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Wednesday, October 10 2012

The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image

Studies in this complete "The Prophet Daniel" series:
1. A Child Of The Exile 2. Nebuchadnezzar's Image 3. The Fiery Furnace 4. The Dream Of A Tree
5. The Hand Writing On The Wall 6. The Den Of Lions 7. The Four Great Beasts 8. The Ram and The He Goat
9. The Seventy Weeks 10. The Hiddekel Vision 11. Kings Of The North and South


Daniel was taken to Babylon as a child or youth (see The Prophet Daniel: A Child Of The Exile). By means of the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?), Daniel soon became one of the greatest prophets of all time - as even Daniel's captors, the Babylonians came to realize. It began when King Nebuchadnezzar "dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him."

"2:1 And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. 2:2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers [see Sorcery], and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 2:3 And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream." (Daniel 2:1-3 KJV)

Nebuchadnezzar's royal court was filled with supposed "spiritual advisors" who it seems Nebuchadnezzar himself recognized as frauds. Rather than just allowing them to interpret his dream, Nebuchadnezzar ordered them to first tell him what the dream was - which resulted in them confessing that they had no spiritual power at all.

Nebuchadnezzar's Image

"2:4 Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.

2:5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. 2:6 But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

2:7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.

2:8 The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. 2:9 But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof.

2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler [see What Do Leaders Do?], that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 2:11 And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." (Daniel 2:4-11 KJV)

Nebuchadnezzar responded with fury. He ordered the execution of all of the "wise men" of Babylon. That decree included Daniel - who was no fraud.

"2:12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 2:13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

2:14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:

2:15 He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king?

Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

2:16 Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation." (Daniel 2:12-16 KJV)

Daniel prayed to the LORD to tell him what Nebuchadnezzar's dream had been, which as it turned out, was actually a prophecy that the LORD Himself had given to Nebuchadnezzar.

"2:17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 2:18 That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven [see Who Is The LORD?] concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

2:19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.

Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 2:20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 2:21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: 2:22 He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. 2:23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter." (Daniel 2:17-23 KJV)

Daniel was then admitted to the king, where he first, as the king demanded of the "wise men," told Nebuchadnezzar what the dream was.

Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome

"2:24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.

2:25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah [see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah and Israel In History and Prophecy: Back To Babylon], that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

2:26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

2:27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king; 2:28 But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days [see What Happens After The Messiah Returns?]. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these;

2:29 As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. 2:30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

2:31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 2:32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 2:33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 2:34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. 2:35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth [see What Is The Day Of The LORD?]." (Daniel 2:24-35 KJV)

Daniel then interpreted the prophecy to Nebuchadnezzar. The "head of gold" was Nebuchadnezzar's own Babylonian kingdom. With that starting point, any historian, religious or atheist, can verify the correctness of Daniel's interpretation of the image: the Babylonian Empire was superseded by the Persian Empire, which was superseded by the Greek Empire, which was superseded by the Roman Empire. The prophecy continues on, right to the future from now, when the Messiah will return to destroy the "Babylon" world (see What And Where Is Babylon Today?).

"2:36 This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. 2:37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. 2:38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold [see What And Where Is Babylon Today?].

2:39 And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee [i.e. Persia conquered Babylon; see Israel In History and Prophecy: Babylon and Persia], and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth [see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids]. 2:40 And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron [see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars]: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. 2:41 And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. 2:42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. 2:43 And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

2:44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom [see What Happens After The Messiah Returns?], which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. 2:45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure." (Daniel 2:36-45 KJV)

Amazingly, just as the patriarch Joseph had done in Egypt (rising from a prisoner to the Prime Minister, second only to the king), "the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon."

"2:46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. 2:47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

2:48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. 2:49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king." (Daniel 2:46-49 KJV)

Fact Finder: The LORD gave Daniel the knowledge about how and when "the God of heaven set up a kingdom." What will that Kingdom be like?
See The Church In The Kingdom Of God, The Constitution Of The Kingdom Of God and The Church: Mission Accomplished


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This Day In History, October 10

19: Germanicus, Roman general and nephew of emperor Tiberius (Tiberius was the Roman emperor at the time of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ - see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars and Whatever Happened To Those Romans?), died at age 34 from poisoning. Note that Germanicus, from which the national name Germany is based, was a Roman name (it's no coincidence that the full official name of the Holy Roman Empire was "the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation" - see The Holy Roman Empire).

732: Charles Martel with a force of Frankish infantry repelled an invasion of France by a force of 65,000 Saracens at the Battle of Tours.

1560: Jacob Arminius was born. The Dutch theologian's teachings brought about Arminianism (a doctrine of election based upon God's foreknowledge).

1580: After a three-day siege, the English Army beheaded 600 Irish and Papal soldiers and civilians at Dun an Oir, Ireland.

1733: France declared war on Austrian Emperor Charles VI after Augustus III was elected in Poland instead of the French preferred candidate Stanislav Leszczynski.

1780: The Great Hurricane of 1780 killed up to 30,000 people in the Caribbean.

1864: The "Fathers of Confederation" met at the Quebec Conference to discuss the political union of British North America. The 33 delegates from Upper and Lower Canada, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island passed 72 resolutions as an outline to the proposed union; these eventually formed the core of The British North America Act, the original Constitution of Canada.

1899: In South Africa, the Boer War began.

1911: The Panama Canal officially opened.

1911: Chinese nationalist leader Sun Yat Sen proclaimed a republic at Wuchang (The Wuchang Uprising) and began the revolution that overthrew the Manchu dynasty.

1918: During the First World War, the German submarine UB-123 sank the Irish mail and passenger boat Leinster in the Irish Sea. Of the over 770 people aboard the ship, over 500 were killed.

1935: A coup by the pro-monarchy Greek Armed Forces took place in Athens. It overthrew the government of Panagis Tsaldaris and established a regency under Georgios Kondylis, thereby ending the Second Hellenic Republic.

1938: Germany completed its occupation of the Sudetenland by taking part of Czechoslovakia. It was one of the acts of aggression by Adolf Hitler (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion) that resulted in the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939 (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).

1973: U.S. Vice-President Spiro Agnew pleaded guilty in a Baltimore courtroom to tax evasion and accepting kickbacks. Agnew resigned later that day and was replaced by Gerald Ford, who then later became President after Richard Nixon resigned to avoid prosecution for "Watergate" (Ford was the only man to serve as both Vice-president and President without ever being elected to either office).

1985: U.S. warplanes intercepted an Egyptian civilian airliner and forced it to land in Italy. The commandeering was executed to arrest passengers who had been responsible for the earlier hijacking of the Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro during which elderly wheelchair-bound Jewish-U.S. passenger Leon Klinghoffer was murdered.

1995: Israel began its West Bank pullback and freed hundreds of Palestinian prisoners after a deal with the PLO ("Palestine Liberation Organization").





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