Daniel 2:1-49 - Daniel In the Critics Den
The second chapter of Daniel had been called the backbone of Bible prophecy. And I think it’s been rightly called so. For Daniel chapter 2 really unlocks the rest of the prophecies of the book of Daniel, which in turn unlock the prophecies of the book of Revelation. If you are going to have a good handle on eschatology, (a fancy word which means a study of end times) then you need to be thourghly familiar with the book of Daniel and to have a handle on chapter 2 specifically.
Daniel in the Critics Den
Now Daniel wrote the second chapter and as he was writing, keep in mind that he was writing prophetically, that is, the events that he was speaking of had not yet come to pass. Today in 2003 we have a huge advantage because we can look back and see historically, how much of Daniel chapter 2 has already been fulfilled. And there is something about fulfilled Bible prophecy is, “that it confirms our faith, and confounds the critics. If Daniel spent one night in the lions den, his book has spent several centuries in a den of critics. The book of Daniel confounds the critics so much that they have argued “really Daniel really didn’t write the book, someone at a later time writing in the name of Daniel wrote about these prophecies after they had taken place.
The book of Daniel claims to have been written in the sixth century before Christ. It claims to be the fruit of the ministry of a Jewish captive named Daniel who occupied high positions in the courts of the kings who ruled Mesopotamia.
When it comes to canonicity of the Bible, in other words, which books really belong in the Bible, or authenticity, did Daniel write this at the time he said he did? You can develop arguments historically, linguistically, but listen, when all is said and done, a very simple and persuasive argument must be used: “You get back to Jesus”. Many colleges will teach that the Bible is nothing more than literature, and much of the Bible shouldn’t even be in the bible. This is why we need to “Get back to Jesus.”
Jesus called Daniel, “The beloved prophet” and quoted extensively from Daniel and developed his end time teachings in (Matthew 24 & Luke 21) by quoting Daniel the prophet. Jesus quoted Daniel. So either Jesus was:
1. Ignorant. Didn’t have the knowledge that these critics today have and didn’t understand that He was quoting someone that didn’t really exist, in other words, Jesus was ignorant of the scholarship that we have available to us today.
2. A Deceiver. He was deceiving people of the truth.
3. Speaking the Truth. By quoting Daniel, he putting His divine seal upon everything that Daniel said and Daniels prophecies are to be taken literally.
Christ Viewed Historical Incidents as Factual History
1. He acknowledged that Adam and Eve were created by God (Matt.19:3-5; Mark 10:6-8).
2. He verified events connected with the flood of Noah’s day (Matt. 24:38-39; Luke 17:26-27).
3. He authenticated God’s destruction of Sodom, & the historicity of Lot & his wife (Matt.24:38-39; Lk.17:26-27).
4. He accepted as true the story of Jonah (Matt. 12:40).
5. He acknowledged the historicity of Isaiah – Matt. 12:17, Elijah-Matt. 17:11-12, Daniel-Matt. 24:15, Abel-Matt. 23:35, Zechariah-Matt. 23:35, Abiathar-Mark 2:26, David-Matt. 22:45, Moses & his writings-Matt. 8:4; John 5:46, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-Matt. 8:11; John 8:39.
6. Christ did not merely allude to these stories, but He authenticated the events in them as factual history.
Time For Decision
An obvious conclusion is that Jesus Christ held a very high view of Scripture, affirming its inspiration in the entire Old Testament-the various books of the Old Testament, the precise words, and the actual letters-and He pointed to the inspiration of the New Testament.
Our response should be as Paul when he said to “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col.3:16). Our minds should be a tablet where the Word of God is written. We are to read it, study it, obey it, and apply all of its teaching to our lives.
It has been estimated that in one lifetime the average person will consume 150 head of cattle, 2,400 chickens, 225 lambs, 26 sheep, 310 pigs, 26 acres of grain, and 50 acres of fruits and vegetables. How much of the Word of God are you consuming? Again, take everything back to Jesus, “what did Jesus say about these things?”
