Daniel 2:1-49 Comments by Stephen Ricker
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Daniel Proclaims God the the King
Comments for Study 2

Daniel 2:1-49
Memory Verse: 2:37

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Daniel wrote the first chapter in the Hebrew language. Chapters 2 thru 7 were written in Aramaic, the then common commerce language used throughout the Gentile nations. Chapters 8 thru 12 are written in Hebrew. Daniel was deliberate in writing in these two languages. The Hebrew chapters are about Israel's future (not just Judah), future from Daniel's point of view. The Aramaic chapters are about the Gentiles' future from Daniel's point of view. Jesus called it the time of the Gentiles. (Luke 21:24) Most of the events predicted in this book are history to us. The godless kingdoms referred to are the Gentile nations, and the kingdom of God are those who will partake in the millennial reign of Jesus (Yeshua) Christ (Messiah) centered about Jerusalem and Israel. Many of Jesus' parables explain about the kingdom of God.

I. The King's Dream (1-23)

>1. How did King Nebuchadnezzar's dreams affect him?

* Daniel 2:1 "In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep."

* "In the second year of his reign" -Daniel was still in his three year training. (See study 1 question 1.) By this time Nebuchadnezzar had put down all enemies and factions in his vast empire. However, there was always the threat of break away territories and loss of income from cheating on taxes.

* Nebuchadnezzar was one of, if the best, conquerors in human history. He was noctorious for cruelty. He was a great military strategist. He reigned with an iron fist. His famous line was, "Cut them to pieces." He was afraid of no one, but he was afraid of losing his power, wealth, and kingdom. He's was a real person that symbolizes many rulers and leaders that followed him.

* "had dreams" -Dreams is plural. So this is a recurring dream. God sometimes speaks to people in dreams, even to those who do not know or fear him. Another example of this is when Abraham went to Egypt, God spoke to Pharaoh in a dream about Abraham. What is even more amazing is that these kingdoms are often depicted as enemies to God and God's people.

* Verse 29 reveals that Nebuchadnezzar had been thinking about the future before these dreams came to him.

* "his mind was troubled and he could not sleep" -Even though he was a great conqueror and afraid of no one, Nebuchadnezzar was still fearful. Even dreams made him fearful. Nebuchadnezzar was fearful because he believed that this dream was a message from God. The dreams' contents was very fearful probably because they he kept having the same dream and he must have known that it was about the future of not only him, but perhaps more. The most troubling fact is that he didn't understand what they meant. Some have speculated that he couldn't even remember the details, only that they concerned his kingdom and reign and their eventual end.

* Nebuchadnezzar is a typical example of men of influence in the world of politics; strong on the outside but fearful and weak on the inside and without peace.

Babylon Ishtar gate

* See a picture of a reconstruction of the Babylon Ishtar gate to the right. The great Ishtar Gate, dedicated to the goddess of that name, and one of the most impressive monuments rediscovered in the ancient East, formed one of the principal entrances into Babylon. It was one of the elaborate building projects of Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B. c.) who was determined to beautify his capital, and who also restored the temple of the chief god Marduk and built himself a splendid new palace with the famous "Hanging Gardens". We are told in the Bible that this was the king of Babylon who brought the Kingdom of Judah to an end and carried off its people into exile. King Jehoiachin, who spent many years in Babylon as a prisoner, and the prophets Daniel and Ezekiel must have seen this massive gateway many times like many other exiles. The Ishtar Gate was the starting point for processions, which assembled in front of it, marched through the triumphal arch and proceeded along the Sacred Way to the seven-storied ziggurat which was crowned by the temple of Marduk. The gateway, which is flanked by twin towers and ornamented with pinnacles, is completely covered with colored enamelled bricks. Dragons and bulls are molded in relief, the animals symbolizing the gods Marduk and Adad. The bright yellow and brown beasts are surrounded by tiles of glorious blue, tinted with lapis/lazuli dust. In front of the gateway outside the city there was a road whose walls were decorated with lions, in reliefs of glazed yellow tiles. The Ishtar Gate was reconstructed in Berlin out of material excavated by Robert Koldewey. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>What did he do about it?

