From Daniel 1-3
Exiled to Babylon in 605 B.C., Daniel was one of several young men chosen to serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. When Persia conquered Babylon in 539, Daniel was again given a position of power. He remained faithful to God in both of these hostile environments. From the interpretation of dreams, to the familiar stories of the fiery furnace, the lions’ den, and the handwriting on the wall, to the prophetic visions, the recurrent theme is God’s sovereignty over human affairs. In the historical sections (chs. 1–6) God supernaturally rescued Daniel and his friends. The rest of the book consists of visions of future judgment and deliverance by the Messiah. Some of Daniel’s prophetic themes are echoed in the New Testament, especially in Revelation. (The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
Looking at the overview you can see a general pattern through Daniel. I have described the pattern as Plight-Saved-Glory. God’s people are exposed to some sort of trouble, God saves them in some manner, and God gets glorified. Today’s passage is an instance where God reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s dream to Daniel and Daniel interprets it to Nebuchadnezzar. In doing so God saves the Jewish leaders in Babylon.
31 “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening.
The head of this image was of fine gold,
its chest and arms of silver,
its middle and thighs of bronze,
its legs of iron,
its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.
As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together we’re broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. (Dan 2.31-35)
Daniel describes a great image. But the image is gradually cut down and broken into pieces. The image is finally replaced by a great mountain. The mountain is stronger than the image because it lasts and it fills the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. (Dan 2.36-38)
Nebuchadnezzar is the gold head. But he and his kingdom will be succeeded by another.
39 Another kingdom (of silver) inferior to you shall arise after you, and
yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. (Dan 2.39)
Kingdoms keep arising after him Notice the third kingdom rules over all the earth. Is this the last? No.
40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these.
And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. (Dan 2.40-43)
The next two kingdoms rise and fall just as the ones before them. No kingdom seems to last.
44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” (Dan 2.44-45)
Daniel predicts the great mountain kingdom. This kingdom will never be destroyed, it will bring all others to an end. Who will do this? Whose kingdom is it?
Story of Israel
The prophecies in Daniel were remembered by the Jewish people. They waited for their fulfillment. In some cases they attempted to count off the years to predict when they would happen. Those who know history know the Babylonians were followed by the Persians, the Persians by the Greeks, the Greeks by the Romans. None of these kingdoms lasted.
Story of Jesus
The apostle Paul speaks of the kingdoms and rulers of the world brought under subjection to the kingdom of Jesus. After Jesus died and rose again Paul spoke of our current time when Jesus is making all this happen.
22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits (he rose from the dead), then at his coming those who belong to Christ (the will rise from the dead). Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. (1 Cor 15.22-26)
The great mountain (whose kingdom never ends) is God. Jesus is the one who destroys all other kingdoms.Not even death will stand against him and he has demonstrated this already because he has risen from the dead. Nebuchadnezzar unintentionally predicted the gospel, the coming of God’s kingdom (Mk 1.14-15).
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