Ladies Bible Study
The Book of Daniel
Relevance for Today
This will be the second lesson in our series in the Book of Daniel. We were only able to cover The First Chapter last month, I hope we will be able to cover both the 2Nd and 3rd
Letís quickly review from last month.
We learned who Daniel was and how he came to be in captivity in the Babylon Empire.
We discovered that Daniel was a man of resolution, revelation and reverence.
Daniel and his companions were young men without blemish, taken into captivity to serve in King Nebuchadnezzarís court. They were given Babylonian names that reflected the godís the Babylonians worshipped, in an effort to transform them into Babylonians.
Daniel and His friends stood firm in their belief, revealing him as a man of resolution, not to partake of worldly things. This faithfulness was rewarded by God and Daniel and His friends were put in places of authority in the court. Obedience always brings about favor with God.
Letís now start with todayís lesson.
Daniel 2:1-3 Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. 2. Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 3. And the king said to them, "I have had a dream, and my spirit is anxious to know the dream.''
When this event happened in the life of Daniel is uncertain, but it was probably while he was young, as he was still associated with his Hebrew companions.
At this time, Nebuchadnezzar had become a world leader. Conquering many nations and enslaving them. Probably he was concerned about the future course of his rule and empire.
At any rate, God gave him a vision, through a dream and it was so compelling that it woke
Nebuchadnezzar in the middle of the night and he lost sleep over the meaning.
The content of verse 3 leads us to think once he woke up, he could not remember the dream. Many scholars believe that he could remember the dream, He wanted to know itís meaning.
Daniel 2:4-13: Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic, "O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will give the interpretation.'' 5. But the king answered and said to the Chaldeans, "My decision is firm: if you do not make known the dream to me, and its interpretation, you shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made an ash heap. 6. "However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards, and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.'' 7. They answered again and said, "Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.'' 8. The king answered and said, "I know for certain that you would gain time, because you see that my decision is firm: 9. "if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the time has changed. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.'' 10. The Chaldeans answered the king, and said, "There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean.
11. "It is a difficult thing that the king requires, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.'' 12. For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave a command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.
13. So the decree went out, and they began killing the wise men; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them.
Nebuchadnezzar calls for all the wise men in the land, the sorcerers, magicians and astrologers to interpret the dream. You see, Nebuchadnezzar was not Hebrew, not Godís people, He was unsaved, as idol worshipper, a Gentile. He knew the dream meant something, but by himself was unable to determine what it meant. At this point in Chapter 2, as we discussed last month the language in the book switches to Aramaic from Hebrew. This was done because what occurs from this point on is for the Gentile world to know, therefore it was written in a language all could understand. This dream tells the world what will occur, it tells of upcoming Gentile rule, therefore God gave the dream to a Gentile, in a form he would recognize as an idol worshipper.
As we discussed last month, many scholars believe that Nebuchadnezzar was mentally unstable as exhibited by his volatile outbursts and outrageous demands.
I think this may be true, but I also believe in the adage "Absolute power corrupts absolutely." If you are in power or in a position of leadership, and are not a man or women of God. If you do not lean on your own understanding but in all you ways acknowledge Him, then you will succumb to the temptation of the enemy, and become an ungodly ruler. Amen? Amen.
I believe this was the situation with Nebuchadnezzar, He was truly an ungodly man and it showed in His rages and demands.
Therefore, what we see here, is the King demanding the wise men to tell him the dream and its interpretation and conversely the wise men asking the King to tell them the dream and they will tell Him the interpretation. Why this jumble occurs is not clear. Many scholars speculate it was because Nebuchadnezzer did not really trust his "wise men".
I think this is probably a correct assessment. When you deal in evil, are led by evil, eventually the "truth" you spout will be revealed as lies. This is probably what occurred in the court of Nebuchadnezzer. You see a man desperate for the truth asking men who are totally incapable of revealing anything truthful for the answers! What a mess!
At one point the wise men say to the King, "what you ask is too hard. No one can know the dream except the gods and they do not dwell among us." This one time, they spoke a partial truth, Only God, the Lord of Host, the King of King, the Creator of all things could know the answer, yet they did not know Him, to ask Him.
Stop a moment and thank God that you do know the Lord, that he is the revealer of mysteries to us. That we too can walk in revelation knowledge. All we have to do is ask and it will be granted to us. (See Ephesians 1: 17-18 and James 1:5)
At this point Daniel becomes involved. The King in a rage has ordered all wise men to be slaughtered.
Proverbs 16:14: 14. As messengers of death is the king's wrath, but a wise man will appease it.
Daniel 2: 14-18: Then with counsel and wisdom Daniel answered Arioch, the captain of the king's guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon; 15. he answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, "Why is the decree from the king so urgent?'' Then Arioch made the decision known to Daniel. 16. So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation. 17. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions,
18. that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Notice the wording of verse 18, "with counsel and wisdom" Daniel asks what is going on?
Other translations say with prudence or with discretion and discernment, Daniel wisely asks the head of the Kingís executioners what is going on? You get the impression that Daniel and his companions were not present in the court when all this occurred.
Proverbs 1:5: 5. A wise man will hear and increase learning, and a man of understanding will attain wise counsel,
No matter what the situation we find ourselves in, it should always give glory to God. One way to accomplish this is to walk in discretion and discernment or prudence.