* Daniel 2:2 "So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king,"

* "So the king summoned... and they came in and stood before the king." -The fact that he called everyone in shows how troubled he was. It also shows the extent of knowledge collected. It also shows the power and fear he commanded.

* "magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers" -Daniel and his friends were not included because they were still in training.

* "magician" -those crafted in illusion, theatrics, and slide of hand

* "enchanters" -those who cast spells that demons (fallen angels) enable to happen.

* "sorcerers" -those who work with chemicals and the elements

* "astrologers" -those who study the stars to learn God's set times and make predictions

>In what respect was the king's demand of his wise men unreasonable? (1-9)

* Daniel 2:3-9 "When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, 'I have had a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.' Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, 'O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.' The king replied to the astrologers, 'This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.' Once more they replied, 'Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.' Then the king answered, 'I am certain that you are trying to gain time, because you realize that this is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me the dream, there is just one penalty for you. You have conspired to tell me misleading and wicked things, hoping the situation will change. So then, tell me the dream, and I will know that you can interpret it for me.'"

* Through this Nebuchadnezzar realized that his wise men were actually wise guys and con men because even though they knew a lot their wisdom was weak because they did not have access to God's wisdom.

* "Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic" -Aramaic was considered the language of the learned and the language most spoken similar to the English language since WWII. The different groups of men came from different conquered countries and spoke different native tongues. However, all of them would have known Aramaic.

* "Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it" -The Egyptians were the first to be known to keep books of dream interpretations. These books had lists of what people commonly dream about and what that meant. As centuries past these books became long and dream interpretors had to study several years to know everything in them. However, in order to interpret a dream the person needed to be told what was dreamt.

* From a human point of view knowing a what is someone's mind is impossible because no one, not even angels or demons can read the thoughts of men.

* Some may have claimed to be like the gods as some false prophets do now. This now proved otherwise.

Nebuchadnezzar II Nebuchadnezzar II

>2. What were the rewards and punishments the king promised? (5-6)

* Daniel 2:5-6 "The king replied to the astrologers, 'This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.'"

* "I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble" -Nebuchadnezzar's idea of an incentive program.

* Nebuchadnezzar was merciless, self centered, and crafty. He had no fear of God. He believed he had control over a person's life. Interestingly, Saul used this phrase just after he became king of Israel. (1 Samuel 11:7) To Nebuchadnezzar others lives didn't mean that much. This is not how God sees man's lives.

* Nebuchadnezzar figured that if God gave him the dream then God would give him the interpretation of the dream through someone, but he didn't know who. He also must have realized that anyone could give him a convincing story if he told them the content of the dream, so he devised this plan insure a true interpretation.

>When the king insisted that his wise men tell him the dream, what did their spokesman say? (7, 11)

* Daniel 2:7 "Once more they replied, 'Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will interpret it.'"

* Daniel 2:11 "What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men."

* They tried to reason with the king who was an unreasonable person.

* They didn't want to admit that they had no idea what he had been dreaming at first. Later, they finally confessed that they did not know, but by only saying that no one could know.

>What was the king's response? (10-12)

* Daniel 2:10-12 "The astrologers answered the king, 'There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks! No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or astrologer. What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men.' This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon."

* "No king, however great and mighty, has ever asked such a thing" -They were saying, "At least the other king's requests were reasonable."

* "he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon." -At first he threatened them, but now his threat became a reality.

* "the wise men of Babylon" -The people he was paying and supporting, the one's he was suppose to trust, were proving a bad asset.

* To Nebuchadnezzar it's lonely at the top.

* Nebuchadnezzar realized that they were liars, that they were not true.

* The world people's deal with each other saying, "Serve me or suffer".

>3. How did the king's angry decree affect Daniel and his friends?

* Daniel 2:13 "So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death."

