Daniel 2: One of the Great Prophecies of the Old Testament Revealed

When we last left Daniel and friends, God had given Daniel the ability to interpret dreams. They stood strong in their faith, so God rewarded them with wisdom and balanced judgment. These gifts from God would come in handy when the opportunity to Glorify God before a pagan king arose. Let’s dig in…

Daniel 2 – Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

An interesting note here: Chapters 1, and 8-12 were written in Hebrew. Chapters 2-7 were written in Aramaic, which though a cousin of Hebrew, was spoken among the Gentiles. The focus of chapters 1, 8-12 were the Hebrews, it was written in their language. Since the focus of chapters 2-7 are the Gentiles it’s written in theirs.

One night during the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had such disturbing dreams that he couldn’t sleep. He called in his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers, and he demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed. As they stood before the king, he said, “I have had a dream that deeply troubles me, and I must know what it means.”

Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”

But the king said to the astrologers, “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble! But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honors. Just tell me the dream and what it means!”

They said again, “Please, Your Majesty. Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”

The king replied, “I know what you are doing! You’re stalling for time because you know I am serious when I say, ‘If you don’t tell me the dream, you are doomed.’ So you have conspired to tell me lies, hoping I will change my mind. But tell me the dream, and then I’ll know that you can tell me what it means.”

10 The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer! 11 The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.”

12 The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed. 13 And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.

14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion. 15 He asked Arioch, “Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” So Arioch told him all that had happened. 16 Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant.

17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened. 18 He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon. 19 That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven. 20 He said,

“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
    for he has all wisdom and power.
21 He controls the course of world events;
    he removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to the scholars.
22 He reveals deep and mysterious things
    and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
    though he is surrounded by light.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
    for you have given me wisdom and strength.
You have told me what we asked of you
    and revealed to us what the king demanded.”

Daniel Interprets the Dream

Statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream. Daniel 2. Image by Revelation TV from FreeBibleImages.org (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)
Statue of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream. Daniel 2. Image by Revelation TV from FreeBibleImages.org
(CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

24 Then Daniel went in to see Arioch, whom the king had ordered to execute the wise men of Babylon. Daniel said to him, “Don’t kill the wise men. Take me to the king, and I will tell him the meaning of his dream.”

25 Arioch quickly took Daniel to the king and said, “I have found one of the captives from Judah who will tell the king the meaning of his dream!”

26 The king said to Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar), “Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?”

27 Daniel replied, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.

29 “While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen. 30 And it is not because I am wiser than anyone else that I know the secret of your dream, but because God wants you to understand what was in your heart.

31 “In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight. 32 The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze, 33 its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay. 34 As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits. 35 The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.

36 “That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means. 37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honor. 38 He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.

39 “But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world. 40 Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes. 41 The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron. 42 But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay. 43 This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.

44 “During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever. 45 That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.”

Nebuchadnezzar Rewards Daniel

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar threw himself down before Daniel and worshiped him, and he commanded his people to offer sacrifices and burn sweet incense before him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is the greatest of gods, the Lord over kings, a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this secret.”

48 Then the king appointed Daniel to a high position and gave him many valuable gifts. He made Daniel ruler over the whole province of Babylon, as well as chief over all his wise men. 49 At Daniel’s request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to be in charge of all the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king’s court.

Daniel 2 NLT

Boldness and Confidence in God’s Ability

Before we dig into to what the statue represents, let’s look at Daniel’s attitudes and reactions…

  • First of all, Daniel was rather cool and collected even when he was told that they were going to be killed.
  • He calmly asked for an explanation.
  • When he discovered that it was all about a dream, he knew that God had given him the ability to interpret dreams. Therefore, he asked to see the king the next day.
  • That night he and his friends prayed. They were confident that God could reveal the dream to them, but they prayed first. They expected God to do something, but they had to do something first.
  • Daniel was so at peace and filled with faith that he went to sleep. God revealed King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to him while he slept.
  • Once in front of the king, Daniel didn’t take credit, but gave all the Glory to God.

The Meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

From gold to sliver, to bronze (or brass), to iron, to a mix of iron and clay. The statue is top heavy. It weakens from head to toe. The stone or ROCK, becomes a great mountain that covers the world, is the Kingdom of the King of kings, Jesus Christ.

Brass or Bronze?

Depending on which Bible version you read some may say that the torso and thighs were made of brass and some — the more modern versions — say bronze. Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin. The earliest known example of brass — an alloy of copper and zinc — is a Roman coin from circa 20 BC.

Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

Nebuchadnezzar has been shown a picture of Gentile world domination. In Luke 21, Jesus also spoke of a period, He called, “the times of the Gentiles.”

Prior to 586 BC, and the fall of Jerusalem, God’s kingdom on the earth was the nation Israel. God hoped she would obey His laws and be a witness to the world. God would make His people great! Israel would rule the world… But Israel failed. She fell into idolatry. God destroyed Jerusalem, and gave the world over into to Gentile control. That’s been our status ever since…

And it was all predicted beforehand… The head of gold, or Babylon, got first crack at world dominion. Their empire lasted from 605-539 BC. Next came the Medo-Persian Empire, the arms & chest of silver. They reigned from 539-331 BC. The Greeks were next up. They were the bronze belly and thighs. They governed from 331-146 BC.

