Conflict Through the Centuries Index

While the second chapter of Daniel is part of the historical section of the book, nevertheless it contains one of the most amazing prophecies. The prophecies found in this chapter is the foundation upon which all the other prophecies in Daniel are built.

In order to comprehend the prophecies of Daniel the principle of REPETITION in OUTLINE prophecy must be understood. An outline prophecy is one that covers the whole span of time from the prophet's day until the second coming of Christ. Daniel 2 begins with the Babylonian Empire and culminates in the return of Jesus Christ. All of the prophecies in Daniel cover the same basic outline; however, each subsequent prophecy adds significant details that were not included in the initial one. In other words, the rest of the prophecies expand what is initially covered in broad sweeps in Daniel 2. The focal point of each expansion is always on the end time. thus, when we finish our study of the book of Daniel we will have accurate and somewhat detailed history of the world from Daniel's day to the end of time.

Another factor we should keep in mind in trying to understand the prophecies of Daniel is that the only nations that are mentioned in Daniel's prophecies are those nations that affect the covenant people of God. Some wonder why China and other great nations of antiquity were never mentioned in Scripture. The reason is simple -- the Bible is only concerned with those nations that impact on God's chosen people. Therefore, the various empires that appear in Scripture are those that come in contact with the covenant people of God. Let's begin this fascinating study of Daniel 2 and discover how accurately God has foretold world history.

The Dream
1. What happened to Nebuchadnezzar one evening? Daniel 2:1 "And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled and his sleep brake from him."

Lesson number 4 (Daniel 2) is so simple that we forget that it is basic to our understanding of prophecy. Most have never really taken the time to study Daniel 2 because it is so simple and if they do they move very rapidly through the chapter. Daniel 2 is the history of the world foretold so simple it cannot be misunderstood. It cannot be emphasized too strongly how important an understanding of this prophecy is. Once this prophecy is clear all the rest of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation will fit together properly.

Daniel 2 is an outline prophecy which covers world history in broad sweeps of time from the time of Daniel to the end of time. Each succeeding prophecy in the book of Daniel covers the same ground, repeating the previous prophecies and then adding additional details. Many times the prophecies will use different symbols, but the principle of repetition and expansion is always the same.

2. What request did Nebuchadnezzar make of his wise men as soon as his sleep "brake from him"? Daniel 2:2-4 "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." These Babylonian wise men professed to be interpreters of dreams; thus the king was not making an unusual request. It was something that they were accustomed to doing.
3. What was different about the King's request to interpret the dream this time? Daniel 2:5 "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.'" Nebuchadnezzar could not remember the dream.
4. Were the Babylonian wise men able to interpret the dream?

Daniel 2:6-11 "'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. 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.'"

"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 not 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.'"

The wise men of Babylon were totally discredited. They were unable to reveal the king's dream. If the king could have recalled the dream, they could have devised some interpretation. They professed to have supernatural power, but when they could not reveal the dream to the king, they showed clearly that they had no supernatural power al all.

We are going to notice a progressive discrediting of the wise me of Babylon. In Chapter 2 they cannot relate what the dream is, in Chapter 4 they cannot interpret the king's dream, and in Chapter 5 they can't even red the writing on the wall. God is progressively showing the superiority of those who follow Him, verses the shallowness of those who are living in disobedience to Him.

5. In his wrath, what was Nebuchadnezzar's command concerning all of the wise men of Babylon? Daniel 2:12, 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." In his rage, Nebuchadnezzar commanded all to be slain, even the wise men who were not present. Daniel, as a recently graduated wise man, evidently was not in this first audience before the king. But the death decree included him.
Daniel's Response
6. When Daniel learned about the death decree, what request did he make of the king? Daniel 2:14-16 "Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's which was gone forth to slay the wide 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 shew the king the interpretation."  
7. Having been granted his request, what did Daniel do? Daniel 2:17, 18 "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 follows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon."

Daniel and his friends went to the one Source they knew that had the answer to the king's dream -- they went in prayer to the God of heaven.