The Lord declared "I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself" (John 12:32). Now I understand that He was speaking of His death upon the cross, but I also believer there is a very important principle that we must embrace, that is, LIFT UP THE LORD AND THE LORD WILL DRAW ALL MEN TO HIMSELF.
This chapter contains the prophecy that covers, in a general way, all the major events of human history. Daniel is given the ability to interpret a dream that reveals all the major world empires that will arise on the scene, as well as God’s ultimate plan for the world. This prophecy must be understood since it can be viewed as the foundation upon which all other prophecies are to be added.
When a person has a strong understanding of this chapter, they are then ready to study all the other prophecies in the Bible.
Walvoord writes the following about chapter 2 in his commentary:
“No where else in Scripture…is a comprehensive picture given of world history as it stretched from the time of Daniel, 600 years before Christ, to the consummation at the second advent of Christ.”
The interpretation of this chapter also lays the foundation for all three systems of understanding known as Amillennialism, Postmillennialism and Premillennialism. The key points which divide these systems are found in verse 34 on how one interprets ‘the rock which comes out of heaven and destroys the image’. Once again Walvoord writes these helpful words on the importance of this chapter:
“Few chapters in the Bible are more determinative in establishing both principle and content of prophecy than this chapter; and its study, accordingly, is crucial to any system of prophetic interpretation.”
Verse 1 The Dream
A. God at Work
1. God has used dreams and sleeplessness in the past to speak to unbelievers and to further His plan as seen in the case of Abimelech (Gen 20:3), Pharaoh (Gen 41:1-8) and of Ahasuerus.
a) There Are Many Other Examples As Well:
(1) Jacob (Gen.28:12-17)
(2) Jacobs son Joseph (Gen.37:5-9)
(3) Solomon (1 Kings 3:5-15)
(4) Joseph, the step father of Jesus (Matt.1:20, 21; 2:13, 19, 20)
In Acts Chapter 2, Peter the Apostle said "For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall be in the last days,’ God says, ‘That I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, And your young men shall see visions, And your old men shall dream dreams; " (Acts 2:15-17, NASB95)
b) God Is The Only Interpreter Of Dreams (Gen 40:8; 41:16; Da 2:27-30; 7:16).
(1) I’m convinced that the Lord speaks through dreams because sometimes it’s the only time were quiet enough to listen.
(2) Don’t think that every dream is from God. Not every dream is by inspiration, some are indigestion.
c) Nebuchadnezzar’s Spirit Was Troubled About the Future.
(1) Psychologist tell us that 90% of a persons free mental time, that is, when a person is not occupied by doing something with his mind that requires concentration, is either reliving or thinking about the past, wondering or worrying about the future. Nebuchadnezzar was worrying about what the future had for him.
Verses 2-3—The Best of the Babylonians
A. The Titles
1. The term ‘wise men’ is added in verse 27 and appears to be a general term to describe all the types; The same may be true of the term ‘Chaldeans’ or it may refer to a group of astrologers.
2. The term ‘magicians’ has its roots in the Hebrew word for pen or stylus and may refer to a scholar.
3. The term ‘astrologers’ is also translated enchanter and carries the idea of communicating with the dead or those skilled in the study of the stars (astrology).
4. The ‘sorcerers’ are those who practiced magic through incantations and spells.
a) What Does God Say About These Practices?
(1) Fortune telling, witchcraft, magic, sorcery, wizardry, palm reading, joujy board,
(2) Omen (a sign used by magicians and fortune tellers to predict future events),
(3) Necromancy (the practice of communicating with the spirits of the dead in order to predict the future), casting spells, divination techniques, charms, potions, transfiguration, dark arts, and medical magic.
(a) God commanded His people to keep themselves from cultic practices (Ex. 20:3–5).
(b) Attempting to control evil spirits were expressly forbidden (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). Among These Practices Were:
(c) Eating & drinking blood (Lev. 19:26) & rounding off their hair and beards (v.27; 21:5)
(d) Slashing their body for the dead (Lev.19:28; 1 Kings 18:28) & or for their god.
(e) Boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk (Deut. 14:21) hoping that fertility and productivity would be increased (cf. Ex. 23:19; 34:26).
