The Book of Daniel: He Knows it All (Dan 2)
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He Knows it All
The two most popular game shows on TV have outlasted them all. Yet what is amazing is that each one is totally unique–even with the type of contestants they have. On Jeopardy, you’ll hear, “This is Dr. Jonathan Smartenstein, professor of astro-physics from Cal-Tech, advisor to the President on germ warfare and author of 30 books on philosophy–welcome Dr. Smartenstein.”
But, what do you hear on Wheel of Fortune? “Here is Bob, he likes bright blue objects. Welcome, Bob!”
As we continue through Daniel, to understand chapter 2, you don’t have to be as smart as someone on Jeopardy, a know-it-all–but as we cruise through this chapter, you’ll be happy to discover that the God who loves us is a know-it-all. He knows everything about this world, everything about you, everything about your future this week, this year, and the remainder of your life. And He’ll prove it in Chapter 2.
In the second year, while Daniel and his three friends are still in brainwashing school, Nebuchadnezzar has a bad dream. He wants to know what his dream means, so he asks his advisors. But to determine whether or not his advisors are telling him the truth, he expects them to reveal his dream as well as its interpretation. Of course the advisors can’t, so the king decides to kill them all, including Daniel and his three friends.
After discovering their impending death, Daniel asks for time, tells his friends, then prays. As a result, God tells Daniel the king’s dream and its interpretation. Daniel praises God, then tells the king his dream, which is about the future. In it, God predicts four coming world empires: Babylon, Media/Persia, Greece and Rome, then jumps to a final combined kingdom that will be crushed by the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His perfect, literal earthly 1,000 year Kingdom.
But don’t miss the fact that God knows it all. Our Father knows your tomorrow, and every moment of your life. Psalm 139:4, “Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, Thou dost know it all.” God knows your secrets, your thoughts, even your intentions. Ezekiel 11:5, “I know your thoughts.”
John 23:10, “He knows the way I take.” God even knows what we can’t see–as Daniel 2:22 says, “He knows what is in the darkness.” God is Omniscient, He knows it all. Your God never guesses, never supposes, never makes a mistake. He never does or allows anything without specific purpose.
He knows every detail of your life–your thoughts and your motives, and what you do behind your locked door that no one else sees. He knows your fears, lusts, hates and your hurts–every single detail. And He knows what is about to happen. And God demonstrates His knowledge of all things and the future in Daniel chapter 2, starting with a dream.
#1 The reaction of Nebuchadnezzar
Daniel 2:1, “Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him.”
First Look at his concern
What a story this is–Nebuchadnezzar is disturbed by a dream and wants to feel better. The Bible tells us in verse 31, the statue of his dream was gigantic. Yet Nebuchadnezzar watched it as it was destroyed and blown away like dust in the wind—that is all we are. It was a frightening sight.
Do you ever talk about your dreams with others? Hairless rat dreams, drowning dreams, superhero pulling a shopping cart dreams–because the Bible, God’s revelation, is complete, and God spoke to us through His Son, God doesn’t give revelation through dreams at this time. But in the Old Testament, God did occasionally communicate through dreams. And remember this–God tells us Nebuchadnezzar’s concern in the Bible, so we’ll know without any doubt that God can trouble anyone He wants to—anytime.
God can direct the President, your teacher, an employer, a parent, or a child, if and when He wants, anytime He wants. Proverbs 21:1, “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes.” Do you trust Him to do that? Do you rest in the fact that God can move anyone, anyway He chooses, regardless? I take great comfort in that. So what does Nebuchadnezzar do?
Second His command
Verse 2, “Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans, to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. The king commands his advisors to come to him. He doesn’t feel good, and they’re supposed to help him feel better–like a secular psychologist, he’s paying them to feel good. These advisors had a lot of political clout, and were very influential–in fact, their impact was so great, you can still see it today.
Ancient Babylon actually starts God’s program called, “The Times of the Gentiles.” Jesus describes it in Luke 21:24b, “Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” The time of the Gentiles refers to the domination of Gentiles over Jerusalem and the nation of Israel, which began in 586 BC, when Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, and it seems best to view the time of the Gentiles as ending at the Battle of Armageddon.
God is so gracious–at the very beginning of the Gentile dominion, He declares to captive Judah that being dominated will not be forever. With this statue and further prophecies, there is a coming kingdom where Israel will again be in prominence. From the very start, they are promised a future. Many of us are hoping that in 1967, when Israel re-took control of Jerusalem, it was like a birth pang that happened to alert us of something greater coming sometime soon.
