Sunday Night Bible Study

May 28, 1995

Daniel 2:31-49


Daniel and his three buddies have been taken to Babylon, and have been put into government service as part of the counselors to the king, Nebuchadnezzar.

They are in their late teens, early twenties.

Last week, we read how Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream.

He didn't want to be the only one disturbed, so he commanded his magicians, astrologers, etc, to tell him what the dream was, and what it's interpretation was.

Or else they'd die.

Daniel and his friends prayed, and God showed Daniel the answer in a "night vision".

Now, on to the dream ...

:31-35  The dream itself

:31 a great image

image, idol - he saw a large statue.

But it's not just a statue, it's a pagan idol.

:31  whose brightness was excellent

This idol was shining and gleaming

:31  the form was terrible

Aramaic - to be fearful.

The sight of this idol in Nebuchadnezzar's dream was something to make a person afraid.

Maybe this was why Nebuchadnezzar was so out of sorts in wanting to know what was going on.

Maybe it's also why he didn't tell them what the dream was, he didn't want to let them know he was afraid?

:32  this image's head was of ...

This was a strange idol, made our of different materials.

:34  a stone was cut out without hands

How can a stone be cut out without anybody using their hands?

It sounds like something that only God could do.

:35  became like the chaff

When wheat is winnowed, it is crushed, then thrown up into the air with pitch forks.

It is done on a "threshing-floor" where the wind is usually blowing.

The wind carries the chaff away, while the wheat kernel falls down to the ground.

:36-45  The interpretation

:36  we will tell

Who's the "we"?

Daniel and God.

:36  the interpretation

It is not God's purpose to mystify people so they can go "ooh" and "ahh" at strange sayings.

It's always God's purpose to communicate clearly with people, so they know what's going on.


Tongues in a church service - only done out loud when accompanied by interpretation, so all can be built up.

»1Corinthians 14:5-AV I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

God wants us to know that He knows what's going on, so He speaks, and in a way that we should understand it.

»Isaiah 48:5-AV I have even from the beginning declared [it] to thee; before it came to pass I shewed [it] thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.

:37  a king of kings

Nebuchadnezzar was one powerful king.

He ruled over many conquered kingdoms.

:37  the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom ...

Daniel wants to make sure that Nebuchadnezzar knows where his own power and authority came from.

Paul said something very similar about all governments:

»Romans  13 1-6. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5  Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Obviously, there are going to be times when the government may ask us to do something wrong in the sight of God, in that case, we must obey God rather than man.

But keep in mind that for the most part, we need to be submissive to our government.

Nebuchadnezzar for much of his life was a powerful tyrant.  He worshipped pagan deities.

Yet God considered him one of His own tools, to bring judgement on Israel.

»Jeremiah 27:6-AV And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.

:38  Thou art this head of gold

We get our first identification in this dream.

Nebuchadnezzar, and his kingdom, are represented by the head of gold on the statue.

In a way, it seems as if God is calling Nebuchadnezzar the top of all these kingdoms.

He's the head, the one in control.

He's made out of gold, the others are made out of increasingly cheaper materials.

:39  another kingdom inferior to thee

The breast and arms of silver are represented by the kingdom that followed Babylon.

It was the Medo-Persian empire - two joined kingdoms represented by two arms.

They conquered Babylon in 539 b.c.

They defeated Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, Belshazzar.

They lasted over 200 years, as compared to Babylon's reign of 87 years.

Yet they were considered inferior.

It has been suggested that the inferiority was in the method of government used.

Nebuchadnezzar was a complete, total, tyrannical, monarch.

He was in complete control.

The Medo-Persian empire, as well as those after them, did not allow their kings total, absolute power.

With the Medo-Persian empire, the king was bound to obey the law of the land, he couldn't just do whatever he wanted to as Nebuchandezzar did.

He was also limited by the increasing strength of the nobility and by the growing independence of the provinces.