(f) Worshiping idols (Deut. 7:1-11, 25; 12:2–3), sacrificing children (Lev. 20:2), participating in homosexuality and temple prostitution (Lev. 19:29).
(g) Balaam was such a “soothsayer” or “diviner” (Num 22:7; 23:23; Josh 13:22).
(h) Saul commanded the woman at En-dor to “divine” for him with (1 Sam 28:8).
(i) 2 Kings 17:17, a list of Israelite offenses, which prompted God to exile them.
Joke: Two Jr. High boys were talking and one asked the other, “Do you think that anyone can really tell the future by reading cards? The other one said, “Yep, my mom” What do you mean, the first one asked? Every time I show her my report card, she tell’s me exactly what dad is going to do when he gets home.
Verses 4-6 The Demand
A. The Aramaic Section
1. Beginning at verse 4 and continuing to the end of chapter seven, contains the section written in Aramaic.
2. The purpose for change is most likely due to the fact these chapters focus on the gentile ruling powers that God will allow to rise up in the future.
A. The King’s Impossible Demand
1. The King, or possibly no King before him, had ever made the demand that Nebuchadnezzar had requested.
2. Nebuchadnezzar may have said, ‘the thing has gone from me’ (KJV) or that ‘his decision is certain (firm)’ (NKJV). Either translation is possible.
a) The translation ‘the thing has gone from me (the dream is forgotten)’ may be the accurate one, as it would explain the reason why he demanded they tell him the dream.
Verses 7-13 The King Remains Behind His Demand
A. The King’s Suspicions
1. It appears that Nebuchadnezzar did not completely trust these “wise men” and wanted proof that they were not fakes.
2. The wise men were right in that only God could reveal such a dream and its interpretation. The Lord Jehovah is setting the stage to show His superiority over the false gods of the Babylonians.
3. Despotic rulers in those days were known to have their own people slain at a whim (v.13).
Verses 14-18 Daniel’s Request
A. Daniel’s Appeal
1. Daniel speaks with the ruler in charge and is able to appear before the King.
2. This was a great step of faith on Daniel’s part since he did not know the dream at this point, nor is there any indication that he had interpreted any dream up to this point.
A. The Reason for the Delay
1. Daniel wanted time to gather with his friends and seek the Lord in a time of prayer- May we learn from this approach.
2. They sought the mercies of God, another approach to the Lord that we should learn from (v.18).
a) Nebuchadnezzar Took His Problems To Bed; Daniel Took His Problems To God. Where do you take your problems? Don’t count sheep when you’re trying to sleep, but talk to the shepherd.
Paul wrote to the Philippians saying "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. " (Philippians 4:6, NASB95)
Jesus Himself said in the Sermon on the Mount "Do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? [THE OPPOSITE IS TRUE, WORRYING LEADS TO GREAT PHYSICAL ILLNESS] “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “(Matthew 6:25-33, NASB95)
b) Worrying Will Lead To Unfruitfulness In Your Life.
Psalm 1:1-3 says that delighting & meditating on the word of God is fruitful. "Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers." (Psalm 1:1-3, NIV)
Worrying will lead to unfruitfulness in your life “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. " (Matthew 13:22, NASB95)
This is why you are to cast "all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
The Psalmist said "I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.” (Psalm 34:4, NASB95)
Verses 19-23 Answered Prayer
1. God gave Daniel revelation as to the dream and its meaning.
2. Hebrews 1:1-3.
Here is an indication of how God wrote the Old Testament. Its purpose was to prepare for the coming of Christ. Whether by prophecy or type or principle or commandment or whatever, it made preparation for Christ.
The senses of man, marvelous as they are, are incapable of reaching beyond the natural world. For us to know anything about God, He must tell us. We could never know God if He did not speak to us. Thus, in the Old Testament, the writer reminds us, “God … spoke.”
a) God Spoke In Times Past.
(1) Long ago God spoke to “the fathers,” the Old Testament people, our spiritual ancestors. He spoke to them by the prophets, His messengers. A prophet is one who speaks to men for God; a priest is one who speaks to God for men. The priest takes man’s problems to God; the prophet takes God’s message to men. Both, if they are true, are commissioned by God, but their ministries are quite different. The book of Hebrews has a great deal to say about priests, but its opening verse speaks of prophets. The Holy Spirit establishes the divine authorship of the Old Testament, its accuracy and its authority, through the fact that it was given to and delivered by God’s prophets.
