1And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. 2Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 3And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.
19Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his.
31Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34Thou 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. 35Then 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. 36This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.
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 thereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
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.
One of the most outstanding and unusual characteristics of the Bible is prophecy. No other ancient religious book has anything like it. Other religions did have prophets, but these were more or less in the class of fortune-tellers or political prognosticators.
Most of these, like the prophets of Baal, tried to please their superiors by giving them the prophecies they wanted to hear. In contrast, the true prophets of the Lord were fearless and often prophesied against the sins of the kings even at the risk of their lives.
Prophecy must be extremely important for the Bible contains so many passages in which it is emphasized. Old Testament prophets pointed to the first advent of Christ and beyond. New Testament prophets, like Paul, Peter and John, passed on to us what God had revealed to them concerning Christ’s second advent and eventual reign over the world.
It would seem that prophecy should be studied more zealously than ever before. We should not be deterred by people who foolishly disobey Jesus’ instructions by presuming to receive revelations as to the time of the Second Coming of Jesus.
Many people seem to have an uneasy feeling, a premonition of doom, a curiosity about the future. We might call it space age uneasiness. Why not tell them the truth! To what better “source book” can you direct them than the Bible?
Christianity is the only religion which has the element of prophecy in it. Its Scriptures dare to reveal the destiny of nations and people in terms of events centering around Jesus Christ.
We are instructed to read the Book of Revelation and promised happiness if we do.
Blessed is he that readeth and they that hear the words of this prophecy and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
How many Christians are aware of this promise? How many have taken advantage of it and fulfill their part? We have no excuse for not reading this wonderful book, the Bible. It is a timely message for our day.
What a challenge to the sinner to get right with God. What a challenge to the “born again” believer to be spiritually alert in preparation for the Second Advent of Christ. When speaking of the signs of His coming, Jesus Himself told His followers that they should be vigilant, and not be misled by deceivers, false Christs and false prophets.
Matthew 24 (Main Speaker, Jesus)
1And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. 2And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. 3And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? 4And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 6And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences and earthquakes, in divers places. 8All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another and shall hate one another. 11And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. 15When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) 16Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: 17Let him which is on the house top not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 19And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! 20But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: 21For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. 22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. 23Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. 25Behold, I have told you before. 26Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not. 27For as the lightning cometh out of the east and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 28For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. 29Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: 30And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all of 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. 31And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 32Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer is nigh: 33So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 35Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 36But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 40Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 42Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. 43But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. 47Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. 48But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; 49And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; 50The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, 51And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
How can a Christian study prophecy and not be thrilled about the plans which God has for His own, not be warned by the strong delusions which will prevail in the last days and not be busy about His Master’s business?
Today, people are alarmed at the hatred and violence directed toward parents, clergy, police and other authority figures. Christians, who read their Bibles, know that The Antichrist will promise a “new order,” a government of peace and safety.
The world will realize too late how he has deluded, misled the people. They will realize they have been brainwashed into making him a god while they have become mere numbers to be manipulated as he wills.
The Bible also states that all human government will fail. The last world empire seen by Daniel and John in their visions will be dominated by The Antichrist and will fall as all world empires before its time have fallen. The Christ will come to set up His Kingdom where true peace and righteousness shall dominate the earth.
It is evident in American society that there is an immense interest in the occult. Many people don’t read their Bibles, but they do consult astrological predictions daily.
The decade, ten years of the ‘60s, seemed to be a time when great vacuums were created in the lives of many young people. They lost faith in the established church, in government and in God.
God was said by the theologians to be dead and no longer speaking to man. Young people were educated to be sceptics, to scoff at the belief in supernatural events, to place confidence in themselves to handle any problem. They looked for spiritual release through drugs only to find eventually that they did not have the answer.
In man’s quest for truth, for peace and for freedom, he has not been able to live without the supernatural. His innate curiosity, which has been present from birth, to know God, has been misdirected to experimentation with witchcraft, spiritism (a belief that the living and the dead can communicate), astrology and the occult.
The Scriptures have warned us about this. God’s answer is to direct people to the Gospel which is still the power of God unto salvation. The born again soul knows that he has found the Source of true power in a living Christ.
Our lesson today is found in Daniel the second chapter, but back in chapter one is phase two of the captivity and it records that Daniel and other promising young Jews were taken to Babylon and given the best possible education so they might be advisors to the king. By the special favor of God the young Jews were the most brilliant of students.
In Daniel Chapter 2 King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him greatly so he called together the most eminent scholars of Babylon. He demanded an explanation of his dream. “Tell us your dream,” the scholars said, “and we will show the interpretation.” But the king demanded that they tell him both the dream and the meaning of it.