:39  third kingdom of brass

Or, bronze.

This was the Grecian empire.

Under Alexander the Great, the Greeks conquered the Medes and Persians over a five year period between 334 and 330 b.c.

:39  over all the earth

The Grecian empire under Alexander covered more ground than any earlier empire.

It not only covered Europe, but went as far east as India.

:40  the fourth kingdom ... iron

This was the Roman empire.

The Romans conquered the Greeks in 63 b.c.

Though iron is cheaper than gold, silver, or brass, it is also stronger.

Rome survived as a unified empire until it split into two empires, a Western empire which was conquered in A.D. 476, and the Eastern Empire which wasn't conquered until 1453 by the Turks.

:40  iron breaketh in pieces ...

As iron is strong and can break things, so Rome would be a strong, cruel, ruthless empire.

That's just what Rome did, crushing all resistence.

:42  part of iron, and part of clay

There will be in this kingdom a kind of confederacy, a joining of two incompatible materials.

If you were to melt iron and clay together, they still don't mix.

When the mixture cools, you still have iron and clay separate from each other, and the clay breaks off from the iron.

There will be a kind of strength in this kingdom, but there will also be a fragileness in it as well.

:43  mingle themselves with the seed of men

The humanness is represented by the clay.

What does this mean?

Some think it's a union between monarchist rule and democratic rule.

It may just be some kind of a confederacy between nations, but one that doesn't form a single nation, but instead a mixture of lots of stuff.

:45  the stone cut out ...

We need to go out of order just a bit to help put this passage together.

Who or what is this stone?

It's Jesus Christ.

Jesus quotes from Psalm 118, and describes Himself:

»Matthew 21:42-AV Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?  43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.  44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

You can either fall on Jesus, and be saved, or He will fall on you and grind you to powder when He comes in judgement.

Sounds a lot like the stone that strikes the feet of the idol, doesn't it?

:40  In the days of these kings

In the days of what kings?

If one empire is falling after another empire, how can it refer to all the empires.

I think it refers to the days of the kings that are represented by the feet and toes of iron and clay.

This fourth kingdom was going to be different than the other kingdoms in that it had two different portions, each made of a different composition.

There was a portion made of solid iron.

There was a portion made of iron mixed with clay.

I believe this is talking about two versions of a Roman empire.

The original Roman empire was the legs of iron, which crushed the world.

The coming Roman empire is made out of much of the same stuff, but it's kind of diluted, being mixed with clay, there are inherent weaknesses in it.

Why is this a two-fold Roman empire?

Some look at this passage and want to say that it's all the old Roman empire, and that Jesus came and set up His church, and the church is in the process of filling up the whole earth, setting up His kingdom on earth.

If that's the case, it sure doesn't look like it's going too well.

Note how the stone only strikes the feet of the image.

When will Jesus come and strike the nations, and set up His own kingdom?

Has that already happened yet?

Rev.19:11 - 20:4

At the end of the tribulation period, Jesus will come back to conquer the earth, at the battle of Armegeddon.

The nations will be gathered together against Him to battle Him.

He will wipe out all the enemy.

Just as when the stone strikes the feet of the image, the whole image shatters.

Then He will set up an earthly kingdom for 1000 years, ruling over the whole earth.

:45  God hath made known to the king

God had obviously spoken to Nebuchadnezzar, since God again spoke to Daniel and gave him the proper dream and interpretation.

God is trying to get a message to Nebuchadnezzar.

Is he going to listen?

:46-49  Nebuchadnezzar's response

:46-47  Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face

He is totally blown away.

He's getting close to understanding, but not yet ...

Why prophecy?

It's important that we don't let the study of prophecy become a matter of learning trivial details.

Prophecy is always aimed at directing us and leading us.

»2Peter 3:11-AV [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,

:49  Daniel requested of the king ...

Don't forget your friends.

After all, they helped you get where you are today - they prayed for you!!!!!