(2) Throughout the New Testament this truth is affirmed. Peter, for example, tells us that “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Pet. 1:21). “Prophecy” in that text refers to the Old Testament. No human writer of the Old Testament wrote of his own will, but only as he was directed by the Holy Spirit.
(3) Paul also tells us that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.
(4) The American Standard Version reads, “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable,” implying that not all Scripture is inspired. But all Scripture is fully, not simply in part, inspired by God. God has not hidden His Word within mans words, leaving His creatures to their own devices in deciding which is which. The Old Testament is only a part of God’s truth, but it is not partially His truth. It is not His complete truth, but it is completely His truth. It is God’s revelation, His progressive revelation preparing His people for the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.
b) In These Last Days Has Spoken To Us By His Son (v.2)
Matthew writes about "While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”" (Matthew 17:5, NKJV)
3. Daniel blessed the God of heaven (v.19).
a) Daniel stopped offered praise God before he went out to save lives.
(1) So often the Lord shows us something or gives us something and we just cant wait to get going but before we run out we should look up and GIVE THANKS!
(2) Remember to 10 Lepers in (Luke 17:11-19)? The other nine were healed, but only the one who came back and worshiped and gave thanks was made whole which speaks of not just the body but the soul and the spirit as well.
(3) Are we like the 9 or like the 1? Do we stop and take the time to give thanks to God for the great things he has done?
(4) As the Lord pours down His blessings, we should be like the Niagara Falls, the water comes down but did you know that the spray goes twice as high as the water fall back up into the air!
(5) God’s blessings are poured down and our praises should go up! Daniel was not just a prayer warrior, but he was a praise warrior.
(a) Mary was a praise warrior (Matt.26:6-13).
(b) David was a praise warrior (2Sam.6:13). When he brought back the Ark, every six steps he stopped to sacrifice to the Lord and offer praise to Him.
B. Daniel’s Response
1. Daniel instantly begins to praise the Lord for this revelation and takes no credit for this wisdom for himself.
a) God honors those who humble themselves
(1) The price Herod paid for his pride (Acts 12:19-24)
His crime for which he was executed (a.d. 44) was that he did not give God the glory, the very crime for which all the unregenerate who reject God will be condemned (Romans 1:18-23)
According to this verse, who is the one who should be glorified? "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Genesis 1:1, NASB95)
The Lord will not share His glory with another, "I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images" (Isaiah 42:8, NASB95)
There are people who like to make names for themselves. In the Rebellion at the Tower of Babel "They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth" (Genesis 11:4, NASB95)
2. This hymn of praise focuses on God’s power over any human king and the fact it is God alone who is in charge of world events.
3. This is in clear contrast to the Babylonians who were bound by the stars, fate and superstitions.
4. Daniel praises the Lord for His infinite wisdom, power and authority.
A. Daniel’s Focus
1. Daniel’s words focus on the fact that the God of heaven alone is able to make known such revelation, as compared to the inability of the Babylonian wise men.
B. Key Phrase
1. The term ‘the latter times’ is a key phrase pointing to the fact this prophecy relates to events that bring one to the end-times.
2. The term is used 14 times in the OT and obviously includes the period of the Messianic Kingdom.
3. The term can be found in the following verses and is used to describe:
-In relation to the Second Coming of Christ (Jer 23:20, 30:24, 48:47, 49:39)
-In relation to the invasion of Gog and Magog (Ezek 38:16)
-In relation to the Kingdom years mentioned in the Minor Prophets (Hos 3:5, Micah 4:1).
4. Robert Culver supplies the following definition of this important term:
“refers to the future of God’s dealings with mankind as to be consummated and concluded historically in the times of the Messiah.”
5. In the context here the term applies from the beginning of Daniel’s’ days (600 B.C.) to the culmination at the Second Coming of Christ to the earth and the establishing of His millennial Kingdom.
