Today’s excursion takes us to the second and seventh chapters of Daniel. You might recall that Daniel was a prophet during the time of Jewish captivity in Babylon; and that he remained faithful to His God, who blessed him with great favor in the sight of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Knowing that the Jewish captivity was almost over, Daniel asked the Lord to reveal His plan for the future. So, God did a strange thing: He revealed His plan for the Gentiles in a dream to King Nebuchadnezzar. Interestingly, no one but Daniel was able to interpret the king’s dream, so at the king’s request, he did. It would not turn out well for Nebuchadnezzar!
Then God confirmed that plan to Daniel in a dream of his own; and went on to reveal a very specific plan for the Jews, which Daniel recorded in chapter 9. We’ll spend plenty of time on that revelation later this week, but let’s dig for treasure in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 today.
Daniel 2:1-30 set the stage for key verses in 31-33. In those first 30 verses, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that no one can interpret. Though targeted for death, Daniel requested an audience with the king in order to interpret his dream. Verse 19 tells us that God revealed the mystery to Daniel, and he correctly interpreted the king’s dream. In it, the king dreamed of a man built of various metals, representing future kingdoms:
- Head of gold (verses 37-38) = Babylonian empire. Babylon was the most influential society to that point in history.
- Breast of silver (verse 39) = Medo-Persian empire that would succeed Babylon. Two arms represented the two people groups: Medes and Persians. Silver became the medium of exchange during this kingdom reign.
- Belly and thighs of bronze (verse 39) = Greek empire, under Alexander the Great, who succeeded Medo-Persia and conquered the known world. Abs and thighs are emblems of strength, and the Greeks worshipped the body. Eventually, they would fall because of their desire for things of the flesh.
- Legs of iron (verse 40) = Roman empire. Two powerful legs of iron represent the trampling down and crushing of nations, including Israel. Indeed, Rome destroyed Israel in 70 AD. Rome was never conquered; it simply disintegrated into eastern and western empires…the two feet.
- Feet of iron and clay (verses 41-43) = Re-built (Revived) Roman empire in the end times. Ten toes reference the 10-nation confederation that will unite to produce the antichrist. However, iron and clay do not mix and will ultimately fail.
After interpreting King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, Daniel had a dream of his own! Daniel 7:1-8 records that dream. It was the same dream, using different symbols. Let’s take a look at the symbols of Daniel’s dream:
- Lion with wings (verse 4) = Babylon, an empire of strength and ability to do as they pleased. Ironically, Babylon is symbolized by a lion.
- Lopsided bear with three ribs in his mouth (verse 5) = the Medo-Persian empire. Remember, Persia was much stronger than the Medes, represented by the “raised up” portion of the bear. Medo-Persia conquered three kingdoms, represented by the three ribs in the bear’s mouth.
- Leopard with four wings and heads (verse 6) = Greece. Just as a leopard is an emblem of swiftness, the Greeks, under Alexander the Great, conquered the world in very short order. Four wings and heads represent the four divisions established after Alexander’s death.
- Terrifying beast with iron teeth (verses 7-8) = the Roman empire. Again, Rome is described as a trampling, crushing empire. The ten horns reference the 10-nation confederation still to come, and the little horn refers to the antichrist.
Today, history confirms that Daniel, not once, but twice, accurately interpreted the succession of nations to follow Babylon! We can be absolutely certain that the revived Roman empire will arise once more, and that God’s Millennial Kingdom will ultimately be established, just as the others were!
Indeed, one purpose of studying prophecy is to “test” the Word of God for accuracy. How do I know I can trust John 3:16 if I can’t trust other portions of Scripture? Certainly, prophecy is a self-validating feature of the Bible. Throughout Isaiah, God presents Himself as the only true and living God, and challenges all other so-called gods to match Him. (Isaiah 41:21-29, Isaiah 46:9-10, Isaiah 48:3) No other can predict the future with accuracy! No other can declare the end from the beginning! No other can establish his purpose and cause it to come to pass!
Dear saints, the God of the Bible has done those things…and will continue to do those things! We can trust Him with our lives! We can also trust that what He says will come, will come! Stand faithfully as Daniel did!
We’ve only just begun, so keep your treasure chest handy! We’ll discover more nuggets of gold tomorrow!