8. When did God reveal the dream to Daniel? Daniel 2:19 "Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven." In the word of God only is this clearly set forth. Here it is shown that the strength of nations, as of individuals, is not found in the opportunities or facilities that appear to make them invincible; it is not found in their boasted greatness. It is measured by the fidelity with which they fulfill God's purpose. (Ed 175)
9. As Daniel blessed and praised God for revealing the dream to him he enumerated ten things the dream tells about the God of heaven. Daniel 2:20-22 "Daniel answered and said, 'Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are His: 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.'" This is the essence of what the prophecy of Daniel 2 reveals. God is in control of the events of human history. The rise and fall of empires appear as if happening by the will of men, but Daniel 2 reveals to us very clearly that God is behind all human events. Nothing happens that God is not already aware of an has not allowed. How comforting it is to know that God is still in control or the events happening in our world today.
10. What request did Daniel make of Arioch?

Daniel 2:24, 25 "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 know unto the king the interpretation.'"

11. To whom does Daniel give the credit for being able to interpret the dream to Nebuchadnezzar?

Daniel 2:26-30 "The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, 'Art thou able to make know 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 later days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon they bed, are these; 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 know 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 know the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.'"

None of the other wise men could reveal the dream. Only Daniel could. Yet Daniel does not claim superior intellect or wisdom. He clearly gives the credit to the One who revealed the dream to him -- the God of heaven.
The Dream and the Interpretation
12. What did Daniel say the king say in his dream? Daniel 2:31 "'Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before three, and the form thereof was terrible.'" Hundreds of years before certain nations came upon the stage of action, the Omniscient One looked down the ages and predicted the rise and fall of the universal kingdoms. God declared to Nebuchadnezzar that the kingdom of Babylon should fall, and a second kingdom would arise, which also would have its period of trial. Failing to exalt the true God, its glory would fade, and a third kingdom would occupy its place. this would pass away; and a fourth, strong as iron, would subdue the nations of the world. (PK 501)
13. List the various elements that make up the image. Daniel 2:32, 33 "'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.'"  
14. What did the stone cut out without hands do to the image? Daniel 2:34 "'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.'"  
15. What did the stone become? Daniel 2:35 "'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.'"

Daniel had clearly revealed to Nebuchadnezzar his dream.

16. Who now gives the interpretation of the dream to Nebuchadnezzar?

Daniel 2:36 "'This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.'"

Daniel 2:45 "'Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter; and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.'"

Daniel could only give the interpretation that the God of heaven had revealed to him in vision, and we will do well to take it just as He gave it. The best way to interpret the Bible, and the best way to interpret the prophecies, is to let the Bible, itself, explain the symbols.
17. What does the head of gold represent? Daniel 2:37, 38 "'Thou, O king, art the 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 king was regarded as the titular head of the state. That is why Nebuchadnezzar represented Babylon, the empire that began the prophecy. Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom ruled the world from 606-538 B.C. as one of the mightiest empires of antiquity, one that could aptly be described as the head of gold. Notice that the prophecy begins with Daniel's time.

In this chapter the Bible itself gives us the historicist view of Bible prophecy. It clearly begins the prophecy in Nebuchadnezzar's time, and continues it from one to another until we reach the Second Coming of Christ. Note: the Bible is illustrating how prophecy is to be interpreted.

Prophecy has traced the rise and fall of the world's great empires -- Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. With each of these, as with nations of less power, history repeated itself. Each had its period of test, each failed, its glory faded, its power departed, and its place was occupied by another.

