“When all this comes true—and it surely will—then they will know that a prophet has been among them.”
Have you ever had a dream you could not remember? Did you feel that the dream was very important, but you just could not remember it?
This is exactly what happened to an ancient king. His name was King Nebuchadnezzar. In his second year as king he “had dreams” which troubled him so much that he could not sleep. His story is found in Daniel 2.
He needed help in remembering his dream so he sent for the people who claimed to know about dreams and spiritual matters:
Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, “I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.”
Daniel 2: 2-3
These wise men tried to impress the king so they spoke in his language “Aramaic” and made a simple request,
“Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.”
Here is the first sign, these guys were fakes. If they were so knowledgeable of matters of the spirit, etc., why did they not know ahead of time that the king did not remember the dream? They were not even good listeners because the king was anxious to “know the dream.” This meant he couldn’t remember the dream!
They were anxious to give an interpretation and get back to whatever they were doing, but they did not realize that the true God of heaven would soon separate the true prophets from the false prophets.
These men had something new thrown at them. The king had never before asked them to tell him the dream. Usually, he would tell them a dream and they would interpret. Interpretation is easy. You can make it up so it sounds plausible. But reading the mind of someone else is something altogether different. Only God has that ability.
“My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”
They couldn’t believe what they were hearing so they requested again that the king would tell them the dream,
“Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.”
But the king was wise to their tricks and he said,
“I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”
The fakers then informed the king that his request was not fair. But, unwittingly they said a couple of things that were true:
“There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.”
Truth #1-There IS no man “on earth” who can help the king. Only the Omnipotent God of heaven has the answers about the future.
“…there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”
Truth #2 -The “gods” do not dwell with flesh. Why? Because they are not real. They are not alive. They are dumb idols, but the Creator Himself would one day become flesh and dwell among flesh. In fact, He would come in the flesh:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
None of this mattered to the king. He was extremely angry. He was furious and made a decree to have all the wise men killed. In the king’s mind, he knew they were all fake, they would attempt to deceive him and therefore they were useless to him.
For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men;
In today’s world, there are many who claim to know more than they really do and surprisingly there are many who know the true God who are given wisdom by Him. They are confident and humble in their knowledge and wisdom. Daniel was such a man.
Daniel asked the king for more time, which was obviously granted even though the fakers wanted time too, but I think the king had heard of the God of Daniel and gave them extra time expecting they would deliver.
Daniel went back to his three friends and they had a prayer session and sought God.
“Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.”
These four men, asked for mercies regarding the secret. The secret was revealed to Daniel. His first action? “Bless the God of heaven.” May we never be in such a haste that we fail to stop to thank our Creator for His mercies. There is a blessing for us when we take time to thank God.
Daniel’s prayer of blessing to the God of heaven is below. In his blessing, he describes God’s abilities.
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
“I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”
Notice the things Daniel confirms about God:
1.) Wisdom belongs to God
2.) He changes “times” and “seasons”
3.) He sets up kings and removes kings
4.) He gives wisdom to the wise (Notice who gets the wisdom. It is the wise! Who gets the knowledge? Those who have understanding!)
5.) He reveals secret things (This fits with our opening verse from Amos 3:17-He reveals His secrets to His servants the prophets.)
The Prophets Work
Next, Daniel intercedes for the wise men, even the fakers! He could have just saved himself and his three friends, but the character trait of the person who knows the true God of heaven is to save life, not destroy it, even if the “wise men” are fakers.
Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wisemen of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; take me before the king, and I will tell the king the interpretation.”
Daniel is taken in before king Nebuchadnezzar. The king asks,
“Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?”
Before Daniel answers the king, he demonstrates, with power, the comparison between the fakers and the true God in heaven.
“The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.”
Daniel has a mini-sermon before he starts to reveal to the king what he wants to know. The mini-sermon is this: There is a God in heaven (He is real). He reveals secrets or things that man on earth would not know. These secrets are given to man through God’s servants the prophets. It is not only for the prophets benefit, but also it is for the benefit of the ones who are hearing the message from God through His prophets.