* "look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death" -Daniel was twenty years old. He had been taken from his family and homeland by force. He seen his country loss to Egypt and then to Babylon. He had seen the sins of his people, especially the leaders, civial and religious. He had been made an eunuch. Now, after being in special training in a strange land for only one year he was sentenced to die by no fault of his own. Daniel was endure one bad event after another and he is never recorded to be at fault with God. Like Job he was a righteous man, even recorded as being in high esteemed in God's court. (Daniel 9:23)

Nebuchadnezzar Dream

>What did Daniel do? (14-16)

* Daniel 2:14-16 "When Arioch, the commander of the king's guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact. He asked the king's officer, 'Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?' Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him."

* "Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact" -Daniel stayed calm and clear minded, though he may have been afraid he did not let it control him. He could have complained, ran away, begged for mercy, despaired, or died with dignity. God gives his people strength within. (Psalm 59:16)

>What does this show about him?

* "Daniel went in to the king and asked for time" -Daniel had faith in God so much so that he could go into the king's presence. Daniel tried to solve the problem, while others gave up, even though it seemed impossible to solve.

* "so that he might interpret the dream for him." -God gave Daniel wisdom and tact. The others said, "No way." Daniel said, "I'll do what you ask."

* Daniel knew that there was no way of knowing the content of the dreams other than God revealing it. How could he know this? He could know this by studying the life of Joseph. Daniel knew that in order for God to help him, he had to ask God in prayer. He needed time to pray; so by faith he went to ask the king for time to pray even though it was not an easy task for his peers were stalling and rousing the king's anger.

* Why wasn't the king angry with Daniel's request? The difference between Daniel and the others was that they insisted on being told the dream. Daniel didn't. Thus, the king felt comfortable in allowing Daniel time. He said he can know and interpret the dream if given a little time.

* Daniel was allowed time because God had moved the leader's heart. God gave the dream to not only tell us the future, but to make a way for his people and Daniel to gain favor in the Babylonian court.

* With faith in the goodness of God, believers in Jesus can only sow the seed of good will in others. This goes against man's sinful nature, but it is the nature of the Holy Spirit.

>4. Read verses 17-18.

* Daniel 2:17-18 "Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon."

Daniel

See a wood engraving by Gustave Dore (1832-1883) to the right. Dore's drawings were in Bibles that are now in public domain. This one was scanned in by creationism.org.

>What did Daniel do about the impossible task that was facing him?

* Daniel prayed with his friends.

* Daniel knew he needed the help of God and God's people.

* The sinful human nature is to keep problems to ourselves and/or to not seek help from God and others.

>What can we learn from him? (Compare Mk. 14:37-41, 11:24, Mt. 7:7,8)

* Mark 14:37-41 "Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. 'Simon,' he said to Peter, 'are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.' Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, 'Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."

* Mark 11:24 "Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours."

* Matthew 7:7-8 "'Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.'"

* Daniel had no idea how God would answer his prayer. He prayed in faith.

* Daniel was humble.

* "pray for mercy" -Daniel's prayer topic.

* Share our burden in prayer with fellow believers in Jesus. (Galatians 6:2)

* Earlier this book said that Daniel had gifts and ability. Now we learn the secret of those, humble prayer of mercy to God.

>5. How did God answer his prayer? (19)

* Daniel 2:19 "During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven..."

* "vision" -A vision is not a dream nor a trance. Vision is an English word translated from the Hebrew work "hazon". These days vision has many meanings. The use here and in many other places in the Bible has to do with the Lord God's revelation to man. One definition of a vision is, "A prophet's ability to see the revelatory nature in the meaning of a historical event." A vision is a reality displayed in our mind while asleep in a dream or while awake in a manifestation. Most visions in scripture convey revelations from God. Biblical visions concern immediate situations (Genesis 15:11, Acts 12:7) and more distant ones connected with the development of the kingdom of God, as may be seen in the writings of Isaiah, Ezekiel, Hosea, Micah, Daniel, and John. In the Old Testament false prophets feigned visions and were denounced by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 14:14, 23:16) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 13:7).

>What was the first thing Daniel did?

* He praised and thanked God. (20-23)

* "God of heaven" -See question 6 below.

Jesus' Glory

>What can we learn about God and about Daniel from Daniel's prayer of thanksgiving? (20-23)

* Daniel 2:20-23 "and said: 'Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you, you have made known to us the dream of the king.'"