While the nations rejected God's principles, and in this rejection wrought their own ruin, it was still manifest that the divine, overruling purpose was working through all their movements. (Ed 177)

18. Was Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom to last forever? Daniel 2:39 "'And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.'" Succeeding kingdoms would be inferior to Babylon, but they would rule in their turn. Babylon would not last forever. Just as silver is inferior to gold, so the kingdom that followed Babylon was inferior to her. In 538 B.C. the kingdom of Medo-Persia came on the scene of action. Led by Cyrus, Medo-Persia conquered Babylon. Medo-Persia ruled the world from 538 B.C. to 331 B.C.
19. What metal would represent the kingdom that would follow Medo-Persia? Daniel 2:39 "'And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.'" Even the Medo-Persian kingdom would not last forever, Alexander the Great led the Greeks to conquer the Medes and the Persians in the Battle of Arbela in 331 B.C., and the kingdom of Greece, the brass kingdom, came upon the scene of action.
20. What metal represented the fourth kingdom that should come? Daniel 2:40 "'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.'" The kingdom that followed Greece was the iron monarchy of Rome, which ruled the world from 168 B.C to A.D. 476. This is the kingdom that dominated the world when Jesus was born. With unerring accuracy Daniel has foretold world history for 1000 years. The rise and fall of these various empires -- Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome -- are clearly foretold in the Bible. God knows in advance what is going to happen. He is clearly in control of human events. Amazingly, God had foretold that there would be these four world empires and no more.
21. What would be the condition of Europe after the breakup of the Roman Empire? Daniel 2:41, 42 "'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.'" As prophesied, when the Roman Empire ended in A.D. 476, it was not taken over by another world kingdom. Instead, as the Bible so clearly foretold, barbarian tribes conquered the Roman Empire and divided it. Ten of these tribes eventually became modern Europe. They were: the Ostrogoths, the Visigoths, Franks, Vandals, Suevi, Alemanni, Anglo-Saxons, Heruli, Lombards, and Burgundians. Seven of them still exist today in Europe. For example, the Anglo-Saxons became the English, the Franks became the French, and the Lombards became the Italians. Daniel 7 will tell the fascinating story of the power that destroyed three of these ten divisions.
22. Would these ten kingdoms ever seek to unite? Daniel 2:43 "'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.'" Through marriage, alliances and other means, men would attempt to unite the European continent once again.
23. Will the European continent ever be united again? Daniel 2:43 "'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.'" Men have tried to unite Europe throughout history. Charlemagne, Napoleon, Mussolini, Hitler, and others have done their best to unite Europe, but these words of Scripture have stopped every would-be ruler. Bible prophecy clearly states that the world will remain divided for the rest of history. Remember, god is in control of earthly events!
The Stone Kingdom
24. Who will set up the final kingdom? Daniel 2:44 "'And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.'" The next great universal kingdom will be the kingdom of God.
25. What will God do to the kingdoms of earth when He sets up His kingdom? Daniel 2:44 "'And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.'" God's kingdom will not b e a takeover of earthly kingdoms. He will completely consume, destroy and blow away all the kingdoms of earth. The New Testament says that God will create a new heaven and earth (Revelation 21:1). God's kingdom will be everlasting (Daniel 2:44).
26. What is represented by the stone kingdom? Matthew 25:31-34 "'When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory: and before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: and He shall set the sheep on His right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, "Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"'" The Scripture declares that when Jesus Christ returns to earth the second time, He will crush the kingdoms of earth and establish an everlasting kingdom that shall have no end. What exciting news! Jesus Christ is coming again! God is in control of human history! All history is moving toward this climatic conclusion when the Son of God shall return in majesty to bring in the kingdom of everlasting righteousness. Nebuchadnezzar may have thought that he defeated the true God, but very quickly he was shown that God is ruler over all, that human events are under His control, and that ultimately God will win the conflict. Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the ten divisions of the Roman Empire may have sought to usurp divine authority and destroy the people of God, but all earthly kingdoms will ultimately be crushed by the coming of Christ. Thank God, He will win the great controversy!
27. After hearing the interpretations of the dream, what did Nebuchadnezzar say about Daniel's God? Daniel 2:47 "The king answered unto Daniel, and said, '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.'" Having see that God is in control of world events, even the heathen Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that Daniel's God is above all the heathen gods of Babylon.
28. As a result of their faithfulness, how were Daniel and his friends promoted by Nebuchadnezzar?

Daniel 2:48, 49 "Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

"Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrack, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king."

God always honors our commitment to Him.
29. Recognizing that God is in full control of earthly events, are you willing to let Him have full control of your life?    
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