Afterwards, came the Romans, the legs of iron. They ruled the world from 146 BC, until the 5th century AD. The Roman empire eventually split into east and west, thus the two legs of iron. The empire in the west was ruled in Rome – the eastern in Constantinople. And each of these successive kingdoms were inferior to its predecessor.

Nebuchadnezzar was the world’s most absolute despot, his whims became laws. Cyrus the Persian, had a more limited power. Once he spoke a word it became law, but he couldn’t change it if he wanted to. The Law became superior to the King.

Greeks and Romans toyed with a representative form of government – and introduced democratic ideas. There are scholars who see the clay in this vision as modern democracy – a government by the people and for the people – clay being a symbol of humanity. And as with the rest of the vision, democracy coming last is the weakest and riskiest form of government. During colonial days, Alexander Tyler wrote these words about the fall of the ancient Athenian republic…

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves money from the public treasure. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most money from the public treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s great civilizations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through the following sequence: from bondage to spiritual faith, from spiritual faith to great courage, from courage to liberty, from liberty to abundance, from abundance to selfishness, from selfishness to complacency, from complacency to apathy, from apathy to dependency, from dependency back to bondage.”

You can see where we are in this progression [I believe we are in apathy]. It could be that the “clay mixed with iron” is a time when democracy ceases and dictatorships emerge. This is how Gentile government concludes. Now, what happens to the legs of iron, or the Roman Empire? Who conquered Rome? The answer – no one! Rome wasn’t conquered from without, it crumbled from within. Yet this is the empire that’s pictured last – the feet of this image are iron mixed with clay – the iron of Rome mixed with the clay or rest of humanity.

Historically, as in this vision, Rome crumbled into many pieces. For 1000 years, Europe was a quagmire of warring city-states. Eventually, each of Rome’s fragmented parts had its crack at world dominance…

The Spanish armada ruled from the sea. British imperialism once dominated the globe. Napoleon in France, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy – all have tried to unify Europe, or ancient Rome, under one flag. But what military force has been unable to achieve, economic factors will one day accomplish.

Today, the two legs of old Rome, east and west are reuniting. After the fall of communism, a superstate has emerged. The European [Union] now corresponds with the borders of ancient Rome. Legs of iron have mixed with the clay of humanity in a Roman revival.

Today Europe… is one community. There’s a single currency, open borders, an integrated foreign policy, even a president. Of course, unification is not without its problems. The British exit from the EU is proof.

As Nebuchadnezzar’s vision foresees, clay and iron don’t naturally adhere. Yet since 1957 and the Treaty of Rome, unstoppable forces have overcome ancient hostilities to create a unified Europe. Ancient Rome is being reassembled. And why is it happening? It’s because God is at the helm.

He’s moving pieces on the board – manipulating nations until they’re aligned as His prophets predicted. Jesus told us in Luke 21:24, “Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” In June 1967, Israeli paratroopers took control of the Old City of Jerusalem. Jerusalem was back in Jewish hands for the first time since 586 BC. It was a sign – the times of the Gentiles, the period of Gentile world domination – is now drawing to a close.

Nebuchadnezzar’s image is about to crumble. The reunification of Europe is also setting the stage. Europe will eventually take the form of a ten-nation confederacy. The image that Nebuchadnezzar sees in Chapter 2 has two feet – thus ten toes. We’ll see in Daniel 7, the ten toes represent ten European nations. And it’s during the days of this ten-state, revived Roman empire, that the Stone, (cut out without hands, of supernatural origin) will strike the image and replace it with a mighty mountain, that is the Kingdom of God.

Throughout Scripture, the Messiah is represented as a stone! Here, Jesus is the stone of supernatural origin. No man was responsible for His birth or for His rise. And in the days of this revived Roman empire, Jesus will return to Earth, strike the Gentile kingdoms, and replace them finally with His reign and God’s Kingdom. This is why we get excited over what’s going on with Europe, … it’s a sign that Jesus’ coming is right around the corner.

Sandy Adams

Who will YOU TRUST? Men or Jesus?

Some final points…

  • Prophecy proves God’s power and reveals God’s plan.
  • They are astounding and accurate predictions.
  • No man-made kingdom lasts forever.
  • God is high above us and beyond time as we know it. He sees everything.
  • In Revelation 17, John sees 10 horns which represent 10 kings, just like this statue and its 10 toes.
  • As we go through this book, watch how Daniel talks to God and how he talks about God. At the end we’ll review all the Names of God that Daniel calls Him.
  • God is allowing us — mankind — to fully experience the consequences of our choices.
  • I truly admire Daniel’s boldness and confidence in God’s ability. Boldness is a behavior born out of strong, stalwart, unwavering faith.
  • All eyes are on Europe right now…

Jesus is coming back soon! James wrote…

Dear brothers and sisters, be patient as you wait for the Lord’s return. Consider the farmers who patiently wait for the rains in the fall and in the spring. They eagerly look for the valuable harvest to ripen. You, too, must be patient. Take courage, for the coming of the Lord is near.

James 5:7-8 NLT

Are YOU Ready?

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Soli Deo Gloria! To God Alone Be the Glory!