I can image the king on the edge of his seat. He can sense through Daniel’s confidence that what he is about to hear is truth and there is no guile (falsehood or fakery) from the mouth of this prophet of God. It is one man (Daniel) and his God (Jehovah) in comparison to the many astrologers, magicians, and soothsayers.
Truth does not come through the majority. It comes from the God of heaven and His prophets. It has always been a testimony to the power of God, that one with God is stronger than the majority.
Daniel begins to explain the dream:
Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
The dream is for the benefit of both the prophet (who makes known the interpretation) and the one who is receiving the interpretation so that the thoughts of the heart may be revealed. Notice the phrase:
“for OUR sakes…”
What a wise and powerful Creator! Daniel is telling the king that God’s revealing of the dream and God’s secrets are for both the speaker and the hearer!
When I read Bible prophecy, it has a strange effect of letting me know where my heart stands with God. The effect can be fearful or it can be comforting. All people have the invitation to move from fearful (lost) to comforting (saved from the penalty of sin i.e., eternal death)
Daniel tells they king the topic of the dream. It is about
“….what will be in the latter days.”
“The term “latter days” is simple to understand in the context of the dream. Since this dream will be about the “latter days” of the kingdom of Babylon and its kings we can use it in that context. But, it is also about the end of all kingdoms as well. So the “latter days” can also refer to the end of time and this earth as we know it.
The Dream Revealed
To the amazement of the King, Daniel begins to recount the dream for him. As he talks, the king starts to remember and cold chills run throughout his body:
“You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine 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 clay.[ You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.”
“This is the dream.”
An artist’s idea of the image the king saw:
The king must have been amazed as he recalled each detail. Before the king could say anything, Daniel began the interpretation. We will let Daniel interpret for us. Then we will look back at history to see if it was true. Finally, we will look into the future using the foundation of the interpretation.
Here is how Daniel interpreted the king’s dream as God showed it to him:
“Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all—you are this head of gold.”
So what does the head of Gold represent? Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “you are this head of gold.”
Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdom of Babylon are represented in both time and space as the “head of gold.” Could there be any other interpretation with something so plainly spoken?
The King must have been proud as he thought, even if just for a moment, that he was the top and the most valuable metal in the image. But, he was soon to be disappointed. Daniel continues with the interpretation of the great image,
But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.
As great and wonderful as was King Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, it would fall to another. Not just another, but an inferior kingdom. Just as silver is of less value and strength as gold, the next kingdom was to be inferior.
The Second Kingdom
Does the Bible tell us who this next kingdom was to be? Yes! The story can be found in Daniel 5. It is an interesting story about Belshazzar (The son of Nebuchadnezzar and the then current king of Babylon) The king and his subjects were having a feast with debauchery, and disrespect for things God had made holy. During the drunken sacrilegious feast, a man’s finger appears and writes a message on the wall.
This supernatural act made the king’s “countenance” change. Like his father Nebuchadnezzar, he was troubled as to what it meant so he called for the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. Remember them? They are the fakers. Just as they could not see Nebuchadnezzar’ s dream. They were unable to read the writing and make an interpretation. Sound familiar?
Fortunately for the king, the queen remembered Daniel. She told the king,
There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans,and soothsayers. Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”
Daniel’s interpretation confirms what he had told King Nebuchadnezzar with the image of God falling to an inferior kingdom,
And this is the inscription that was written:
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.
The king was slain and Babylon fell to the dual kingdom of the Medes and Persians led by Cyrus and Darius.
That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
Daniel 5: 30-31
The Medes and the Persians were represented by the arms and shoulders of silver. (Two arms-two kingdoms)
It is interesting and shows the foreknowledge of God as to how Babylon fell and the way the enemy was able to get into the walled city.
Also, before Cyrus was born, God called him by name as the conqueror of Babylon
Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut…
So how was Cyrus and Darius able to get into the walled city of Babylon?
*They dried up the river Euphrates (a familiar prophetic term in Revelation! )! This diverted the river that ran under the walls and through the city. Along the river within the city was another set of walls with gates. The citizens were protected should someone swim in under the outer walls. The enemy swimmers would then need to get through the second set of gates. But on the night of Babylon’s fall, the gates had been left open due to drunken feast! So the Medes and Persians were able to walk under the walls and up the banks through the leaved gates and into the city!
