This morning the Lord took me to Daniel chapter 2. To lend a little context, this chapter begins with Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylon) having a disturbing dream Being the king of Babylon that he was, Nebuchadnezzar summoned the resources of Babylon to interpret his dream: the magicians, the enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers. But because he also did not trust these people, he challenged them by threatening them with death to describe the dream before interpreting it. Of course, the workers of darkness confessed, “there is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks […] 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.” As you might imagine, this infuriated the king who ordered the execution of all of the wise men of Babylon, to whom Daniel and his three friends (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah) belonged.
A Little Back Story
Daniel and his friends were taken captive along with many other jews when Babylon invaded and overthrew Israel. The king took “the best of the best” of Israel from the royal family and nobility for himself to serve him in the king’s court. The bible describes them as “young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified.” They were to learn the literature and language of Babylon, basically do all things as the babylonians do for a period of 3 years, then enter into the king’s service.
Daniel and his friends were from the tribe of Judah. The babylonian chief official changed their names to suit their new identities, but the bible states that Daniel “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and new wine.” After some back and forth with the king’s official, Daniel asked to be tested for ten days after a diet of water and vegetables (we know it today as the Daniel fast) followed by a testing of comparison between them and the other men who ate the king’s food. The bible says, in verse 15, “At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.”
And I want to hone in on these verses here: “To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.” Apart from that, the four men entered into the king’s service after Nebuchadnezzar found them 10x better in matters of wisdom and understanding than the court’s magicians and enchanters.
It’s A Set Up
Chapter 2 opens up with this dilemma of dream telling and dream interpretation. Had Daniel not been prepared beforehand, and had he made the choice not to defile himself, we would not be the beneficiaries of the godly wisdom and last days revelation through many prophetic visions and dreams. We would also not have his example of courage and faith in times of crisis.
So, when Daniel learned of the decree that all of the wise men would be executed for failing to reveal and interpret the dream, he went to his friends and urged them to plead for mercy from God. The same night, the mystery of the dream was revealed and an interpretation was given. And Daniel praised God, saying:
“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 thing; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells in him. I thank you 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.”
Interpreting The King’s Dream
Daniel, before Nebuchadnezzar, makes a disclaimer that gives total glory to God. He says, “No wise man, enchanter, magician, or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, BUT there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. From there, he goes on to paint the vision of Nebuchadnezzar resting, the thoughts he was having and the dream as it unfolded. He describes a large, towering statue made mixed metals from head to toe, and each metal carried a symbolic and prophetic interpretation that we can realize having studied the rest of the bible:
Head: made of gold, represents the empire of Babylon
Chest and Arms: made of silver, represents Medo-Persian empire
Belly and Thighs: made of bronze, represents the Grecian empire
Legs and Feet: made of mixed iron and clay, represents the Roman empire
And here’s where it gets even more interesting. Daniel says, “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 (the roman empire) and smashed them. Then the iron, clay, bronze, silver and gold were broken into pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor (harvest season) 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. […] In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, not 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 rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces.”
Jesus’ ministry came during the Roman empire. The church itself was born after the resurrection of Jesus, and after he gave the Great Commission. Peter (called Petras, or the rock (Matt. 16:18) symbolizing the church) and the disciples began evangelizing and advancing the kingdom of God. God will set up His kingdom on earth, and eventually the kingdoms of the earth would pass away, without a trace of them ever having existed.
When in Babylon, Don’t Do As The Babylonians Do
Neb was blown away by Daniel’s interpretation and revelation. Daniel and his friends were promoted, and then Nebuchadnezzar goes onto commission a gold statue of himself (90 feet high x 9 feet wide) for the people of Babylon to worship. The bible speaks of a final empire also known as Babylon in the book of Revelation (Rev. 17). This final babylon opposes the rule of God and operates as a counterfeit to the kingdom of God. So, study the word of God, and everything that describes the kingdom of heaven is opposite to the kingdom of Babylon.
The Lord spoke this to me today:
“My rock has been cut. My kingdom is an eternal one, and soon all nations will know that it is by my hand that the kingdoms and systems of this world are overthrown. I shatter. I destroy. I build up. I tear down. I am coming to set up My kingdom on the earth that will never be destroyed, just as I do not share My glory with another. My Daniels, my prophets will prepare the way. They announce what I will do. They are strategically placed by My hand to announce, decree, and declare My will before it comes to pass. I do this so that those who are Mine will prepare themselves to rule and reign. To receive their bridegroom. To make their temples holy unto Me.”
“You will see a distinction between those who are Mine and those who belong to the world. I am revealing My mysteries spoken of long ago, even now.”
I want to leave you with Daniel’s prayer of praise mentioned before: “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 thing; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells in him.”
I pray that you are seeking God for his knowledge concerning the days to come, the posture of your heart and all things eternal. Heaven and the earth you know is passing away, but his word will not pass away.