Websterís defines prudent as: handling practical matters judiciously, managing carefully,
behaving circumspectly, discreet. I would not describe the situation as practical, but we do see Daniel behaving judiciously, carefully and discreetly. He had to be careful how he approached the head executioner and how he asked for time to pray and seek God.
Seeking God should always be your first recourse. No matter what the situation, seek Him and His wisdom first, seek His guidance and then proceed in the path God has chosen. Donít seek Him, evaluate His response and then decided if you want to follow Godís advice. It is not advice, it is direction and it will never fail! Amen!
Letís look at verses 17 and 18 again.
17. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the decision known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18. that they might seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret, so that Daniel and his companions might not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.
Daniel immediately knew he had to seek God and He went to his three companions for added intercession and agreement.
Matthew 18:19-20: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20. "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.''
This is an example of unified absolute faith. These four young men, knew their God, trusted in Him absolutely and believed in His mercy. The verse does not say they hoped to seek the mercy or that were waiting to receive the mercy, no they sought the mercy expecting to receive the answer so that they would not be killed. They needed as answer and went to the only source available for that answer! Amen!
God who is always faithful, answered their prayers, and showed Daniel in a dream, what the Kingís dream was and what it meant.
Notice Danielís immediate response. It was to praise God and give Him glory, not to take credit for himself.
Daniel 2:19-23,28: Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20. Daniel answered and said: "Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. 21. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. 22. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, and light dwells with Him. 23. "I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers; you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of You, for You have made known to us the king's demand.''Ö
28. "But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these
Letís skip down to the description of the dream and why it was given.
Daniel 2:30-35: 30. "But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart. 31. "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. 32. "This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33. "its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34. "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.
35. "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.
So we see in the dream a large statue, with which an idol worshipper would identify. Itís head is fine gold, itís chest and arms of sliver, itís belly and thighs ( or sides as one translation states) of bronze, itís legs of iron and itís feet a mixture of iron and clay.
Daniel goes on to tell the King the interpretation.
Daniel 2:36-45: "This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king. 37. "You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; 38. "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. 39. "But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40. "And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters all things; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others. 41. "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. 42. "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. 43. "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.
44. "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. 45. "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 the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.''
The statue represents the present kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar and the kingdoms to come.
It is describing what is known as the "time of the Gentiles." The time as allotted by God for rule of the world by Gentiles and not the Jewish nation. This is the time we are in now, the time of the Gentiles.
Much of what is described in the statue has already taken place.
The golden head represents the powerful kingdom of Babylon led by Nebuchadnezzer.
The other empire were depicted by the different metals, each weaker and different in composition than the previous, signifying the successive weak and corrupt empires to come. However each played an important part in Godís plan for the world.
The chest of silver was the Median-Persian empire, signified by the 2 arms also. The Persian Empire returned the Jews to Israel.
The belly and thighs of brass represent the Greek Empire of Alexander the Great. This would introduce the Greek language to the known world and thus enable the world to read the writings that would become the New Testament.
The legs (the longest part) represent the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was the longest in power, and was not destroyed by another but was destroyed by internal immorality and decay.
Today we see remnants of the Roman empire in Spain, France, England and Italy. All part of the Roman Empire and part of the European Union today. Many speculate the European Union is the springboard for the one world government of the Great Tribulation.
Since it is the last aspect mentioned in the statue, even down to the toes mixed with clay.
I believe this to be true.
Revelation 17:3: 3. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
The beast with seven heads represents the five empires we have discussed plus the 2 that came before Babylon, the Egyptian and the Assyrian Empires. Notice it has ten horns, represented by the ten toes in the statue.
After the church is raptured, the time of the Gentiles will be nearly over, the Church age will no longer exist. The final rule of Gentiles will come into existence through the rule of the antichrist and the ten Kingdoms that will arise.
But notice, Praise God, God has a plan!
Daniel 2: 34-35: 34. "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. 35. "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.
The stone cut without hands, is Jesus Christ. Cut without hands means virgin born.
Jesus will return in glory and destroy the beast. It cruses the statue and it is blown away.
Then the stone will become a great mountain, filling the whole Earth. That stone is Jesus Christ the Lord of Lord and King of Kings. Who will reign for ever and ever Amen!
Letís close with this:
Daniel 2:46-49: 46. Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him.
47. The king answered Daniel, and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.'' 48. Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts; and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. 49. Also Daniel petitioned the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego over the affairs of the province of Babylon; but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
Seeking God first, in all things, large or small will always bring answer.
Giving God the glory for the answers and being obedient to follow Godís direction will bring peace, safety and promotion. But you must always put God first.
Daniel was careful to tell the king, in verses 27 and 28 that no man could interpret the dream, only God could give the answer to the faithful. Daniel took no glory for Himself, even when Nebuchadnezzer fell down and worshipped Him. Daniel also remembered those who stood by him in time of danger, his three companions and made sure they were rewarded also. Never, Never allow yourself to become "big headedí with the things of God. God gives the Gifts of the Spirit as the Spirit wills, it is God who gives and God who rewards, we are nothing but vessels to be used. Donít ever forget that in your service to God. It is not about you, it is about Him. We are here to further His Kingdom, to lead others to the saving of knowledge of Jesus Christ and to teach others to grow and mature.
We are not here for ourselves. Everything is Godís, we give Him the Glory! Amen!