As we get later into Daniel, it is going to speak of a day when “The Times of the Gentiles” will be over, and God will set up His kingdom on earth, restoring Israel to her former glory. But Babylon is very influential as the first kingdom to begin the time of the Gentiles–how? Well, Babylon was both religious and political. The political part was destroyed in the image in the king’s dream. But the religious part of Babylon continues on today.
The great harlot Babylon of Revelation 17 is more religious than political. And in Revelation, she influences all the nations of the world religiously. Let me give you an example. Babylon’s religious power entered the Roman Empire through the Etruscans, with their secret, mystery religion. One of the most famous Etruscans was Julius Caesar. He took the title of Pontifex Maximus, and Octavian (who became the first emperor of the Roman Empire) announced to the world that his title would be Pontifex Maximus as well, meaning “Supreme Pontiff”.
When Rome fell politically in 476 AD, the Bishop of Rome was Damasis, who then took that title, and every pope since then has kept the title. Supreme Pontiff—Pope. The title came out of Babylonian religion–not from the Bible. The true Supreme Pontiff, of course, is our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Head of the Church. And His Word is God’s Will. We don’t need any substitute for Christ–we don’t need a pope.
Damasis, the one who took over this title when political Rome was destroyed by the Visigoths in 476 AD, was appointed to his position as the Bishop of Rome by the Carmelite Monastery in Haifa. That monastery is well-known in history to be the promoters of the Babylonian religion, and Damasis also was committed to the Babylonian religion. So through his efforts, that religious system became the heart of the entire Catholic system during the Middle Ages. That is known history. It is not something Protestants say about Catholics–it is something Catholics say about themselves. Whatever the Church was during the Middle Ages (the Dark Ages of a thousand years), it was because of the influence of the Babylonian religion. The feudal state and the Church dominating the political scene were all part of the teaching of ancient Babylonian religionists.
Look at the list of these magic advisors in verse 2. The magicians were highly-educated, and believed they knew things no one else knew–practicing illusions, secret charms and evil spells. Astrologers, or the conjurers, does not describe stargazers, but the ones who spoke secret incantations, gave in-depth interpretations, and claimed to be able to interpret mysteries.
The third group in verse 2 is sorcerers–they’re the witchdoctors who talked to the dead, and practiced magic with the aid of evil spirits. We have some of these in Old Town Temecula–they’re the palm readers and channelers–New Age has its roots in this very Old Age.
The Chaldeans in verse 2 were the priests who controlled everything. That’s why you’ll find a lot of Old Testament prophecies on how God is going to judge them–they were in control.
A fifth group is found in verse 27 where Daniel mentions diviners or “soothsayers”. These are the astrologers of the present day. The word diviner means literally “one who slices up the heavens,” and it refers to the twelve signs of the zodiac, which also came out of the ancient Babylonian religion and were very popular in Persia in ancient times. These same advisors also gave us the days of the week–Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tomorrow, when getting up for work on Monday really hurts you, blame the Babylonian advisors–no wonder the king wanted to kill them.
No ancient king went to battle without consulting the oracles, the religious experts of his day, to determine the will of the gods. Nebuchadnezzar is so bothered by his dream, it’s almost as if he’s being attacked, so he consults his dream team. The Babylonians were so into dreams, they actually recorded and categorized dreams into hundreds of books, even developing a system of interpretation. Of course, all of it was human and demonic wisdom.
Third The consequences of Nebuchadnezzar’s command
As Daniel continues to write, he switches from Hebrew to Aramaic in order to make God’s revelation in Chapter 2 to 7 available to the Gentiles. And in verses 3-6, God in His sovereignty caused a pagan king to go “bonkers” and to require the impossible. He wants his advisors to not only interpret the dream, but to actually describe his dream in detail. If the advisors can’t do it, the king will have them hacked into little pieces, and turn their homes into manure piles. Houses in the east have a heritage sense to them–to this day, if a terrorist is identified in Israel, and if they come from a home in Israel, the government will bulldoze their home, sending a message to all terrorists that their heritage, lineage, name and history will be forgotten and destroyed.
The plan of God was to set up a situation that would force everyone to know the God of Daniel, the God of the Jews, is the only God. No wise man tricks could pull this off, only God can handle this, which exposes . . .
Fourth The confusion of the wise men
The wise men try to be coy and ask the king for help or more time, but the king is not going to give in. He has suspected these guys from watching them deal with his dad, so now he puts them to the test. Verses 7-8 say, “They answered a second time and said, ‘Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the interpretation.’ 8 The king answered and said, ‘I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, inasmuch as you have seen that the command from me is firm.’”