Verses 29-35 The Dream Revealed
Contrast of Chapters 2 & 7
Daniel chapters 2 & 7 record the vision God gave Nebuchadnezzar concerning the coming world empires (chapter 2), and the vision God gave to Daniel concerning the same events. In chapter two the vision is of a large metallic image made up of different metals, and chapter 7 consists of descriptions of different kinds of beasts. The two chapters predict the same events, but from a different point of view. Nebuchadnezzar sees the future as bright as signified in the precious metals, but Daniel sees the future as grotesque as signified by the beasts. Many scholars resolve this difference by explaining that chapter 2 refers to man's point of view of the future, while chapter seven reveals God's point of view.
1. The vision is of ‘A great image of splendor and excellence.’
a) Image here means a statue, not an idol. The image that Nebuchadnezzar saw (vv. 31-35) represented four successive kingdoms that would rule over all the earth
(1) 1) Babylon; 2) Medo-Persia; 3) Greece; 4) Rome.
1. It has a head of gold, chest and arms of silver and thighs of bronze.
a) Gold…silver…bronze…iron: The metals are listed in descending order of weight and value. In other words they are regressing in value.
b) However, even thought they are regressing in value, strength of the metals, however, increases from head to legs. This suggests increased military might during the times of the Gentiles, leading to the final world conflict of Revelation 16 & 19 which Daniel refers to in (11:36-45).
c) These four metals in this single image speak of world history in its entirety from that time until the coming of Christ. Four major, huge powerful empires unlike any in history. And something you need to remember: these four major empires had direct bearing upon the nation Israel. Each one of these four major empires relates to the nation Israel specifically.
d) As silver is inferior to gold, so Medo-Persia was inferior to Babylon, not in size but in its effectiveness in governing its people.
1. It has legs of iron; the feet are partly of iron and partly of clay.
a) The fourth empire—the legs of iron—is the only one not identified within the Book of Daniel. Rome is the most likely choice, for it succeeded Greece.
1. A stone not made with hands struck and smashed the image to pieces.
a) Without hands signifies supernatural activity
b) The stone became a great mountain. In biblical imagery, a mountain is often a metaphor for a kingdom (Ps. 48:2; Is. 2:2; 11:9; Jer. 51:25; Ezek. 20:40; Zech 8:3). The same is true in this case, as the interpretation in (v.44) makes it clear.
1. All the elements are crushed together and fly in the wind like chaff.
Verses 36-45—The Dream Interpreted
1. The ruler of the known world had been placed there personally by God (v.37).
a) The God of Israel is the God of all nations. Nebuchadnezzar owes all of his power to the God of heaven! Although the ruler of those nations may not have recognized Him as Lord, that did not nullify God’s ultimate sovereignty nor did it alleviate the rulers’ responsibility to Him.
(1) As we will see in (Chapt.3), Neb. erects an image to himself, in (Chapt.4) he says in (vv.28-30) that he built his kingdom, and we read that God removes Neb’s kingdom from him because he does not give glory to God (4:23-37).
(2) There is only one true “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” (Rev.19:16).
b) You are there because He has appointed you to be there. God rules over the affairs of man.
(1) In Jeremiah 27:1-11 God speaking of Nebuchadnezzar declared that he was God’s servant to be used of God to accomplish God’s purposes. He was there because he was ordained by God to reign.
2 Chronicles 20:6 says “O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You “(2 Chronicles 20:6, NASB95)
The writer of proverbs says "The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He wishes" (Proverbs 21:1, NASB95)
c) Romans 13:1-7—The Christians Response & Submission To Humans Authority.
(1) Government Is By Divine Decree (13:1b).
(a) No matter what form it takes, no human government at any time in history, at any place on earth, among any people on earth, at any level of society, has ever existed or will ever exist apart from the sovereign authority of God, because all “power belongs to God” (Ps. 62:11). The entire world, everything in heaven and earth, including Satan and his hosts, are subject to their Creator. God sovereignly created and absolutely controls the universe, with no exceptions or limitations. Also without exception, the power that any person, group, or society may possess is divinely delegated
When Pilate asked Jesus the question, “Where are you from”? Jesus did not respond to him "So Pilate said to Him, “You do not speak to me? Do You not know that I have authority to release You, and I have authority to crucify You?” Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin" (John 19:10-11, NASB95)
(2) Resistance To Government Is Rebellion Against God (13:2a).
