VERSE 1: And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. In other words, he could not fall back to sleep because the things that he had dreamed of began to disturb and trouble him. I am sure that we can all relate to this.
What we see here in these verses is that God is using a pagan monarch to set forth the course of the Gentile nations from Nebuchadnezzar's day right down to the end of the age and to the establishment of the Kingdom. So, King Nebuchadnezzar begins to have these dreams night after night.
Unable to Interpret
VERSES 2-5: Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation. The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: 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. In other words, "You are to tell me the dream and the interpretation of it." Of course, they were not up to the challenge. If anything, this proves that the Devil is not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. The Devil had no way of knowing what the king had dreamt and therefore was unable to tell it to his little stooges.
Testing the Wise Men
VERSES 6-8: But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. In other words, the king is saying that he had forgotten the dream. This may or may not have been the truth, because he may very well have been putting his "wise men" to the test! Finally, he accuses them of stalling for time, because their heads had been put on the line.
Not Really Forgotten
VERSE 9: But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof. This verse leads me to believe that he had not really forgotten the dream, but was testing them.
VERSES 10-11: The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. They admitted that they couldn't do it unless he gave them more information. It sounds like their God's were not big enough to me.
Everybody Was in Trouble
VERSES 12-13: For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. Now, not only are all of the wise men in Babylon in trouble, but also Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah because they were wise men too. Remember back in chapter one it told us that the reason these young princes were brought to Babylon was to be educated so that they might serve in the king's palace (Dan 1:4).
Time to Pray
VERSES 14-18: Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. So, Daniel figures that it is time to pray!
VERSE 19: Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. God heard their prayers and granted them mercy. So, Daniel and his friends rejoice. Not only because their lives had been spared, but also the lives of the otherwise men.
Notice that by God answering Daniel's prayers, it not only benefited him but also all of the otherwise men in the kingdom. The Bible says that it "rains upon the just and the unjust." Because God blesses His people; those around them get blessed too! I believe that God's people are the glue that holds families, communities, and even nations together.
He Is Able
VERSE 20: Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: You see, God was able to do what man in his wisdom and might could not. We need to learn from this; when the blessings of God are upon us we need to express praise and gratitude knowing that it was not us but all Him!
VERSES 21-23: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter. Imagine, one minute your life is at stake and the next minute God saved it.
That had to have been what these young men felt. Theologically, this is called a doxology which is a spontaneous expression of praise.
There is a God in Heaven
VERSES 24-28: Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation. The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof? Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; Look at what Daniel says in v.28, But there is a God in heaven. Here is Daniel, a slave, standing before the world's ruling monarch declaring the power of God. Man, I wish that the church was better at this. Sadly many Christians have a difficult enough time just praying over their food in a public place. We need to remind men every chance that we get that there is a God in heaven! Better yet, we need to live like there is a God in Heaven!
The Latter Days
Notice in v.28 that it says that God will show him what shall be in the latter days. King Neb's dream covers a period from 600 BC until the day in which you and I live, and right on down to the establishment of the Kingdom.
VERSES 29-30: As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. Notice the humility of Daniel when he says, But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living.
The Great Image
VERSE 31: Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. From this point on we will study this great image which has to do with the Gentile Age which began officially with the fall of Jerusalem to Babylon in 600 BC and will continue until the return of Christ in Revelation 19.
Though I do not believe that we need to necessarily be looking for signs, certainly there are things going on that point to the possible end of the Gentile age; specifically the restoration of Israel as a nation in March of 1948 (Eze 37:1-14). And I believe that a second was in 1967 when during the Six-Day War when Jerusalem was liberated from Gentile control. This may be, or not, a fulfillment of Luk 21:24. Today Israel is an independent nation.
Interpretation of the Dream
VERSES 32-35: This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. So, here is the image. It is made of gold, silver, brass, iron, and clay.
VERSE 36: This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Now Daniel begins the interpretation. Remember that the King wanted him reveal the dream and then interpret it.
The Head of Gold
VERSES 37-38: Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. The head of gold is Babylon. Easy enough as that he said as much.
Breast and Arms of Silver
VERSE 39: And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. Next would come a kingdom that was inferior to Babylon followed by another that will bear rule over all the earth. Now we know historically that after the fall of Babylon, Medo-Persia rose to power under Cyrus followed by the rise of Greece under Alexander the Great.
Legs of Iron
VERSE 40: And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. Now we come to the fourth world empire which was Rome. Rome's power began about 150 BC and ran until about 450 AD when finally the barbarians broke the power and the authority of Rome. And she like Babylon, Persia, and Greece, disintegrated politically. Notice, that I used the word politically. There is still an aspect of the Roman Empire that has never disintegrated and that is the spiritual aspect. Religious Rome is still very much alive today through the Catholic Church and is still headed by the Pope. Many see this in the two legs represented by the statue: Political Rome and Spiritual Rome.
The Ten Toes
VERSES 41-43: And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. Notice that this empire, which represents the feet, is made up of iron (Rome) that is mixed in with the clay. What does this mean? To me, and many, this means that there will be a Revived Roman Empire in the last days. The book of Revelation speaks to this in Rev 17:10-12. Revelation 17:12 says that it will only last for one hour. I believe this is reflected in that iron and clay cannot bond together.