Have you seen one of those articles in the tabloids that predicts the future? A research team evaluated all the predictions, and the best of the modern day prophets are correct only about 2% of the time. Can you believe that? People are fascinated by these predictions, and yet the vast majority of them are wrong. At best, they are only right 2% of the time. Still, people believe what they say. It’s amazing!
God makes all false prophets look ridiculous to anybody who has a truly “inquiring mind.” Why is that? Because no one has the capability to retell, then interpret a dream except for God.
Fifth The capability of no one except God to answer his dream
The Book of Daniel exalts God. God is in charge. He knows all. He rules over all. And the pagan priests actually say so. Look at Daniel 2:10-11, “The Chaldeans answered the king and said, ‘There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean. 11 Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.’”
Both Nebuchadnezzar and we here today know why they are unwilling to even guess the dream–they did not have the capability. The advisors affirm only God can describe a dream, and then interpret it.
So the command goes out in verse 13 to have all the advisors killed. This is very unfair to the magicians’ union–yet these deceivers are now exposed. This is God’s way of bringing glory to Himself, honoring Daniel’s faithfulness, and establishing His future ministry. It’s God’s way of setting up a great miracle, which leads us to . . .
#2 The request of Daniel
By God’s design, Daniel is also in the group to be torn limb from limb (verse 13). So what Daniel does is panic, pack his bags, plot to kill the king, run away, and write his will–no! Because of his confidence in God, Daniel didn’t panic. This 15- to 19-year-old is a rare young man–why? You could count on him in a crisis. That’s rare–Daniel was composed, courageous and confident in God.
First The problem moved him to prayer
Verse 14 gives us the impression that Arioch comes to Daniel’s door to kill him. Arioch is called a captain, and the Hebrew word captain comes from a root meaning to slay, telling us Arioch was the king’s executioner. Daniel carefully asks Arioch, “What’s up?” He hears the story, which leads Daniel to ask for a little more time from the king, and he gets it. What amazing credibility Daniel has gained since chapter one, being ten times better than all the others. So Daniel immediately goes to sleep to dream and get his answer? No
This life-threatening problem moved Daniel and his companions to pray. Daniel didn’t go in and say, “Here’s the answer,” while whispering under his breath, “God, this would be a good time for you to tell me the dream.” He didn’t jump ahead, then ask God to bless his plan. Daniel knew God could do this, but he didn’t want to presume upon the sovereignty of God. Maybe God wanted them to die for their faith. Daniel didn’t presume, but he called his friends to pray with him for compassion “from the God of heaven” (verse 18).
When we face difficulties and struggles, and it looks really bad, those times are designed to move us to prayer like Daniel prayed. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” No matter what your gifts are, no matter what kind of person you are, if you go into any kind of crisis without prayer, you’re a fool.
Then in verse 19, God revealed to Daniel the mystery of the dream. So Daniel immediately went to tell the king–quick! No!
Second The answer moved Daniel to praise
We often forget to thank God–even when He does something wonderful. Before Daniel went in to see Nebuchadnezzar, he praised the Lord. Daniel took time to thank God. FBC, we have been blessed–even those of you without jobs, with physical pains, having relational struggles . . . you’ve been abundantly blessed. To whom much is given, much is required. That’s why we need to be more like the one leper who turned back to give thanks, and not like the nine who were healed but did not say thanks. It matters to Christ that you say thanks, and that you share thanks to Him and to others. Are you thankful, and are you expressing your thanks? What did Daniel thank God for? Four great truths . . .
1 The Character of God
Verse 20, “Daniel answered and said, ‘Let the name of God be blessed forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him.” It’s as though Daniel’s heart was overflowing to God as he’s seen what God had done. God’s name means His character–who He is. Who is God? He knows everything, and knows what is best–wisdom. And He has all power to do whatever He wants, whatever is right.
2 The Control of God
Verse 21, “And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, and knowledge to men of understanding.” Daniel wasn’t worried about his captivity or his circumstances–he knew that God would turn it around when He was ready. Daniel was convinced that whatever he was currently going through at that moment, God could use it for His Glory. God is Sovereign. Psalm 115:3 says, “Our God is in the heavens, He does whatever He pleases.” God does as He pleases, only as He pleases, and always as He pleases . . .
with salvation, God chose us in Him before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3)
with evangelism, God has many people ready yet to be saved (Acts 18:10)
with the Christian life, He will finish the good work He started in you (Philippians 1:6)
with affliction, “before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep thy Word” (Psalm 119:67)
with injustice from people, “you meant it for evil, but God meant it for good” (Genesis 50:20)
with all circumstances for Christians, God works all things together for good” (Romans 8:28)
We don’t know why things happen as they do, but we can praise the Lord because He’s in complete charge of everything. He does as He pleases, only as He pleases, and always as He pleases. Daniel is also thankful for . . .