(a) The logical ramification is simple. Because civil government is an institution of God, to rebel against government is to rebel against the God who has established it.
(b) The seriousness of rebellion is illustrated in (Num.16:3, 13, 31-35).
(3) Those Who Resist Government Will Be Punished (13:2b).
(a) Paul is not speaking of direct punishment from God Himself, but rather the condemnation that men suffer from the government itself as punishment for crime. Paul will mention this in (v.4).
(b) Jesus illustrates this Himself. When He was being taken prisoner in the garden, to be unjustly accused and executed, Peter drew a sword to fight the soldiers (authorities) who came to take Him. If ever there was a just cause for revolt that would seem to have been it. But Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52). Jesus affirmed that government has the right to execute a murderer.
(4) Government Serves To Restrain Evil (13:3a).
(a) If you are driving down the freeway and want to be free from having to look constantly in your rear view mirror, then keep the speed down!
(b) When criminals are not punished, this encourages crime: “Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil” (Eccles. 8:11).
(c) Disobedience to Parents (Duet.21:18-21; Exodus 21:15).
(5) Government Serves To Promote God (13:3b-4a).
(a) God intends for civil government to promote public good.
(b) A civil official is actually a minister of God (v.4), regardless of his personal beliefs about or relation to God. He is doing the Lord’s work whether he realizes it or not, by promoting peace and safety among men.
(6) Rulers Are Empowered By God To Inflict Punishment For Disobedience (13:4b).
(a) In order to promote and protect the good in society, human government must punish the evil. Therefore, those who do what is evil have reason to be afraid.
(b) Because the sword is an instrument of death, the weapon here symbolizes the right of civil government to inflict punishment, including the ultimate penalty of death for crimes that deserve it.
In the earliest period of human existence, the Lord instituted capital punishment. “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed, for in the image of God He made man” (Gen. 9:6).
When Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword” (Matt. 26:52), he was reminding His disciple that the penalty for his killing one of Jesus’ enemies would be to perish himself through execution, which the Lord here acknowledges would be justified.
When Paul stood before the Roman governor Festus and made his appeal to Caesar, he said, “If then I am a wrongdoer, and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die” (Acts 25:11). In saying that, he acknowledged that capital punishment was sometimes justified and that he would willingly accept it if he were to be found guilty of a capital crime.
(7) Government Should Be Submitted To For Conscience Sake (13:5)
Peter wrote in his first epistle saying "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. “(1 Peter 2:13-15, NASB95)
2. The fact he ruled over the animal kingdom may be a reference to Gen 1:26.
"Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth" (Genesis 1:26, NASB95)
a) So what is being said is that Nebuchadnezzar is in supreme authority as any man could ever be.
b) It also reflects the Babylonian New Year Festival, when the reigning king was annually enthroned as the earthly representative of the Babylonian god Marduk who in their eyes was the creator.
1. The Head of Gold is the kingdom of Babylon.
2. This kingdom ruled the world from 626 B.C. to 536 B.C.
a) The Head of Gold (2:37–38).
(1) Nebuchadnezzar was the leader, ruler of the Babylonian Empire; he was a king of kings to whom the God of heaven had given sovereignty over the world (cf. Jer 27:6–8). And note that it was an absolute monarchy. He was the authority.
(2) The Babylonian Empire in history was the most powerful empire there ever was. It had more of an effect on the known world than any other empire since then. That’s why it’s gold, that’s why it’s the head. The head of gold symbolized him.
(3) Since Nebuchadnezzar was the embodiment of all that Babylon was, the head represented the Babylonian kingdom as well as its king. This symbolism was appropriate for two reasons.
(a) First, Babylon was called the golden city (Is 14:4) because gold was used profusely to decorate its shrines and public buildings.