* "Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever" -Daniel did not mention the name of God when he praised him here, perhaps out of awe, fear, and respect.

* "wisdom and power are his" -Daniel acknowledged God as the source of wisdom and power. Daniel credited God for wisdom and power. Daniel did not know the mystery. God revealed it to him. Daniel also knew that kings are not the ultimate power. God revealed to him that the Lord is always in power.

* Verse 21 is the main theme of the dream and perhaps the entire book of Daniel.

* "He changes times and seasons" -God controls the flow of time and the kingdoms of men that exist in it. No matter how powerful the kingdoms of men have gotten, God was able to destroy them.

* "he sets up kings and deposes them" -Not only this chapter, but the remaining chapters displays that God sets up kings and deposes them. Nebuchadnezzar had put down all of his enemies just before God gave him this vision. He was laying on his bed thinking about the future. Perhaps he thought that his kingdom would endure forever. God would show him otherwise. Daniel had seen the fall of his native kingdom, the one established and maintained by God fell to an evil empire. Daniel and the rest of the exiles were still in a state of shock when David's line was removed from the throne. Some may have wondered if their God was true. A year after being in exile the Jews learned through Nebuchadnezzar's dream and God's given meaning through Daniel that he is indeed in control of the kingdoms of men. Today there is so much war, anger, and fighting. There are more wars and threats of wars going on now that I can count. Many must be wondering what will be the outcome of all the turmoil and violence. God's people can be comforted by the fact that the Lord God Jesus Christ is in control of the kingdoms of men. He has a plan. He knows what is happening. Nothing is outside of his plan and control.

* "He reveals deep and hidden things." -The Holy Spirit reveals truths to those who have put their trust in Jesus. (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7-15)

* "he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him." -About Jesus John the apostle wrote, "In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it." (John 1:4-5) And, "This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1:5) Peter, James, and John saw Jesus' body transform into glory and light when they went up the mountain. Jesus appeared to Paul at his conversion and great light shown around him. John saw Jesus' glorious resurrection body and wrote about it in Revelation.

* "we" -Daniel acknowledged the work of the group.

* "I thank and praise you" -When God does a good work, when he delivers us we should thank and praise him.

* "O God of my fathers" -Even though the Israelites and Jews were being punished, Daniel praised the God of his fathers. With this vision he knew that the God of his fathers was still with his people. God had not forgotten nor broken the covenant.

II. Daniel Interprets the King's Dream (24-43)

>6. How did Daniel proclaim God to the king? (28-29, 37, 44)

* Daniel 2:28-29 "but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these: 'As you were lying there, O king, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen.'"

* Daniel 2:37 "'You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory;'"

* Daniel 2:44 "'In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever."

* "there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries" -Daniel could have said, "I can interpret your dream." Instead, he magnified God's work.

* "God in heaven" and "God of heaven" -The original Hebrew is "Elah shemayin". The book of Daniel uses the terms "God in heaven" and "God of heaven" four times in this chapter, "King of heaven" in 4:37, and "Lord of heaven" in 5:23. Of the twenty-two (22) Old Testament occurrences of the phrases "God in heaven" and "God of heaven", seventeen (17) occur in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Daniel; all exile and post exile times. Some speculate that the exiles started using this phrase when referring to the Lord because a similar Aramaic term in large use by the Gentiles was "Lord (Baal in Aramaic) of heaven". Like modern missionaries and Bible translators God's people have to decide how to refer to God in native ways that they understand. For example, there was much thought and controversy when it was decided to use Allah in the modern Aramaic translation of the Bible in place of the Hebrew and Greek words for God.

* "mysteries" -Mystery is a key word in Daniel. (2:19, 27-30, 47, 4:9) The Greek equivalent is used in the New Testament to refer to the secret purposes of God that he reveals only to his chosen prophets and apostles who intern tell God's people. The apostles, Jesus and the Holy Spirit reveal that no new mysteries need to be revealed about God's plan of salvation for mankind.