3 The Comprehension of God
Verse 22, “It is He who reveals the profound and hidden things; He knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with Him.” There’s nothing hidden from God. Nothing is done in secret. You can’t hide your plans, your thoughts, even your motives. Yet Daniel praised God for God’s comprehension of all things. Daniel was grateful God knows it all.
I happen to believe one of our greatest needs is to be known for who we are. It’s a wonderful thing in human relationships, when somebody knows you and still likes you. That’s one of the reasons marriage is called the “grace of life” in I Peter 3:7. It’s the grace of God that your spouse knows you and still loves you–amen? So Daniel gives thanks for that and . . .
4 The Concern of God
Verse 23, “To Thee, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for Thou hast given me wisdom and power; even now Thou hast made known to me what we requested of Thee, for Thou hast made known to us the king’s matter.” Daniel thanks God for answering his prayer and expresses his gratitude that God cares about him. God cares about our prayers. In fact, God cares about everything that concerns you. That is why he would say in I Peter 5:7, “Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.”
Daniel went to his friends with the news he’d heard from Arioch–then they prayed, and God answered his prayer. Daniel burst out with praise to God, even before he went back to tell Arioch he knew the interpretation. So what happened?
Third The opportunity moved him to action
The problem moved Daniel to prayer. The answer moved him to praise. Now, the opportunity moved Daniel to action. That should be our response. When we pray with a right heart, it will lead us to take Biblical action. What did Daniel do? This is sweet.
1 Daniel pleaded for the advisors
WOW! Some of us would’ve asked God to wipe out those false advisors while the opportunity was ripe for it. Let’s get rid of those pagans. But Daniel showed us the kind of man he was by pleading for the advisors to be spared in spite of their obvious failure. That’s hard to do. He showed compassion for them, and wanted them to be spared. Why? Can you guess? They needed salvation.
2 Daniel pointed to God’s presence and power
Daniel made sure nobody thought that he (Daniel) had dream power. We have to be careful when God uses us that we understand who is doing it. Daniel makes it clear. Look at verses 27 to 30, “Daniel answered before the king and said, ‘As for the mystery about which the king has inquired, neither wise men, conjurers, magicians, nor diviners are able to declare it to the king. 28 However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed. 29 As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place. 30 But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.” It would’ve been easy to conclude that Daniel was wiser than everyone else, so Daniel made sure they all knew he wasn’t anything special–it was God who answered prayer, God who reveals dreams, God alone who knows the future.
As we learn the wisdom of God from His Word, it is crucial we remember who it came from. We are not wise within ourselves. In fact, the Bible condemns those who think they’re wise in their own eyes. True wisdom comes from the Lord and His Word. God hates pride. So what did God reveal to Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel?
3 The revelation of the dream
At this point, Nebuchadnezzar’s mouth must be hanging wide open–the dream and the image represent four world empires in succeeding stages, from Nebuchadnezzar all the way to Jesus Christ.
Look at verses 31 to 35, “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 32 The head of that statue was made of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You continued looking until a stone was cut out without hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay, and crushed them. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were crushed all at the same time, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that not a trace of them was found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
What does the statue tell us about the future? Look first of all at Babylon–the head of gold. We would not be able to interpret the dream accurately, had Daniel not already told us Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold. Look at verse 37-38, “You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength, and the glory; 38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold. Babylon was called ‘the Golden City.’”
The Greek historian, Herodotus, visited Babylon ninety years after Nebuchadnezzar. In his writings, he says he was shocked at the amount of gold in Babylon. He said the walls of Babylon were covered with gold overlay; buildings, walkways and bridges, were all covered with gold. Their false messiah, Marduk, was the god of gold–they worshipped gold. No wonder it was called “the Golden City.”
Babylon had risen to heights of wealth and spectacular glory that very few empires in history have ever achieved. And Nebuchadnezzar was the solo ruler of this great kingdom–Nebuchadnezzar was so great that Daniel 2:37 and Ezekiel 26:7 both call him a king of kings–wow, what a statement. There is a sense in which the statue shows the deterioration of value in the kingdoms–gold, silver, bronze, then iron. The metals get harder as the interpretation progresses–iron will crush more than gold, but gold had a greater value. So we see the decrease of value as we see an increase in the strength of the metal in the following empires. Also historically, each consecutive empire grew larger and lasted longer than the previous one.