(b) Second, the idea of world empire originated with the Babylonians. The policies which were formulated in Babylon continued to control succeeding empires even as the head controls the body (2:37f.).
(4) Now today in our country and culture were not very much into history and so many of us don’t have any background to work from as far as the history of the world goes especially in ancient times. But when you do read and study history, everyone agrees that the Babylonians were unrivaled as far as power and influence on the world.
1. Another kingdom of silver (the chest) is the Medo-Persian empire.
a) I was not inferior in geographical size but in central authority and fine organization.
b) This Kingdom ruled the world from 526 B.C. to 330 B.C.
c) Daniel later identifies these by name (5:28; 8:20-21; 11:2).
(1) The Medes and Persians or the Medo Persian Empire will talk about this in coming chapters. The story is given to us. The Babylonians were overthrown in 530bc by the Medes and the Persians that’s why there are two arms, it’s a double empire. Later in chapters 7 & 8, Daniel is going specifically talk about the Medes and the Persians being the next empire. This was long before it took place so you need to remember that Daniel is speaking prophetically about the Medes and the Persian when they were not a threat to anybody.
(2) Now, the Medes and the Persians were not an absolute monarchy but it was a constitutional monarchy. And that will figure in later on when Darius throws Daniel into the lions den because he can’t break what he said after he had signed a decree (6:8-9). Darius was under constitutional regulation to keep his word; he could not change his mind.
(3) So the empire of the Medes and Persians was not as great as the Babylonians in scope nor the rulers, they were limited constitutionally. They were overthrown in 330 or there about b.c. that Daniel is going to name the Grecians.
1. Another kingdom of bronze (the thighs) is Greece.
a) This Kingdom ruled the world from 330 B.C. to 65 B.C.
(1) A guy named Alexander the great came down. This guy conquered all the known world at the age of 33 including the Medo Persian empire and then he cried like a baby because there was nothing else to conquer (Mark 8:36).
(2) So what did he do? After he made that statement he threw a party and got drunk, so drunk that when he left the party, it was raining, he got drenched, caught nomonia and died at the age of 33, heart broken and depressed.
(3) Contrast that with someone else who died at the age of 33 who truly conquered the world, sin and death, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
1. Another kingdom of iron (the legs) is Rome.
Now 2 legs of iron, there is a stop. In AD 70 the Romans came down to Israel and annihilated the temple, overthrew it and the Jews scattered. From that time on Israel was never a Sovereign nation it was always held by other powers. It was held by the Romans and then came the Turks, (therefore, the Palestinians have no right to say this is our homeland it never was. The last people to occupy that region of the world independently were the Jews in AD 70. When the Romans came in it was always occupied by somebody else).
Until 1948. What happened then? The clock starts again because Israel re-emerges again as an independent Nation. The Jews go home and are established as a nation. And there is one last element of this statue that comes in to play and were seeing it happen right now.
Check this out: in the legs as it gets to the feet, it changes composition a bit, these ten toes part iron but part clay, which is brittle and doesn’t hold together very well.
May 1948 Israel becomes a nation, May 9th, 1950 2 years later 6 nations come together in the City of Rome and form the treaty of Rome and they start a new resurrected Roman Empire. An extension of the legs, and they call it the European common market.
Check this out, when you read those treaties that were signed in 1950 they called themselves the Big Ten. Their goal was always to have 10 nations. And a few years ago Greece became the tenth nation of what is now called the European community.
a) The two legs represent the fact the kingdom split into an Eastern and Western Empire in 364 A.D.
b) Constantinople became the capitol of the West and was conquered in 476 A.D. and the Byzantine Empire lasted until 1453 A.D. when the Turks conquered their territory.
c) The crushing represents the manner that the Roman armies conquered and destroyed their enemies.
The Crucial Point
A. Theological Systems
1. The Amil and Post-Mil position interprets the stone to be the first coming of Christ.
2. The Pre-Mil position is that it is the same event as in Revelation 19 and will happen at the Second Coming of Christ.
B. The Gap
1. The gap between verse 40 & 41 can be explained the same way there is a gap between Is. 61:1-2a and 61:2b (see Luke 4:17-19).