“The thing is gone from me,” said the king. Some scholars of the Bible think that he had forgotten the dream and wanted the wise men to tell him what he had dreamed. Others thought that the king remembered the dream but was testing the ability of his magicians and sorcerers.
Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men were experts in heathen wisdom, religion, magic and fortune telling. They knew all the formulas. If the king would only tell them the dream, they could put their heads together and come up with some sort of interpretation. Probably that was just what the king was afraid of. If they could tell him what he had dreamed, he would believe that they could tell him what it meant.
The “scholars” protested that it was impossible for anyone to tell him what he had dreamed. The angry king ordered all the wise men of Babylon to be killed, but Daniel was able to get the slaughter postponed while he and his friends prayed that God would reveal the dream and its meaning to them. God did and then Daniel went to the king. The wise men were right. It was true that no man on earth could do what the king asked, but Daniel said, “There is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets.” God had revealed the dream and the meaning to Daniel, and our text records how Daniel told the dream and its interpretation to King Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel described the dream as vividly as if he had seen the image himself. Indeed he had, for God had revealed it to him in a vision.
Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
How long Daniel and his friends prayed we are not told.
He who believes that God hears and answers prayer is not discouraged by the fact that he does not get the answer as soon as he begins to pray. He recognizes the fact that prayer is warfare, and that sometimes the warfare has to continue for quite a while in order that the enemy may be defeated, and God’s answer get through the opposing forces that in the heavenlies are doing their utmost to keep the prayers of the saints from reaching the throne of God and the answer of the Lord from coming down.
As Daniel prayed, he believed. It is useless for us to pray unless we believe. It is the prayer of faith that gets results.
Notice how careful Daniel was not only to give all the glory to God, but also to refuse any credit for himself. Notice, too, that God did not give the dream and interpretation to Daniel just to save his life. God was indeed faithful to Daniel, but God’s faithfulness reached out to deal with others, including the undeserving heathen king. God’s faithfulness and mercy toward men is always pure grace.
The following verses show that the image was in the shape of a man and was made of various kinds of metals. It was remarkable in three ways:
First, it was great; it was big. We can easily imagine that it towered above the king, maybe many times as tall as he was.
Second, its brightness was excellent. Perhaps it was polished to reflect the sunlight in the dream or perhaps it was brilliant with a light of its own.
Third, its form or appearance was terrible, awesome, frightening.
A fourth feature of the image was the different metals from which it was made. Proceeding downward from the golden head, each metal was less valuable. Strongest of all was iron, but at the bottom its strength became weaker because it was diluted by a mixture of clay.
The image, the idol, was that of a large man with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, lower body of brass, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay.
In the dream a stone from a mountain came hurtling against the feet of the image and broke it in pieces. Nothing was left of the image. The stone which destroyed the image grew into a great mountain and covered the whole earth.
Daniel 2:34 tells us that a stone was cut out without hands. This was no act of man; it was God’s doing.
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.
The big “image” (the powers that be) simply ceased to exist!
In Daniel 2:27-30 we learned that Daniel had already explained to the king that he himself had no wisdom to interpret the dream, but God had revealed the dream to him to pass on to the king. The golden head of the image represented Nebuchadnezzar, the ruler of the great empire of Babylon. He ruled to the fartherest provinces; he ruled even the animals and birds.
After his kingdom had come to an end, another empire would arise, the Medo-Persians, inferior to Nebuchadnezzar’s and after that kingdom, yet a third great power, Greece, represented by the bronze belly of the statue, would arise to rule the world.
Following it, the fourth kingdom, Rome, would arise, strong as iron, smashing, bruising and conquering. The feet and toes, part iron and part clay…later on this kingdom will be divided. Some parts of it will be strong as iron and some as weak as clay.
This mixture of iron with clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage of their rulers, but this will not succeed, for iron and clay don’t mix.
44And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, 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. 45Forasmuch 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.
The stone cut out without hands, verse 45, represents a kingdom established by God, not man. In the days of these kings, represented by iron and clay, God will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed as were the kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome.
This Kingdom is not of this world.
Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
This Kingdom belongs to the poor in spirit.
Matthew 5:3 (Jesus speaking)
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This Kingdom belongs to those who are born again.
Jesus answered, Verily, verily I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
This Kingdom belongs to those who have the fortitude to endure much tribulation.
Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
This Kingdom belongs to those who have too much determination to turn back.
And Jesus said unto him, No man having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
In the days of “iron” (Rome), God sent His Son into the world to redeem mankind for a Kingdom not of this world.
God’s Son will come again to separate the redeemed from the lost (the unredeemed), to gather His people into His Kingdom for eternity.
Matthew 25:31-36 (Jesus speaking)
31When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32And before him shall be gathered all nations and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. 34Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.