Next on the statue was Medo Persia–the chest and arms of silver. Verse 39a, “And after you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you.” The next empire had two arms, so do we take the illustration literally by saying it was divided in two? Of course. The next empire was a dual empire, the Medes and the Persians; it had two parts/two peoples, so it’s called Medo-Persia.
I’m sure some of you have heard of a people called the Kurds, the modern descendants of the Medes. And the Persians are the modern Iranians. The Medes and the Persians are the Kurds and Iranians of today–they have a longstanding relationship. In ancient times, they were together in one empire. That may explain why Iran opened its doors to the Kurdish people who fled Saddam Hussein.
Medo-Persia was known for its administrative structure and its law. Its nobles became very powerful. They were so strong that the king himself could not break the laws of the nobles. They developed a legal system that did not allow the king to change their laws–thus Darius could not prevent Daniel from being put in the lions’ den. Nebuchadnezzar was the law–whatever he wished for was law. He could kill all his advisors and nobles if he wanted.
But in Medo-Persia, the law determined what the king could and could not do. The king was subject to the law. Silver was the medium of exchange in ancient Persia, and a heavy tax system with silver coins was how they controlled the people. They were so administrative, they were able to mobilize vast armies. When Alexander the Great took on the Persian Empire, it was astonishing how the odds were in favor of the Persians every time. One Persian ruler, Xerxes, actually fielded an army of over a million foot soldiers. (And at one point, 300 Spartans held them at bay.) But all Persian kings were subject to the laws of the Medes and Persians.
The next kingdom is Greece–the belly and thighs of bronze. Verse 39b, “Another third kingdom of bronze, which will rule over all the earth.” Bronze is another metal inferior in value, but stronger than the previous metals. And this third kingdom, verse 39, was uniquely to rule over “all the earth.” It didn’t say all the earth about the second kingdom, but it did say this about the third one. Alexander the Great, at 33-years-of-age, was sitting on the banks of the Euphrates River, crying–why? Because he had no more worlds to conquer–poor boy.
In history, Greece used bronze. They turned the world upside down using their weapons of bronze. The two thighs are also significant because even though Alexander left his empire to four generals, only two of them became powerful. The Empire of Syria–run by the Seleucid dynasty, was one; and the other was the empire of Egypt run by the Ptolemies.
Which leads us to the next kingdom, Rome–the legs of iron. Verse 40, “Then there will be a fourth kingdom as strong as iron; inasmuch as iron crushes and shatters all things, so, like iron that breaks in pieces, it will crush and break all these in pieces.” The word break in Hebrew means to crush with a hammer, and that is what Rome did to every nation they conquered. There was no empire in world history that crushed its enemies like Rome did. They were not satisfied just to take over a country and make them pay taxes, they slaughtered them. Rome crushed peoples and cultures so that they would never consider rebelling. When Augustus established the empire in 30 BC, he called it the “Pax Romana”, the Roman Peace, since all known enemies of Rome had been crushed by their power.
According to world history, the two legs represent the east and west divisions of Rome. The Roman Emperor Constantine dedicated the eastern capital, Constantinople, in 330 A.D., but by 395 A.D., Theodosius divided the empire between his two sons. He accepted the fact that they were literally two different empires. There was the Byzantine side (the east) and the European side (the west) of the Roman Empire. Religiously, they were also divided–the Greek Orthodox (Eastern) Church separated from the Roman Catholic (Western) Church. All this is perfectly described in the statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream hundreds of years before any of it happened.
But then God shows us yet another kingdom, a revived Roman empire–united nations, the feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Look at verse 41, “And in that you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it will be a divided kingdom; but it will have in it the toughness of iron, inasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with common clay.” Skip to verse 44, “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.”
Friends this is not a reference to the church–there are no kings in the church. And if Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome were literal kingdoms, does not the context demand that what is ahead would be literal as well? Daniel speaks of ten toes, and in verse 44 he refers to kings. So far we’ve had kingdoms, but now it does not say kingdom, it says kings in verse 44. You find in Daniel 2:44, 7:24, as well as Revelation 17:12 a reference to a ten-nation confederacy we have not seen yet. Rome fell from within. When the Visigoths sacked Rome, it was a simple matter, because Rome had already fallen morally and spiritually. Rome fell to pieces inside, long before it was destroyed outside. But coming out of this mixture, there are ten toes which will be kings.
