“In studying the Bible,
the searcher will find hidden treasure,
and the Lord will quicken the understanding.”
Christ’s Object Lessons p38
When Nebuchadnezzar awoke, he could not remember the dream. I must know its meaning. My wise men can tell me the dream.
The prophet Daniel had been taken captive from Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar’s first siege in 606-605BC. He was to be trained as a Babylonian wise man, with other young Jewish nobles.
Anxious to understand the dream, the king demands his wise men make it known to him. But they protest, “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.” Daniel 2:11.
Nebuchadnezzar becomes so enraged, he orders all his wise men put to death, including the trainees. Daniel requests permission to speak to the king -- the God of heaven will reveal the dream and it’s interpretation.
Standing before the Babylonian ruler on the morrow, the young captive says, “Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His…. He revealeth the deep and secret things…” Daniel 2:20.22.
Then Daniel proceeds to tell the king his dream and its interpretation. He concludes by saying, “In the days of these kings (the divided nations) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people… the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof is sure.” Daniel 2:44.45.
Nebuchadnezzar is overwhelmed and bows before Daniel, saying, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.” Daniel 2:46.47.
Although Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Daniel, his heart was not surrendered, and as he contemplated the interpretation of the dream, he became angry.
No, it shall not be. Nebuchadnezzar is not just the head of gold; he is the whole image.
He commanded his men to build a sixty cubit high statue, completely overlaid with gold .
The great statue glistened in the sun.
Daniel had been promoted and was away, but his three friends – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – were in the realm. When it came time to bow before the golden image, these young Jewish men refused.
Although warned of the consequences, they maintained their faithfulness to the God of heaven.
“Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed… Then he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.” Daniel 3:19.20.
Such was to be the fate of all who refused to worship the king in the form of a golden image.
Suddenly Nebuchadnezzar is astonished, and says to his counsellors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?… True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:24.
The three men are called from the furnace; not a hair of their heads is singed, nor their coats. Neither is the smell of fire upon them.
“Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.” Daniel 3:30.
Is this just a wild story?
No, it was a real experience in ancient Babylon.
But it is also a prophecy of the last days, for another image will be erected in the United States of America, before which all the world will be commanded to bow. (See Revelation 13:14-17)
Those who refuse will be prevented from buying and selling, and finally condemned to death.
Daniel wrote his prophetic book progressively under the rulership of both the Babylonian and Medo-Persian Empires, completing it in his latter years, approximately 560BC. (Daniel was taken captive as a young man, and this date would put him in his eighties)
When the Macedonian king Antiochios Ephiphanes desecrated the temple in 167BC, he offered a pig on the altar to the god Zeus, and splashed the pig’s blood on sacred scrolls that were already hundreds of years old.
Looking back at history, who could have predicted Rome’s breakup into ten kingdoms, with a division lasting for the next 1500 years?
The book of Daniel is the foundation for many other prophecies, especially Revelation. Men and women who reject Daniel cannot understand the Apocalypse, although they may come up with plausible interpretations.
According to Daniel, division among the nations will continue until the end. Never will there be another world power, for iron and clay cannot be moulded together.
It is true men are trying to bring in a one world government, but God has said it will not take place. Even though the European Union has successfully united Europe, it is on very shaky ground. Division extends beyond the European nations, as today’s world is far larger than in the days of Rome and its breakup.
We can doubt the prophecies, but scepticism destroys any possibility of discovering the wonders of the amazing Bible. And to reject the prophet Daniel, or any of the prophets, is to reject the divine Author – the King of the universe.
The Bible has hundreds of prophecies and all are 100% accurate. Psychics and fortune tellers boast 75% accuracy or less, but the Bible claims to have never made a mistake.
Why are its claims so high?
Simply because God is God, the supreme Being of the universe, completely independent of time and space.
Centuries ago He challenged the sceptics, “Shew the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods…” Isaiah 41:22.
When Daniel stood before Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon he said, “There is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets…” Daniel 2:28. Even the Babylonian wise men understood that no one can reveal the secret things “except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Daniel 2:11.
After his father died, Nebuchadnezzar contemplated the future of his kingdom. He was now ruler of the greatest empire of the world. It was a great responsibility.
Musing upon his bed, he wondered -- Will Babylon rule forever?
When the king fell asleep, he had a dream. An image of different metals stood before him – gold, silver, brass, and iron -- symbolising four successive world kingdoms of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
After the breakup of Rome the nations were to remain divided. Men would attempt to unite them, but it would be impossible.
God had spoken.
Today we are living in the feet of the image; one prediction remains. “And in the days of these kings (the divided nations) shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed…” Daniel 2:44.
The Amazing Bible