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Book of Daniel - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream - The Gentile Kingdoms
Chapter 2 - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream
Book on Daniel is interesting, not only in terms of the dreams & visions but Daniel was the first prophet to write about the Antichrist’s one-world government.
Daniel is a treasure trove of insights into world history, of the end-times, rich application on how we should live our lives in the marketplace – times of living right before God.
This chapter marks the beginning/introduction of the apocalyptic revelations in the form of dreams & visions.This chapter also outline/ snapshot of world history.A Prophecy of the Times of the Gentiles and foundational to further understanding the dreams & visions in Daniel Chapters 7, 8, 11 and Rev 13
The Purpose & Interpretation of the Dream
A brief outline of Chapter 2 – In this chapter we learned that Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. He knew it was important and he took it seriously.He called all his wise-men, sorcerers, magicians & gave them an ultimatum if they can interpret his dream. Daniel and his three friends were also affected as they served in the King’s court.Daniel asked for time to interpret the King’s dreams, they prayed and God gave Daniel the vision & he went to the King to explain the dream.
- A large statue: An enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance:
- Head of the statue was made of pure gold
- Chest and arms of silver
- Belly and thighs of bronze
- Legs of iron
- Feet partly of iron & partly of baked clay
While he was watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands, It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace but the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.
Daniel Interpretation of the Dream
Picture of the Stature
Head of the statue was made of pure gold: Babylonian Empire under Nebuchadnezzar
Chest and arms of silver: Medo-Persian Empire
Belly and thighs of bronze: Greco-Macedonian Empire
Legs of iron: Roman Empire
Feet partly of iron & partly of baked clay: Confederation of 10 sovereign states
All these represent the Gentile kingdoms that ruled the world from that period until the return of Jesus – “Times of the Gentiles.”
Babylonian empire (app 87 years) under Nebuchadnezzar was the most glorious because Nebuchadnezzar was generally recognized/accepted by historians as the first (& possibly the only) most absolute dictator in the world: Had absolute power over all the provinces that he ruled.Babylonian power over the entire civilized world as it was known that was almost complete – a sort of iron grip & dominance over other kingdoms – a rule over all mankind.
Medo-Persians (Medes & Persia): hence 2 arms -- >200 years but inferior in terms of absolute control & power
Greco-Macedonian (Alexander the Great) – Greek empire was huge extending to portions of NW India but again in terms of control & power, cannot compare to its predecessors.
Romans – appears strong but are really weak internally (moral decadence & disunity) – Western world derives much of its political ideals/principles from the Roman Empire. "Western Civilization" itself (which includes the United States in a broad sense) traces its history in large part back to ancient Rome and Greece.
Quick addendum here: Even Hitler at the height of his conquests comes no where near the Babylonian Empire in terms of influence & control – Hitler did not have absolute control over all the territories it conquered.Nazi power & control reached its zenith around 1943 (controlled much of Europe) but in a real sense, they were not absolutely dominant in the manner that the Babylonians were.
Even in 1943, they could not take Britain & USA which has just awoken from their slumber with the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 -- landing on the beach in Normandy in 1944
The feet with the 10 toes signify ten kingdomsthat come out of the Roman Empire (or out of the 4th kingdom – Ch 7 & Rev 13)
Mainstream scholars believe that this signifies a Confederation of 10 nations – Ch 7 (10 horns of the 4th beast) has further elaboration on this.Scholars – original10 nations in EU (Treaty of Rome in 1957:A political grouping – grew into an economic integration, etc) Others – group of 10 political zones: EU, ASEAN, CONCAF
The 4 kingdoms (Babylonian/Persian/Greek/Roman) that have come to past make the interpretation more certain but the 5th kingdom – 10 toes that came out of the feet is more difficult to come to any degree of certainty.
Rock: Kingdom of God, Reign of Christ
(Dan 2:34-35; 44-45):
“…….a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.”
“But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”
The Purpose of this dream given by God to Nebuchadnezzar :-
- To reveal not just to Nebuchadnezzar but to end time believers of what is to come
- To demonstrate to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel & all the Israelites in exile that God is sovereign.
Lessons for contemporary believers from Daniel 2
1.God establishes kingdoms & governments & He brings them down in his own time.
Like the Israelites in exile, present day believers all over the world must never feel discouraged & hopeless when living under a repressive or ungodly regime. When Christians see corruption, racism, deceit/lies, evil in any ruling government, we must be reminded that God is still in control.
God gave Nebuchadnezzar dominion, power, might & glory.
The 4 Gentile Kingdoms were duly dismantled by God in His time after the kingdoms had served their purposes
2.Importance of personal humility
Daniel made it very clear from the onset that it was about God.This is extremely important – to acknowledge that we are no more than mere vessels for God.We often put so much importance on God using us and we should be happy that God is using my bro/sis
3.Troubled times are kairos times
When Daniel was desperate, facing life & death situation, first thing that Daniel did was to seek the Lord.A door was opened to influence the king.Troubled times are opportune times/momentous times/kairos times
4. Know that time is short
When we understand the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, we can see that of the 5 kingdoms mentioned, 4 had already come to pass over the last 2,500.Only the 5th kingdom is yet to come but it appears that it is taking shape – the time is advancing very quickly to set the platform for the Anti-Christ to make his appearance.
Call to urgency
What are we doing: At home/in the office/leisure time The interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was just a preparatory training for bigger things to come in the prophetic ministry of Daniel
Stage 1: Interpretation of others’ dreams -- Chapters 2 & 4
Stage 2: Own dreams (sleeping) – Chapter 7
Stage 3: A vision (awake) – Chapter 8
Stage 4: Angelic visitation -- Chapter 9: the ultimate in any prophetic ministry
Lessons that we can learn for our own lives by looking at the remarkable progress of Daniel’s prophetic ministry: Humility is the key.
God use Daniel powerfully: Daniel has remained humble at all point when he actually put all of Babylon’s wise-men, magicians, sorcerers, etc to shame
Every revelation is given to prepare us for what is to come.
We need to pray like never before – personal prayer as well as corporate prayer.Before God starts to clean up this nation, He will clean up His church first. We need to roll up our sleeves & work: Make hay while the sun shines.Because when darkness falls, we cannot work anymore, season of “sudden-lies” where things will happen suddenly & unexpectedly – then, maybe it is too late.