The clay and iron and seed-of-men discussed in these verses most likely address the weakness of men and governments in these final nations. It is interesting to note that the Roman Empire never really ended–it just changed. And since then, there has never been a world empire. Napoleon tried it, so did Hitler–but none of them succeeded, and no one ever will. The point is, the Roman Empire from this statue and from history will someday return in a weaker form of ten nations or ten world-wide groupings.
Notice in verse 44, the reference to “the days of these kings”–this indicates a gap in time between Rome and the ten groupings of nations. The empires rose up one after the other, but these ten kings will rise after a gap of time. So far there has been a gap of 2,000 years.
Now the good news is, after these ten nations (or groupings) come to power we will see Jesus Christ–the stone cut out without hands. Verse 45, “Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true, and its interpretation is trustworthy.”
The stone from the God of heaven will strike the statue on the feet and breaks it to pieces. The kings mentioned so often in Bible prophecy are going to be destroyed by a stone. What a vision–no wonder Nebuchadnezzar was afraid. This stone not only breaks the kings to pieces, but it becomes the final kingdom which will not be destroyed, nor left for other people. Verse 44 says it’s eternal. Daniel is telling us this stone is the Lord Jesus Christ, who sets up a coming kingdom.
Is Jesus ever called “a stone”? Sure! Psalms 118:22 says, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.” Isaiah 28:16 says, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.” Matthew 21:42, “Jesus says, ‘The stone which the builder rejected, this became the Chief cornerstone.’” This kingdom will be set up by God Himself, and it is indestructible. Look at Daniel 2:44, “And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.” And verse 45 tells us nothing can change this fact–nothing!
This kingdom ruled by Jesus is going to happen—Daniel says it’s true. Just as the Medo-Persian, Greek and Roman Empires were literal, there will be a coming literal, earthly kingdom that will be ruled by our Lord Jesus Christ. Imagine Daniel saying all of this in the 6th century BC before the Medo-Persian Empire, before Greece and Rome, before the confederacy of nations that is revived, and before the second coming of Christ and His Messianic Kingdom. And in verse 45, Daniel says it’s all true and can’t be changed. The Bible says so. Do you trust His Word? So what happened to Daniel?
#4 The results for Daniel and his friends
Verse 46 tells us the most powerful ruler of the ancient world fell down on his face in front of Daniel. He was only a Jewish slave, yet the king had them offer incense to him as they did to their gods. Daniel was promoted to prime minister of Babylon, and he didn’t forget his friends. In verse 49, he asked the king to put them in positions of authority, and the king did as he requested. What did Nebuchadnezzar say in verse 47? “Surely your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries.” He knows it all, so how should you respond today?
1 Give Him your trust since your future is planned
It may not be all easy, since God planned for Israel to be under the oppression of Gentiles for centuries. God does promise us trial, even persecution. But God is at work, even in the smallest detail. As Proverbs 16:9 says, “The mind of man plans his way. But the Lord directs his steps.”
God is in charge. History is His story. He is bringing glory to Himself through your life. Are you cooperating? Events in your life either make you bitter or better, depending upon your focus. If you focus upon people, trials, circumstances or injustice you’ll get bitter. But if you focus upon our loving, gracious, merciful God, who is in control of all things, you’ll become better–you’ll grow.
2 Give Him your hope, since Jesus is coming soon
Can you say with the apostle John, “Come Lord Jesus”? When He comes, every wrong will be made right, every problem will go away, all your suffering will end, all your weaknesses will be corrected, all your inner pain will be fixed forever, and all your sin will end. Jesus is coming. That’s good news for two reasons–the righteous will be saved, and the unrighteous will be condemned.
If there was a burglar trying to break into my house, and only my wife Jean was home, she would be in trouble. If she called 911 before the burglar could break in, and she heard the siren coming closer, that would be very good news for two reasons:
1 My wife would be rescued/saved
2 The burglar would be brought to justice and judged
Which good news are you going to receive–salvation or judgment? Give him your all, since He knows all things. Since He knows it all, as we close, invite Him, as David did in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; 24 and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.”
Friends, He knows your heart, and those hurtful ways
Repent of your worry, your fear, your lack of trust
Repent of your lack of obedience and unwillingness to follow Scripture
Repent of your lack of willingness to stand up for Christ
Repent of your lack of thankfulness and lack of prayer
Let Him search your heart, and give Him your all.