* "what will happen in days to come" -Nebuchadnezzar had been thinking about the future, perhaps dreaming great things for his kingdom. Now, whether the king would accept or reject it God revealed to him the future.

* "your mind turned to things to come" -Nebuchadnezzar started to think about the future.

>Why did this take courage?

* Daniel 2:24-27 "Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, "Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him." Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, "I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means." The king asked Daniel (also called Belteshazzar), "Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?" Daniel replied, "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about"

* "The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory" -By saying this Daniel could have offended the king's pride for the king must have thought that he had made his kingdom great. The king's statue in the next chapter reveals his pride of accomplishment.

>What can we learn from Daniel about how to honor God?

* Fear God more then men. (Luke 12:5) With all the talk lately of Jesus, the God of love have we forgotten his glory, majesty, and power? Have we lost awe for our God?

* No one can know the true grace of God who has not first known the fear of God. (The Quotable Tozer I: Wise Words with a Prophetic Edge)

* The saving power of the Word is reserved for those for whom it is intended. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him. (The Quotable Tozer I: Wise Words with a Prophetic Edge)

* ...the good Christian is in love with one he has never seen, and although he fears and reveres God, he is not afraid of God at all! (The Quotable Tozer I: Wise Words with a Prophetic Edge)

>How did he show respect for the king?

* Daniel 2:30 "As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than other living men, but so that you, O king, may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind."

* Daniel 2:37 "You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory;"

* We should see all men in Nebuchadnezzar's position with respect even though they are ruthless and wicked.

* Daniel had a compassionate and respectful heart toward the king. He wanted the king to know God personally. Daniel received the meaning of the dream; yet he did not call attention to himself nor that the king was cruel. Instead he wanted to reveal God to the king.

>What can we learn from him?

* Daniel saw the king in light of God's word (revelation).

* Romans 13:1-5 and Titus 3:1 both say that we should submit to governing authorities because God is the one who establishes them.

* God clearly said in this dream that he installs worldly authority. God knows what is going on. God controls what is going on. God has set times that cannot be changed. He made those set times long ago.

* Daniel 7:25 says that in these last days Satan is trying to change the days and times that God has established. He will fail.

* What was God's purpose in revealing this dream? 1) Kingdoms come and go, and 2) God is sovereign.

* Why did God reveal this through such a self-centered tyrant? Nebuchadnezzar was the center figure of the first kingdom. If he accepts it, then everyone else will accept it.

* "he reveals deep and hidden things" -Throughout history God has slowly revealed his plan. Sometimes to a few people, other times to more, and sometimes to everyone. God is often a God of mystery. Why? So that each generation may be awed and humbled.

* God eventually brings hidden things to light. Just because a generation does not know, does not mean that their children will not know. A good example of this is Jesus' first coming. No one knew except a few prophets that the Messiah would come as a suffering servant first before he came as a conqueror. Even to the prophets who knew, the plan was a mystery. To this very day, at the end of the age we are in, God is revealing some things, and holding back other things.

Dreams

>7. What was the significance of the king's dream? (28)

* Daniel 2:28 "but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you lay on your bed are these:"

* Daniel 2:31-35 "'You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue--an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay. While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.'"

* The kingdoms of men start out looking awesome, but in the end they are crushed. One kingdom succeeding another has been going on for thousands of years.

* God is sovereign. He makes kingdoms rise and fall.

>8. How did Daniel interpret the king's dream?

* History and future should be viewed from God's point of view. God revealed to Daniel that the kingdoms of men should be viewed as temporary and suppressive.

