This is the first in a series that I will be writing over the next few months to help my readers understand the importance of prophecies given to Daniel by the Lord God concerning the times in which we are now living. My prayer is that MANY individuals will read, learn from, research and comment on them as they are posted. Then pass them along to others. — Paula Meiners Yingst
The God of heaven spoke through a dream concerning the future …
(Based on Daniel 1-2, New International Version and BibleGateway.com)
To understand what God has planned for our future, we need to study prophecy that has been fulfilled in the past.
Daniel’s life experience as a captive in Babylon for 70 years, shows that Almighty God doesn’t leave us in the dark concerning His overall plans for the future. So let’s go back to “the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah” for insight from Daniel concerning a very tense situation:
“And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into [Nebuchadnezzar’s] hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.”
In other words, the God of heaven maintained control throughout Daniel’s journey. (And don’t miss the fact that God can use ANYONE HE CHOOSES to accomplish His purposes!)
A summary of the situation: Daniel was a member of the royal family of Judah, chosen for service to the king of Babylon because of his handsome appearance, his aptitude for learning, and his ability to quickly grasp information. He went through three years of Babylonian training, plus “God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning, and Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.”
Daniel surpassed ALL of the kingdom’s magicians and enchanters in every matter of wisdom and understanding! In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, when the king was unable to sleep, he called upon Daniel to interpret the dream that was troubling his mind.
Here’s how Daniel handled the delicate problem …
2:27 Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.
“Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these:
2:31 “Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure 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 baked clay. 34 While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them.35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were all broken to pieces and became like chaff on a threshing floor in the summer. The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”
Daniel was pointedly humble about his ability to interpret the dream …
He said, ” … the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen. As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else alive, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation and that you may understand what went through your mind.”
Then Daniel explained the meaning of the prophecy concerning the statue’s golden head …
2:37 “Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; 38 in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold.”
Some historical insight …
Nebuchadnezzar is included in the list of “75 Ancient People You Should Know” by Ancient/Classical History Expert, N.S. Gill. God used him to fulfill the words of the prophet Jeremiah:
“The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God’s temple [built by Solomon] and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there.
“He carried into exile to Babylon the remnant, who escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and his successors until the kingdom of Persia came to power. The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah.” (2 Chronicles 36:15-21)
Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was symbolized by the head of gold. He was the son of a Chaldean chief who led a revolt against Assyrian rule in 626 B.C., proclaimed himself king of Babylon, and succeeded in overthrowing the Assyrian Empire — which captured and dispersed the northern kingdom of Israel, in fulfillment of prophecy — and destroying Nineveh, in alliance with the Medes and Scythians. According to The Encyclopedia of World Biography, “The last years of Nebuchadnezzar’s life were clouded by family strife, and he left no strong successor: his son was overthrown by a usurper after reigning only 2 years.”