Daniel 2:1-49

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Text: Daniel 2

NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM

INTRODUCTION:

As we begin a study of Daniel 2 , we are reminded that God controls history to achieve His purposes.

Ephesians 1:10-11 - 10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

I. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM - 2:1

Daniel 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 [i.e. left him].

Why dreams? Did Nebuchadnezzar dream the same dream more than once?

II. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DEMAND - 2:2-12

Daniel 2:2-5 - 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans [i.e. various groups who could supposedly tell the future], for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. 4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack [i.e. Aramaic - it was used as a diplomatic and commercial language in the Babylonian empire.], O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. 5 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 [i.e. a place of refuse, a rubbish heap, piles of rubble, or ash heap].

Although the thing is gone from me may mean that the dream is forgotten, it may instead mean that the dream is certain to me, which would suggest that the king was putting his wise men to the test, asking them to recall the past in order to be certain that he could really trust their predictions about the future. If they could predict the future by interpreting dreams, surely they should be able to tell the king what his dream was. If Nebuchadnezzar had really forgotten the dream, they could have concocted anything and he would not likely have known the difference; so it seems that he was testing them rather than that he had forgotten the dream.

Daniel 2:6-12 - 6 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. 7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. 8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. 9 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 [i.e. the situation] be changed [It was a delaying tactic. They were hoping the situation would change.]: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof. 10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter [They were acknowledging that they were not able to tell the king his dream.]: 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. 12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

III. DANIEL'S PRAYER - 2:13-18

Daniel 2:13-18 - 13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. 14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom [i.e. with discretion and discernment] 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. 16 Then Daniel went in [It suggests into the king's presence.], and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. [For someone under a death sentence to be able to gain access to the king, hints that the king highly respected Daniel, especially when he was asking for more time - something Nebuchadnezzar had already refused for the Chaldeans in verse 8.] 17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret [i.e. a secret is something unknown at the time which would later be revealed]; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

IV. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM REVEALED - 2:19-23

Daniel 2:19-23 - 19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 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.

Daniel appropriately gave all the credit to God for making known unto him and his three friends the king's dream.

IV. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM RECITED - 2:24-36

Daniel 2:24-36 - 24 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. 25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste [i.e. quickly], and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation [Now wait just a minute. This is not true. Daniel came to him. Arioch did not actually find him, but the Scripture accurately reports this untruth. The Scripture never lies, but does occasionally accurately report lies others have told. For example, Satan said to Eve in Genesis 3:4 , Ye shall not surely die.]. 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; 28 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; 29 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. 30 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. 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. 36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

IV. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM INTERPRETED - 2:37-44

The dream reveals the Gentile kingdoms which, one after another, would rule over the land of Palestine and the people of Israel.

1. Gold - Represents King Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom, Babylon

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.

2. Silver - Medo Persia - 539 BC

Daniel 2:39 a - 39a And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee. . . .

This kingdom is identified for us in Daniel 5:25-28 -

Daniel 5:25-28 - 25 And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. 26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. 27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. 28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

The second and third kingdoms are actually identified for us in Daniel 8:1-7 -

Daniel 8:1-7 - 1 In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar [a Babylonian king] a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first. 2 And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai. 3 Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. 4 I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great.5 And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. 6 And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. 7 And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler [i.e. anger] against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand.

Daniel 8:20-21 - 20 The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king [i.e. Alexander the Great] (emphasis added).

3. Brass [i.e. bronze] - Greece - 333 BC

Daniel 2:39 b - 39b . . . another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

4. Iron - Rome - 63 BC

Daniel 2:40 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. Iron and Clay - The Revived Roman Empire in the Tribulation. The toes represent Ten Kingdoms

Daniel 2:41-43 - 41 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. 42 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. 43 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.

Daniel 7:24 - And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.

"In his initial rise to power he (i.e. the antichrist) will bring 3 of the 10 nations under his authority in his initial rise to power" (Bible Knowledge Commentary).

How do these things fit together? Let me summarize it quickly.

In Revelation of Jesus Christ 13 the beast represents both the antichrist and his empire, a form of imperial government.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 13:1-3 - (1) And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.

(2) And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.

(3) And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.

The beast represents imperial government, and each head represents one of its empires. As indicated by Revelation of Jesus Christ 17:10 , the seven heads represent seven successive empires, all of which were imperial governments: 1) Egypt, 2) Assyria, 3) Babylon, 4) Medo-Persia, 5) Greece, 6) Rome, and 7) the revived Roman Empire represented by the antichrist. The head wounded to death is not an individual but the Roman Empire. His deadly wound being healed is the revival of the Roman Empire, which is yet future.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 17:9-11 - (9) And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

(10) And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

(11) And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Seven mountains or seven hills is described by on which the woman sitteth, literally where the woman sits on them, suggesting that she reigns there. The woman seen sitting on the beast is referred to in Revelation of Jesus Christ 17 as the whore, i.e. the harlot or the prostitute. She represents ecclesiastical Babylon, the one world church which exists during the first half of the tribulation, but religious Babylon has existed for centuries, controlling one kingdom after another.

Many have identified the woman with Rome which has been known as the city with seven hills. This would be a literal understanding of mountains. It is also possible, however, and better to understand the place where the woman is sitting as referring to the seven heads of the empire on whom the woman has sat at various times in history. Verse 10 makes it clear that this is the way it should be understood.

In verses 9-11 the seven heads of the beast are identified for John. In verse 9 it is revealed that the seven heads of the beast are seven mountains. In verse 10 these seven mountains are said to be seven kings or kingdoms of whom five have already fallen and a sixth one is presently in power. In addition a seventh king or kingdom is yet future. The beast as used here refers to the world's political system, the kingdoms of this world, the successive stages of imperial rule. In verse 11 the first beast from chapter 13, the antichrist, is the eighth king; yet, he is of the seven in that all these kingdoms ruled the then-known world. This eighth king, the beast, will eventually go into perdition.

Thus, the seven world empires are 1) Egypt, 2) Assyria, 3) Babylon, 4) Medo-Persia, 5) Greece, 6) Rome, and 7) the revived Roman Empire represented by the antichrist, and will be replaced by the Antichrist himself as 8th who will demand worship for himself.

6. The stone cut out without hands represents the Lord Jesus. He will destroy the four kingdoms and rule over the whole earth in His future Millennial kingdom - 2:44

Daniel 2:44 And in the days of these kings [i.e. the ten 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.

Revelation of Jesus Christ 17:12-14 - 12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. 13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. 14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

V. THE CERTAINTY OF THE DREAM AND ITS INTERPRETATION - 2:45

Daniel 2:45 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 [The dream has to do with the future.]: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

VI. DANIEL'S SERVICE REWARDED - 2:46-49

1. Daniel reverenced by Nebuchadnezzar - 2:46

Daniel 2:46 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. Nebuchadnezzar learned to honor God - 2:47

Daniel 2:47 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. Daniel promoted - 2:48

Daniel 2:48 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.

4. Daniel's friends remembered - 2:49

Daniel 2:49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king [Daniel was apparently part of the royal court.].

CONCLUSION:

Something we should recognize from this study of Daniel 2 is that God is in control of everything which goes on in humanity. Everything is happening right on God's schedule.