Scripture reading – Daniel 2

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Our study of the Scriptures returns to the Book of Daniel, with a fascinating chapter presenting a future panoramic vision of world empires. In Daniel 2, we will observe an image of a man who symbolized four successive empires: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation by Daniel is the focus of today’s devotional. The historical setting of our study is “the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar” (Daniel 2:1).

A Sovereign’s Dream (Daniel 2:1-13)

We find Nebuchadnezzar’s “spirit was troubled” (Daniel 2:1). The phrase, “Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams” (Daniel 2:1), implies he was troubled by a recurring dream and perplexed he was unable to remember the dream. Unable to sleep, the king summoned his counselors and related he had a dream, and his “spirit was troubled to know the dream” (Daniel 2:3). Ever willing to please the king (especially since the power of life and death was in his hands), the king’s counselors proposed, “tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation” (Daniel 2:4).

Nebuchadnezzar’s response caused the wise men to panic, for he said, “The thing (dream) is gone from me” (Daniel 2:5). The king was not only demanding an interpretation of the dream, but the dream itself! Shaken by his demand, Nebuchadnezzar warned his counselors, “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 [a refuse; a heap of ruins]” (Daniel 2:5). Nebuchadnezzar promised a reward for the man who interpreted his dream (Daniel 2:6), but the counselors answered again, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it” (Daniel 2:6).

With the threat of death over their heads, the Chaldean counselors protested, “There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter” (Daniel 2:10). Provoked by their words, the king commanded every wise man of Babylon be put to death (Daniel 2:12). Though Daniel and his friends were not among the wise men who appeared before the king, nevertheless, the command was universal, that the “wise men should be slain,” and so “they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain” (Daniel 2:13)

A Servant’s Dilemma (Daniel 2:14-16)

A Servant’s Dilemma (Daniel 2:14-16)

Learning the king decreed all the wise men of Babylon be slain, Daniel respectfully questioned the haste of the decree, and “Arioch (the captain of the king’s guard) made the thing known to Daniel” (Daniel 2:14). Daniel then sought an audience with Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:16a). He requested an allotment of time and “he would shew the king the interpretation” of his dream (Daniel 2:16b).

A Sovereign Divine (Daniel 2:17-24)

With the king’s agreement, Daniel went home. There, he requested that “Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,” intercede for him in prayer and ask the LORD to reveal Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation (Daniel 2:17-18).

When the LORD answered their prayers “in a night vision” (Daniel 2:19a), Daniel worshipped the LORD and rejoiced, saying, He is “God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His” Daniel 2:20). He boasted the LORD is the Sovereign of creation, for “He changeth the times and the seasons,” (Daniel 2:21a), and “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Daniel 2:21b).

Knowing the “deep and secret things” revealed to him by the LORD (Daniel 2:22), Daniel went to Arioch, the king’s captain. He urged him to stay the execution of the wise men (Daniel 2:24). He vowed he was able to reveal to the king not only his dream but also its interpretation (Daniel 2:24).

Daniel’s Appearance Before Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 2:25-35)

Daniel declared to the king, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days” (Daniel 2:28). Daniel told the king that in his dream, “a great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before [him]; and the form thereof was terrible” (Daniel 2:31).

The king’s vision was of a man whose “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” (Daniel 2:32-33). The golden head of the image was Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom (Daniel 2:32a, 38). It was followed by a lesser kingdom represented as having a “breast and his arms of silver” (the Medo-Persian empire, Daniel 2:32b, 39). The brass belly of the image represented the Greek empire that succeeded Persia (Daniel 2:32c, 39). Greece was followed by a “fourth kingdom [that was] represented as “strong as iron” (Daniel 2:40a), with “legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay” (this would be Rome, Daniel 2:33, 40).

Daniel’s Appearance Before Nebuchadnezzar

Daniel’s Analysis of the Dream (Daniel 2:36-45)

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream concluded with a violent event. The LORD revealed to Daniel that a stone “cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces” (Daniel 2:34, 40). The image in the king’s dream came to a violent end when it was crushed and broken by a stone that “was cut out without hands” (Daniel 2:34a) and “smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces” (Daniel 2:34b). The feet and toes of the image, represented ten nations that would emerge from the Roman empire (“the iron legs”) and would be crushed and scattered by the wind like chaff (Daniel 2:35).

The mix of clay and iron feet represented man’s futile attempt to seek peace and unity among the nations (Daniel 2:41-43). “The stone [that] was cut out of the mountain without hands” and crushed the image would become the fifth kingdom that grew to become “a great mountain, and filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).

Closing thoughts (Daniel 2:46-49)

Knowing the dream and its meaning, Nebuchadnezzar was overwhelmed and paid Daniel homage (Daniel 2:46). Daniel, however, had reminded the king that he was merely the LORD’s messenger (Daniel 2:30). The king then answered Daniel and declared, “Your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret” (Daniel 2:47).

Nebuchadnezzar promoted Daniel and made him “a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon” (Daniel 2:48). Daniel remembered his friends who had prayed for him. He wisely set them over the governance “of the province of Babylon” (Daniel 2:49a). As a man second to the king in authority over Babylon, “Daniel sat in the gate of the king” (Daniel 2:49b).

Do you know “the stone [that] was cut out of the mountain without hands” (Daniel 2:45), and “smote the image…and filled the earth?” (Daniel 2:35) The stone is none other than the LORD Jesus Christ, whom the Scriptures reveal to be “the stone which the builders rejected” (Matthew 21:42-44; Acts 4:11-12; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 1 Peter 2:7-8). The stone is symbolic of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom!

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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