* "a large statue" -Daniel did not specifically say that the statue looked exactly like a man, but many have interpreted it that way. It is possible that the statue was part man and part animal as many false gods and statues were in those days. Modern archaeology reveals that before, during and after Daniel's time kingdoms displayed statues for their gods. Some idols were of a man, but more were part man and part animal. Men and women were required to prostrate themselves before these statues. The king had to prostrate himself at least once a year before certain idols. Archaeology has also discovered statues of men, animals, and man-animals used to depict kingdoms. Daniel's words would have been easy for the king to agree with. Also, Ezekiel's vision consisted of man-animal beasts. (Ezekiel 1:4-5, 10)

Assyrian winged ox from the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad Assyrian winged ox from the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad

* See the Assyrian stone carvings to the right. The prophet Daniel was in the first group to be deported to Israel. In the second group the prophet Ezekiel, who came from an important priestly family was exiled. So was King Jehoiachin and the aristocracy. The Bible does not tell us which route the prisoners took to Babylon, but somewhere on the journey they must have seen in one of the great cities the terrifying monsters-winged oxen with human heads -which the Assyrian monarchs had set up as guardians at their palace gates. As Ezekiel 1:4-5, 10 indicates, they combined in one figure the face of a man, the head of a lion, the body of an ox and the wings of an eagle. The winged ox statue on the left accompanied by his tutelary spirit is from the palace of Sargon II at Khorsabad. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

>What did his interpretation of the dream show about the kingdoms of the world and human history? (36-44; See 5:31; 8:20; 8:21)

* Daniel 2:36-44 "'This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. You, O king, are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold. After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron--for iron breaks and smashes everything--and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others. Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay. In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever."

* "You are that head of gold" -Babylon is the only part to the statue that is revealed. From 626 to 539 B.C. Babylon was the world power, the head of gold. The identity of the next two kingdoms were revealed to Daniel many years later.

* "After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours" -From 539 to 330 B.C. the Medes and Persians, the arms and chest of silver were the world power. Daniel 5:31 states, "Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two." Daniel was later told what this kingdom is. He was told, "The two-horned ram that you saw represents the kings of Media and Persia." (Daniel 8:20)

Winged Demon with words I am Cyrus

* See the Persian stone carving to the right. This damaged monument, decorated with a bas/relief of a four winged demon, recalls Cyrus the Great. It formed part of the guardroom in a massive gateway that once led into the monarch's vast game preserve at Pasargadae. It was long thought to be a portrait of the king himself because of the inscription "I am Cyrus, the Achaemenid". It is now known, however, that these words were commonly inscribed on a variety of buildings. (The Bible as History in Pictures, Werner Keller)

* "Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth" -From 330 to 63 B.C. Greece (including its four divisions), the belly and thighs of bronze ruled the world. Daniel was later told what this kingdom is. He was told, "The shaggy goat is the king of Greece, and the large horn between his eyes is the first king." (Daniel 8:21)

* "Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom" -From 63 B.C. to now Rome and the divided up parts of Rome, the legs of iron and the feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay are the world power.

* The Roman Republic (508-26 B.C.) followed by the Roman Empire has consisted of many nations, tribes, and peoples. After Jesus' ascension the Roman Empire split in half several times only to rejoin again. In 395 A.D. the Roman Empire split in two and later splintered into many shifting and changing pieces. Yet, its basic political, financial, and ideological structure has remained until today. The first three; the Vandals, the Heruli, and the Ostrogoths were removed by Justinian in 554 A.D. at the behest of the pope. After Justinian’s “Imperial Restoration came Charlemagne (800 A.D.), Otto the Great (962 A.D.), Charles the Great (1520 A.D.), Napoleon (1812 A.D.), Hitler and Mussolini (1939 A.D.). These men reunited the many pieces of much of the Roman territories for short times. Now one final uniting of most of the nations of the western leg has joined together in the works of the European Union (started in 1958 AD). Most of Jesus' followers believe that this is the feet and toes made of iron and clay. However, what of the eastern leg of the statue, the area Israel is in? Many are trying to join these nations together under the flag of Arab interests, some calling themselves the new Ottoman empire (1299-1923 AD).

* What was not revealed in this vision is the time between the times of legs of iron and the feet would be over 2,000 years. In fact, none of the timing was revealed in this dream, only the sequence and natures of the kingdoms.

* The splendor and glory of man's kingdom becomes less and less while their power grows stronger and more oppressive. Also each section is longer than the former and thus so is their time on the world stage.

* "its chest and arms" -Daniel did not state, yet everyone assumes that there were two arms and agree that the two arms represent two kingdoms working together to rule.

