Daniel 2: The Moments of Truth
What we see in Daniel and his three friends’ lives are a series of “moments of truth”. Moments of truth are when you must decide right or wrong. These decisions can be in the seemingly insignificant issues in life or the major decisions. Several years ago, Ted Turner, put out a list called the 10 Suggestions. God’s commands are not suggestions. Obedience is not optional. The Navigators Group which stresses scripture memorization has an illustration which simplifies this process. The obedient lifestyle of the Christians is pictured as a wheel. Jesus Christ is the Hub of the wheel and scripture which puts Him at the center of our lives is Galatians 2: 20. The four spokes which connect the Hub to the wheel are: The Word, 2 Timothy 3: 16; Prayer: Phil. 4: 6,7; Fellowship, Hebrews 10;24,25; and Evangelism, Romans 1: 16. (Look up these Scriptures and memorize them.) Now the Holy Spirit Who comes to dwell in our lives when we get saved, ‘works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure.’ (Phil. 2; 13)
Here is our part: we have to know God’s commands in order to obey them. We have to purpose in our hearts, like Daniel did to obey God’s commands. This resolve to do our duty to God will be challenged by the world, the flesh and the devil. These are the moments of truth we face each day in the seemingly small and insignificant issues of life which prepare us for those life changing moments of truth when the temptation to compromise is more tempting and appealing for it allows us to avoid confrontation with an increasingly anti-Bible culture.
We saw in the first chapter of the story of Daniel, he “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.” This was in the matter of diet. He makes a successful appeal to the authority above him and as a result not only does not defile himself with compromise, but transforms those around him through the change of diet. Daniel and his three friends excel in their studies and ‘God gives them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.’ (Daniel 1: 17)
I DREAMED A DREAM
King Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream which disturbed him so much he calls in his team of magicians, astrologers and wise men to interpret the king’s dreams. Now comes the unexpected twist, which is the test for these, so- called, wise men also known as magi. Notice the magi use the Aramaic language. In all man-made empires, since the Tower of Babel, common language is important for transactions among people of different backgrounds, culture and languages. Aramaic was the common language at this time. (As we recently noted, Google Translate is making communication easier than ever, paving the way for the One World Government movement in the end times.) The wise men ask the king to tell them his dream. The king decided you tell me what my dream was and what it means. Now you realize God is the one speaking through the king, just as he used dreams of the Pharaoh in the time of Joseph. All of this is to set the stage for a “moment of truth “for Daniel. Watch how it unfolds and realize this is how our Sovereign God works. King Nebuchadnezzar has a quick and violent temper and also is so vexed with this dream, he says if they do not tell him his dream and what it means they will be executed and cut into pieces and their houses turned to rubble. Now comes the reply of the wise men which sets the stage for Daniel. “There is not man on earth who can do what the king asks! No one can reveal it to you except the gods and they do not live among men.” (Daniel 2: 10, 11)
The king then sends the commander of the king’s guard, Arioch, to execute the wise men. Watch how Daniel approaches the problem: “Daniel spoke to Arioch with wisdom and tact. Daniel went into the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him.”
In Hebrews 11, the “Faith Hall of Fame” we read verse after verse of heroes who “by faith” did what they were able to do in moments of truth. If you are wondering if Daniel and his friends are in this chapter, they are mentioned in Hebrews 11: 33, 34: “. (Who through faith shut the mouth of lions and quenched the fury of the flames.” Daniel and his three friends had faith in God’s sovereignty.
Daniel immediately after telling the king he could interpret his dreams enlisted his three friends to pray with him for the mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret. