see how this vision has worked itself out.  Daniel only knew and experienced the head of gold, but history tells us all about the rest of this image. 

 

In Danielís day Babylon ruled the world, yet in 539 B. C. king Cyrus and his Persian army, aided by the Medes, overthrew the Babylonian empire as stated in the dream.  Persia is the chest and arms of silver.

 

In 332 B. C. the Greek empire overthrew the Persians, thus becoming the belly and thighs of bronze.  In 68 B. C. the Roman Empire overthrew the Greeks.  It was the Roman Empire that was in existence when Jesus was born and when the early church was born.  The Romans would simply decimate a nation and culture when they went out to conquer, thus fulfilling this prophecy.  

 

More is said about this empire than the first three.  This is the empire that has iron legs.  Some see the feet of iron and clay as being a separate kingdom.  In one sense it is, but for the most part it is an extension of the iron legged kingdom, but weaker.  Daniel specifically mentions in his interpretation that because of the strength of iron, this kingdom will be very violent, and so Rome was.  The other kingdoms that preceded Rome overthrew the previous kingdom but didnít totally destroy it.  As we saw with Babylon , the best of the preceding kingdom was kept and not destroyed.

 

When Rome attacked and conquered, they left nothing standing, as could be seen when they attacked Jerusalem in 70 A. D..  

 

We see that there are two legs of iron, and that Daniel says that this nation will be divided, and so it was.  In 284 A. D. the Roman Empire divided into two sections, east and west. 

 

No other nation conquered Rome as they did with the previous kingdoms.  Rome simply crumbled because of its own weaknesses.  In 476 A. D. the empire begins to crumble away to nothing.  The Roman Catholic Church actually became predominant in world affairs, more than Rome itself.  Little by little the Roman Empire divided and crumbled into separate little nations, which we see today in Europe and western Asia. 

 

In the dream we see the rock formed out of the mountain by God and it strikes the feet of the statue made or iron and clay.  The iron is that which is left from the Roman Empire .  The clay is that which is the new element, mixed with the Roman Empire .  Prior to this part of the dream thereís not much controversy among end time thinkers, but the feet of iron and clay provides the controversy.  Futurists believe the feet are a feeble attempt at the rebuilding Roman Empire.  The ten toes represent the ten kings we see in the book of Revelation that appear in history for a short time with the anti-christ. 

 

The rock represents Jesus and His kingdom that will rule the earth in the thousand years as described in the book of Revelation, and then beyond into eternity as seen in the New Jerusalem on the New Earth.  The rock which is Jesus and His kingdom destroys the rebuilt Roman Empire which symbolizes all the kingdoms of man from history past. 

 

At this point we should note that from head to toe, this statue gets weaker.  This tells me that Babylon was the greatest world empire ever, even greater than the Untied States of America.  America has never ruled the known world as Babylon did.  Yes, America has great military might as seen in the iron, but, her economy is fast falling apart as seen in the clay.  As a matter of fact, the whole western world can be seen in these feet of clay right now.  The western nations are partly strong and partly weak.   

 

Those holding to the Historic end time view point actually see the rock as the triumphant church or the Kingdom of God that takes over the world before the return of Christ.  Many of these people see the mountain as the Kingdom of God that fills the earth.        

 

In the dream itís not just the feet that crumble, itís the whole stature, because in this final analysis all of the kingdoms of men will eventually fall to the Lord Jesus Christ and His Kingdom.  Jesus crushes every aspect of every world kingdom that ever existed at the Battle of Armageddon. Thus, both literal and symbolic Babylon in all of its varying aspect falls.  

 

Throughout most of the twentieth century, Biblical Prophetic Futurists have seen the feet of iron and clay as being what they have called the "Revived Roman Empire".  They've seen the formation of the European Community and now the Euro Zone as the beginning of the rebirth of the Roman Empire , the empire they say will be the last empire on earth.  They say that the anti-Christ will rise from this empire.  Many, if not most, would then say the anti-Christ would be a European.  That being said, because of the rise of Islam and for a few other reasons, some suggest that the anti-Christ will be Muslim. 

 

I have adopted the Futurist view point over the last number of years.  What many Futurists might be missing is what comes after the split of the Roman Empire in 284 A. D..  I agree, when the Roman Empire split, this appears to be seen in the two legs of the statue in Daniel's vision.  The split that took place in 284 A. D. was an east west split.  Constantine actually moved the capital city of the Roman Empire to what became known as Constantinople, named after him, which is in modern day Turkey.  The western part of the empire became dominated by the Catholic Church. The eastern part of the Empire became dominated by Islam.  Thus we have two religions vying for preeminence.  We have the two legs of the stature. 

 

The Ottoman Islamic Empire ruled the east for a number of centuries and fell.  What many Futurist miss is the importance that this Islamic Empire played in the eastern part of a fallen Roman Empire . 

 

So, when it comes to the feet of iron and clay, the empire that will be, or presently is, being revived, how is that seen today?  I'm seeing the re-emergence of the Islamic Ottoman Empire as one of the feet in the revived Roman Empire. I see  it for a number of reasons.  One reason is that the anti-Christ's empire will be just as much religious as political.  As it stands right now, the rise of Islam throughout the old east and now the Western Roman Empire is both religious and political.  The European Community has no religious affiliation.  It's strictly political.  For this reason, the anti-Christ might well be Islamic.   

 

Also, in Ezekiel 38 we see Gog of Magog.  Many Futurists throughout the twentieth century believed Magog is Russia, and for some good reason. They claim, and rightly so, that those peoples in what is now northern Turkey immigrated to Russia , thus, they conclude Russia is Magog.  The fact that these people immigrated to Russia is a historical fact.  One problem is that the other nations these same Futurist point to that is mentioned in Ezekiel 38 are the equivalent of modern day countries like Libya and Syria.  To be consistent then, Futurist should not see Magog as Russia , but as Turkey, as they would have been in Ezekiel's day.  That would mean, the headquarters of the anti-Christ is not in Russia, assuming you believe that Gog is the anti-Christ.  It would be in Turkey. 

 

So, at the moment, we have at least two main ways of looking at these feet of iron and clay.  I'm not totally convinced of either way.  

 

These things are not easy to figure out.  You can consider what I say and study these things for yourself and make you own conclusion.  

 

One thing we need to note about Daniel in this passage is how he responded respectfully to a pagan king.  Daniel realized that his nation, his people, were under God's judgment.  That's why they were in Babylon.  Knowing this, Daniel couldn't be arrogant.  He had to humbly accept God's judgment on his nation, even though he himself was a righteous man.  He therefore, could not be arrogant before the king.  Besides, the king would have none of that anyway

 

 

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