Daniel & Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream


The Occasion

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (modern day Iraq) has a very disturbing dream and wants someone to interpret it without revealing the details of the dream. His magicians, astrologers and sorcerers are unable to tell the dream or its interpretation so the king orders all the wise men of his court to be killed. Daniel is part of the court and when they come to kill him and he finds out why he agrees to tell the king his dream and also its interpretation. God reveals the dream to Daniel in a night vision.

The Dream

“As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to be because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may now the thoughts of your heart. You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which 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 were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” (Daniel 2:29-35)

The Interpretation

This is a very difficult dream and only through the power of God’s revelation to Daniel could it have been accurate, both in the telling and in the interpretation.

“You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all-you are this head of gold.

But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile. As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold-the great God has made known to he king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.” (Daniel 2:37-45)

The Lesson

This dream poses a mystery to the reader even to this day. Clearly the dream was speaking of successive governments or kingdoms that would come after Nebuchadnezzar. It is widely held that the four successive kingdoms are: Babylonian, Medo-Persian, Grecian, and Roman. The kingdom that would be coming which “shall never be destroyed” is a pre-figuring of the spiritual kingdom established by Jesus Christ. As the dream interpretation states: “it shall stand forever.” The stone cut out without hands represents the sovereign power of God over all of history. God uses earthly kings and kingdoms for his own purposes and none can exist without his permission.

The fact that Daniel knew what the king had dreamed and could tell him its meaning had a profound effect and caused King Nebuchadnezzar to acknowledge Daniel’s God – the one true God. Daniel’s life was not only spared but he was promoted to be ruler over all the wise men in Babylon.

There are counterfeits to all God’s gifts and such things as astrologers and psychics hawk those wares. On the other hand, where there is a counterfeit, there must be the genuine article which it models. Daniel had the genuine gift. It is not worth it to use any spiritual gift that does not come from God, is not inspired by him, and does not bring glory and honor to him.

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