by Michael H. Exton
Copyright © 2017 by Michael H. Exton
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Part One: The Past
Judah Exiled to Babylon
It is 602 BC and Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon conquers the Kingdom of Judah. The people of JUDAH are then deported as SLAVES to Babylon — just as God had foretold (2 Kings 24:8-17).
Daniel & His 3 Friends
Among the many Jews taken to Babylon is a young man named Daniel and his three friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. These four young men are very talented — therefore they are selected to serve in the king’s palace (Daniel 1:1-6).
“God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for learning the literature and science of the time. And God gave Daniel special ability in understanding the meanings of visions and dreams. When the three-year training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief official brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with each of them, and none of them impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So, they were appointed to his regular staff of ADVISERS. In all matters requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, the king found the advice of these young men to be ten times better than that of all the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom” (Daniel 1:17-20; NLT).
Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream of a Great Statue
During this time king Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, and he wants the wise men of Babylon to interpret the dream for him. But he also wants them to tell him what he has dreamed! And if they aren’t able to do so, he declares that every single one of them will die!
Fortunately, God reveals the dream and its meaning to Daniel. Daniel then explains the dream and its meaning to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel tells the king that in his dream he saw an ENORMOUS STATUE: the head of the statue was made of gold, its chest & arms of silver, its belly & thighs of bronze, its lower legs of iron and its feet partly of iron & partly of clay. Then a rock struck the statue on its FEET, which caused the whole statue to crumble. A huge wind then came and swept the pieces away without leaving a trace. The rock then became a huge mountain and filled the entire earth (Daniel 2:1-35).
Daniel Interprets the Dream
Daniel then interprets the dream for Nebuchadnezzar. He tells the king that the head of gold represents him (and his Babylonian Empire); the CHEST & ARMS OF SILVER represent the next empire that would follow his (the MEDO- PERSIAN EMPIRE); the belly & thighs of bronze represent the third kingdom (the Greco-Macedonian Empire); the LOWER LEGS OF IRON represent the fourth kingdom (the ROMAN EMPIRE); and the feet of iron & clay represent the last kingdom (a resurrected Roman Empire in the days just prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ). (Daniel 2:36-43)
Daniel then goes on to explain to Nebuchadnezzar that the Rock that destroyed the statue represents God and His Kingdom; that the Rock (Jesus Christ) would return to earth at the time of this last empire (a revived “Holy Roman Empire” consisting of TEN European nations) to destroy it and all other kingdoms; then Christ would set up the KINGDOM OF GOD on earth — which will last forever! (Daniel 2:44-47; Revelation 17:12-14, 5:10)
Daniel & His 3 Friends Are Promoted
“Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, ‘Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery.’ Then the king placed DANIEL in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon [similar to what happened to Joseph in Egypt!] and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel's request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego [i.e. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah] administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court” (Daniel 2:46-49).
Daniel’s Dream of 4 Dreadful Beasts with 10 Horns ...............
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