Study 2 A KING’S DREAM OF DESTINY
STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF DANIEL
by Francis Dixon
(Scripture Portion: Daniel 2:1-30)
This chapter is in some ways the most important prophetic chapter in the Bible as it contains what has been called the ABC of prophecy. It should be read in conjunction with Daniel chapter 7 and Revelation chapters 13 and 17. Chapter 2 centres around the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the greater part of the known civilised world; he was a mighty monarch and lived in great splendour in Babylon. In this chapter, however, we find that he was terribly disturbed by a dream. Notice:
1. THREE THINGS ABOUT THE KING
- His dream (verse 1). This was a nightmare, and in these superstitious days dreams and apparitions were regarded as portentous. What shook him was that he knew that this dream had to do with the future – see verse 29 (first part).
- His dilemma (verses 2-8; 10-11). He was in a dilemma, first, because he could not remember the dream, and then because his wise men were incapable of recalling its details and giving their interpretation of it. Neither the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers nor the astrologers could help him - and they said so (verse 10).
- His decree (verses 9, 12, 13a). The infuriated monarch ordered the destruction of all the wise men of Babylon. They were a crafty lot of imposters and they, including Daniel and his friends, must die - see verse 13(b).
2. THREE THINGS ABOUT DANIEL
- His desire (verses 14-16). He requested the king’s permission to have time to find out the dream and its meaning. What faith he had! He sincerely believed that God could and would reveal the forgotten dream and give the interpretation of it.
- His devotion (verses 17-23). Daniel shared his problem with his three friends (verse 17), held a prayer meeting (verse 18), received the answer to their prayer (verse 19), and gave all the glory and praise to God (verses 20-23). What a foursome this was, what a speedy answer God gave them, and what praise filled their hearts and lips!
- His declaration (verses 24-30). Daniel must have been very excited as he went in to Arioch (verse 24); then see him before the king (verses 25-28). In verse 29 we notice that he is very careful to give God all the glory.
3. THREE THINGS ABOUT THE DREAM
- It was divine in its origin (verse 28). That is, it was the Lord who had caused Nebuchadnezzar to have the dream. In those days, before the canon of scripture was completed, God often spoke to people through dreams - compare Job 33:15-16; Joel 2:28.
- It was clear in its details (verses 31-35). Its two main features were a statue (verses 31-33), and a rock (verses 34-35). The statue was the figure of a Babylonian man (verse 31). The head was made of gold (verse 32); the chest and arms were of silver (verse 32); the belly and thighs were of bronze (verse 32); the legs were of iron (verse 33); and the feet and toes were partly iron and partly clay (verse 33). In his dream the king saw a great rock that smote the statue on the feet (verses 34-35).
- It was prophetic in its significance. In his dream the king was given a panorama of the history of the times “of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), covering a period of at least 2500 years, which will conclude at the Second Coming of Christ. When Daniel had told the king what the dream was he then gave the meaning of it (verses 36-45).
4. THREE THINGS ABOUT THE INTERPRETATION
- It was, and is, comprehensive in its scope. The various parts of the statue represent kingdoms. The prophecy in chapter 2 is all about kingdoms - see verses 36-44. The golden head = the Babylonian Empire (verses 36-38); the chest and arms = the Medo-Persian Empire (verse 39a); the belly and thighs = the Grecian Empire (verse 39b); the legs of iron = the Roman Empire (verse 40); the feet and toes of iron and clay (verses 41-43) - what do these represent? The usual interpretation is that the feet and toes stand for a revived Roman Empire under Antichrist. Notice, however, that the feet and toes represent the last Gentile kingdom or form of government before the Lord comes; for what happened to the statue? - read 44-45. The rock is Christ. He is the Rock of ages on whom believers are built for stability and from whom believers derive satisfaction (Exodus 17:3-6). Christ is the ”stone cut without hands”. He will deal a mortal blow to all human governments, and at His coming He will set up His own glorious kingdom.
- It was, and is, certain in its fulfilment. The major part of the prophecy has been fulfilled literally. The Babylonian Empire, the Medo-Persian Empire, The Grecian Empire and the Roman Empire have come and gone; and the rule represented by the feet and toes of iron and clay - what will happen to that? It will be smashed by the coming of the great Rock. Then what will happen? The Lord Himself will rule upon the earth!
- It was, and is, challenging in its demand. If God is sovereign in the affairs of men and nations, if He is working to a plan, if He has revealed that plan in His Word, if His Son is coming to put down human governments and to establish His own rule and reign of righteousness, if we are living in the last days, then surely those of us who love and serve the Lord should be very careful how we live - look up 2 Peter 3:11-14. Read Daniel 2:36-49 again as you conclude this study.