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Saturday, January 26, 2013

God Sends a Dream that Foretells the Future

God Sends a Dream that Foretells the Future



King Nebuchadnezzar woke up with a jerk.  It was the middle of the night and perspiration was pouring down his face as he jumped out of bed and yelled for his servants.  “My dream woke me up,” he screamed.  “What was my dream?”   His favorite wife scurried out of the bedroom as the servants rushed in and bowed before him.


“My dream! My frightening dream!  I can’t remember what it was!  What am I to do?  Help me.”  The servants cowered as the anxious king paced the floor raging.  The king called in his guards.  “Hurry, go out and bring the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers and all the wise men (occult advisors) here to the palace right away. The wise men will be able to tell me what I dreamed and what it means! Go!” The sky was still dark as Nebuchadnezzar’s guards jumped on their horses and rode off to find all of the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers in the kingdom and order them all to report to their king immediately.


The next day several hundred astrologers, sorcerers, magicians and other assorted wise guys were all assembled before King Nebuchadnezzar in the palace.  “They greeted the king, ‘O king, live forever!  Tell your servants the dream, and we will interpret it.’” (Daniel 2:4)  “The king replied to the astrologers, ‘This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble…’” (Daniel 2:5)  Perhaps the king had not really forgotten the dream, but rather maybe he reasoned that his wise men, if able to predict the future by interpreting dreams, ought to be able to perform the lesser task of reconstructing the past – the king’s dream. 


The wise men were sure that they had the power to interpret the dream if the king would only tell them what the dream was.  But the king, getting more upset by the minute, (thinking they were frauds) insisted that if they couldn’t tell him what his dream was then he didn’t believe that they could know what the meaning of the dream would be either.


The astrologers answered him:  “There is not a man on earth who can do what the king asks!  …What the king asks is too difficult.  No one can reveal your dream to the king except the gods, and they do not live among men.”  (Daniel 2: 10-11)


“This answer made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.  So the decree was issued to put all the wise men to death.  And the kings’men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death.”  (Daniel 2:12-13)  Daniel and his friends had been considered part of the king’s group of royal counselors or “wise men.”


The guards began killing some of the wise men and the news got around that Daniel and his friends might be next. Daniel and his friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were in big trouble and they talked together about what to do.  Soon the king’s guards would arrive to take them away and kill them. They decided to pray and ask God to tell them what the king’s dream was and what it meant so that they wouldn’t be killed with the others.  So these four young men knelt together and prayed, begging and pleading with God to give them the answer and save their lives.


That very night God answered their prayers. (Dan.2:19)  During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision.  God not only showed Daniel what Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed, but He also showed Daniel what the dream meant.  Daniel was so thankful that he sang out his praise to God for answering his prayer and giving him the answers. (Dan. 2:20-23)  


“Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute all the wise men of Babylon, and said to him. ‘Do not execute the wise men.  Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him.’”  (Daniel 2:24) 


When Daniel stood before King Nebuchadnezzar he told the king: “No man can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.  He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come…” (Daniel 2: 27b-28)  Daniel made sure that the king knew that it was God alone who had given him the meaning of the dream.  And also that it was God who gave the king the dream in the first place.  He gave all of the glory to God. 


Then Daniel told the king what his dream was – the dream that the king said he had forgotten.  The dream had been of an impressive, glittering, frightening metallic image in the form of a man.  “You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue – an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.  The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.  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.  Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on the threshing floor in the summer.  …But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.”  (Daniel 2: 31-35)  The king was amazed because now he remembered his dream!  Indeed Daniel (Daniels’ God) had told him what it was.


And then Daniel gave King Nebuchadnezzar the meaning of the dream, as God had given it to him in the vision.  Daniel told the king that the gold head of the great image represents himself – the king of the Babylonian Empire (verse 38 and Jer. 51:7 and Isa. 14:4)  The silver chest and arms of the great image represent a lesser empire that will rise after the king dies – (we believe it to be the Medo-Persian Empire established by Cyrus in 539B.C.)  The bronze belly and thighs is still another empire coming after that –(believed to be the Greek Empire established by Alexander the Great in 330 B.C.)  And the iron legs and feet are still another empire after that one – (believed to be the Roman Empire.)  Of all the four metals, iron is the strongest.  None of the three previous kingdoms were as strong and mighty as Rome.


And after the legs of iron come the feet of iron and clay.  Some believe that the feet of iron and clay represent Rome fragmented and reassembled – socially, culturally, and politically – all the peoples, institutions, etc. even today affected by the Roman influence. And it is also believed that the feet of iron and clay may represent the many nations of our modern world – some strong and some weak – the iron and clay. Daniel says it like this: “so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.”  (Daniel 2:43b)  


But what happens after the feet of iron and clay is the most amazing part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream!  “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.  Then the iron and clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold were broken to pieces at the same time and became like chaff on the threshing floor in the summer…”  This is the end of man’s rule. It has been blown away like chaff!  According to the dream and its interpretation, the destruction of the feet and the statue itself (man’s rule) by the rock not cut with human hands is sudden, violent and catastrophic!


“But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth …” (Daniel 2: 34-35) We notice that the rock -Jesus is the Rock (Isaiah 32:1-2 and 1 Peter 2:4-10)- in this dream; a rock that was cut out –“but not by human hands.” (Dan.2:34) This new ruler is not another human (this is not another empire ruled by a human or made with human hands) but the new ruler is the Rock – Jesus, the Son of God.  Jesus will come again in all of His glory as prophesied in Scripture. God, not man, will now rule the earth forever.  (Revelations 19 and 20)   


Daniel gives this explanation that God gave him to the king: “In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” (Daniel 2:44)


King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face when he heard the meaning of his dream.  He said this to Daniel: “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and the revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”  (Daniel 2:47)  


This dream and Gods’ interpretation of it through Daniel have influenced people down through the ages.  It is one of the many prophecies in Scripture that foretell the future of humankind.  Most of the dream where the great image (representing man’s rule) moves from the gold head to the silver chest to the bronze belly and then the iron legs may have already played out through human history. It would seem that possibly we are now living during the time of the feet of iron and clay when there are many nations both strong and weak.


 If that is true, the only part of the prophecy that still remains to be fulfilled is the part where the rock not cut with human hands will strike the feet of iron and clay and become a huge mountain and fill the whole earth.  Could it be possible that we may live in that time - the end time? A wonderful time – Jesus will come again.  A violent and catastrophic time – the feet and the statue (mans’ rule) will be struck down and destroyed.  We could be living in that very time.  Are we ready? 



















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