* "its belly and thighs" -Daniel did not state, yet most assume that there were two thighs because all of the statue looked like a man. However, since this part of the statue represents Greece and it split into four parts when Alexander the Great died, why should it have only two thighs? Some believe the statue had four thighs and legs because it was an image, part man and part animal (i.e. bull). Still it can be argued that future chapters of Daniel only deal with two of the four kingdoms because only they had influence on Israel. One argument against this is that all believe that chapters 2-6 are only about Gentile world ruling nations. So why wouldn't it include all four thighs and legs?

* "its legs of iron" -Whether the statue had two or four legs all recognize that Rome was a single entity when it defeated Greece and when Jesus was born. Thus it could be stated that the number of arms, thighs, legs and toes aren't that important to the meaning of the dream/vision.

* "its feet... the feet and toes" -Daniel did not state how many toes the statue had. If it was entirely a man it most likely had, but did not need to have ten toes. Likewise, if it had four feet and ten toes on each foot it could have as much as forty toes. Some say that since Daniel's vision of the four beasts has the fourth beast which represents a revived Rome as having ten horns, then the statue here has ten toes. (Daniel 7:7, 20) However, Daniel 7:24 states, "The ten horns are ten kings who will come from this kingdom..." That passage says ten kings coming from one kingdom, not ten kingdoms. As with the rest of the statue's anatomy we can conclude that since the amount of toes aren't given, then the quantity is not important to the context of the dream's meaning.

III. The Rock (44-49)

Nebuchadnezzar Dream

>9. What did the rock cut out of the mountain represent? (34-35, 44-45; Compare 1 Peter 2:6-7; Isaiah 28:16; Psalm 118:22)

* Daniel 2:34-35 "While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth."

* Daniel 2:44-45 "'In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.' This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. "The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.'"

* 1 Peter 2:6-7 "For in Scripture it says: 'See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.' Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, 'The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,'"

* Peter's first quoted from Isaiah 28:16 and then from Psalm 118:22. Peter uses capstone, cornerstone, and living stone for Jesus. Perhaps Peter was thinking of Daniel's vision here when he called Jesus the living stone. Jesus gave Simon the name Peter meaning "small stone" or "pebble" when Peter confessed Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Then Jesus talked about establishing his church on that confession and "the gates of hell will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18)

* "in the time of those kings" -Daniel had just been talking about the legs and feet on the statue. God tells us through Daniel that he will start the Kingdom of God through Jesus’ preaching when the Roman Empire is ruling Israel. He also states through Daniel that Jesus' kingdom will crush the Roman Empire and Jesus' kingdom will NEVER be destroyed and never interrupted. Daniel chapter 7 expands this.

* God tells us through Daniel that Jesus the King of kings came and started building his kingdom in the hearts of his believers during the time of the Roman Empire, the fourth kingdom. He also tells us that up to this very day Jesus' kingdom has been growing in the midst of the shadow of the remnants of Roman Empire (the iron and clay feet and toes). He also tells us that very soon Jesus' kingdom will crush the final establishment of the Roman Empire, bringing it to an end. Revelation chapter 18 confirms this. This is our hope.

>What can we learn from this?

* Jesus and his kingdom are the stone cut out of the mountain.

* Among the prophets Daniel is quoted and studied most often when making reference to the end of this age. God's declarations through Daniel states that what Jesus began two thousand years ago during the time when Israel was under Roman rule, will never stop until he returns. Daniel chapter 2 and 7 records that Jesus’ kingdom will grow and grow and grow every year, month, day and second until he returns as conquering King.

> How did the king respond to Daniel's honest interpretation? (46-49)

* Daniel 2:46-49 "Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, 'Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.' Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court."

* The king fell prostrate to Daniel.

* Incense is for priests.

* No one, not even the king though anyone could do this except by the power and insight of God.

>How does God honor him?

* He gave him a good position.

* Daniel didn't forget his fellow men of God. (49)

* When Daniel exalted God, God exalted Daniel.

* Teach God's words as he gives it to us and the fear of God and God will bless us.

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