God is so amazing! He knows the end from the beginning!
* See pages 265, 266 of Volume 1 of the book The Great Events by Famous Historians in the chapter on “Conquests by Cyrus The Great B.C. 538,” by George Grote. — University Edition, copyrighted 1905, by The National Alumni.
See also The Golden Age, as of June 7, 1922. page 572.
But, there was to arise yet a third kingdom represented by the belly and thigh of brass.
“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.”
The deciding point in the fall of the Persians
reached on the field of Arbela, B.C. 331, in which the Grecians, were entirely victorious; and Alexander
became absolute lord of the Persian empire.
More could be said on this third kingdom, but let’s move on. We will talk more about each kingdom as we study the prophecies that provide more detail.
The Fourth Kingdom
The events really pick up when the powerful fourth kingdom comes on the scene,
And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.
History tells us that this fourth power of legs of iron is none other than the “iron monarchy” of Rome. Rome became the world power after it crushed the third kingdom of Greece.
Rome was in power during the life of Christ on earth and continued on for hundreds of years afterward.
4th Kingdom-Forever Division
But the prophecy does not stop there, there was to be a time when this iron would mix with clay (partly strong and partly weak substances)
It is interesting that Rome eventually was divided into 10 divisions by the invading nomadic tribes. These divisions became the modern day countries of Europe. Three of these 10 divisions were eventually annihilated so that there was only 7, but even those events are part of the prophecy were will study later in Daniel and Revelation. Those divisions of Rome are as follows:
|10 Toes or Divisions of Rome|
Daniel continues on and informs the king of something that stands to this day. These divisions of Rome would attempt to unite, but as iron does not mix with clay, they would never unite:
Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.
This 4th kingdom would be divided and would never reunite. Throughout recent history, there have been attempts to reunite the old divisions of Europe, but it has always failed and it always will because the God of Heaven has spoken. Those who have tried were:
Charlamagne, 8th Century;
Charles V l6th Century;
Louis XIV l5th Century;
Napoleon, l9th Century;
Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler, 20th Century.
All of these men invested enormous
resources and countless lives in their efforts to unite Europe, but each one failed. Even today the leaders
of Europe are trying to unite as one, but God says this will never happen!
Our Day-The Soon Coming Eternal Kingdom
Daniel ends the interpretation of the dream with a dramatic ending!
You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
Verse 34, 35
Jesus is the Rock that was cut out without hands.
For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.
I Corinthians 10:4
Daniel takes the king and the reader of this chapter to a time when God would set up his kingdom that would never end:
And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
My Friends, we are living in the “days of these kings.” The old divisions of Rome!
When Jesus returns the earth is melted and no trace of anything left on this earth will be found. Then He will make a new heaven and a new earth.
About 500 years before Jesus came to this earth the first time as a lamb to pay for the sins of a planet in rebellion, we see a prophecy concerning his second coming when he comes to “break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms.” It will stand forever!
And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
When Jesus returns the earth passes away.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
II Peter 3:10
And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
Mark 4: 62
When God destroys the earth, he creates a new heaven and a new earth that will last forever:
“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth;
And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind.
Daniel tells the king,
“The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.”
After hearing Daniels recalling of the king’s forgotten dream and the interpretation, there wells up in the heart of this heathen king both fear and joy!
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel
This is what each of us should do as we see that God is in control of the history of planet earth and of our own lives. He knows the exact number of hairs on your head. He is all powerful but most important, He loves each one of us so much as to send His son to pay for the sin we have committed.
His law, that can never be changed, shows we are sinners and deserve to die for eternity, but God makes a substitutionary sacrifice (atonement) for us so that we might live and enjoy the greatest gift he could have given us: Life to the uttermost!
The king understood that there is a God in Heaven who reveals secrets
The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”
I hope you have been blessed by this study. Next, we will look at a vision given to Daniel that repeats this dream but expands it. He will receive other visions that will demonstrate that God knows the end from the beginning.