2. The Roman Empire never had a time when 10 Kings came together to form one empire.
3. Rome still in existence after the Lord had come and gone.
4. Rome was destroyed due to internal decay not Christianity.
5. This could not have been fulfilled in 70 A.D. since elements of Matthew 24 were not fulfilled.
6. The destruction does not seem gradual here but instantaneously as seen in Rev 19:11-21.
7. The Gentile Kingdoms are still on power today not the Church.
1. Another kingdom of iron/clay is the kingdom of the anitchrist.
a) The ten toes are 10 kings (nations) that will come together in the last days as part of the last world empire.
1. Partly strong and partly fragile suggests the final 10 nations will not be completely unified in purpose and politics.
1. The clay and iron will not mix has been interpreted three ways:
a) The marriage of politics and princes.
b) Diverse forms of governments.
c) The attempt to mingle the different nationalities together.
2. The key idea is that there is an inherent weakness that will eventually lead to its disintegration.
1. The fifth and final kingdom is God's Eternal Kingdom.
a) ‘In the days of those kings’ means in the days of the 10 kings.
b) Rev 19:11-21 presents the time this kingdom will be destroyed. Let’s read that.
c) “Which shall never be destroyed”. The eternal kingdom of God, the Messianic kingdom, will extend over “the whole earth”, and all who reject Jesus, the Messiah, the Stone, will be crushed. Ps. 118:22-23; Is. 8:14; Matt. 21:44; Luke 2:34; 20:17-18; 1 Pet. 2:3-8);
1. The ‘stone cut without hands’ represents God's work and not man’s.
a) “The dream is certain and its interpretation is sure”. You can be sure this is going to happen!
b) The coming of the Lord is at hand! That stone cut without hands is the Rock of our Salvation, Jesus Christ!
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 1 that “Jesus is a stone of stumbling” (1:23)
Peter writes in his 1st epistle "For this is contained in Scripture: “Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone, And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.” This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, “The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,” and, “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense”; for they stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this doom they were also appointed" (1 Peter 2:6-8, NASB95)
Listen to the words of Jesus "Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken from you [the Jews] and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it. And whoever falls on this stone will be broken; but on whomever it falls, it will grind him to powder“(Matthew 21:42-44, NKJV)
c) Stone—Christ as the Stone is revealed in a threefold way:
(1) To Israel, Christ, coming not in Messianic glory but in the form of a servant, is a Stumbling Stone and Rock that leads to falling (Is 8:14-15; Rom 9:32-33; 1 Cor 1:23; 1 Pet 2:8).
(2) To the Church, Christ is the Foundation Stone and the Head of the corner (1 Cor 3:11; Eph 2:20-22; 1 Pet 2:4-5).
(3) To the Gentile world powers (see Times of the Gentiles, Luke 21:24, note; Rev 16:19, note), Christ is to be the Striking Stone of destruction (Dan 2:34). Israel stumbled over Christ; the Church is built upon Christ; Gentile world dominion will be crushed by Christ.
d) You are either broken before Him in repentance, or you will be broken by Him in judgment.
(1) For those who will not have Jesus as Deliverer, He becomes their Destroyer. Just as the Father has given all salvation to the Son (John 14:6), He has also “given all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22).
(2) “If anyone does not love the Lord, let him be accursed,” Paul declared (1 Cor. 16:22). To put that truth in the language of this text, let such a person be broken to pieces, crushed into powder and scattered like dust just as the Lord Jesus Christ Himself had warned. God’s enemies are destined to be pulverized into nothingness To try to destroy Christ is to assure one’s own destruction.
(3) We can be broken in humble surrender before God or be completely broken in judgment.
The writer of Hebrews says that “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Heb.10:31)
Verses 46-49 Nebuchadnezzar Worships and Blesses Daniel
A. The King’s Response
1. Nebuchadnezzar bows before Daniel but then also acknowledges the God of Daniel.
2. Josephus records when Alexander the Great bowed before the High Priest of the Jews. One of his generals (Parmenion) asked him why he was doing this when most men bow before him, he replied:
“It was not before him that I prostrated myself, but the God of whom he has the honor to be high priest.”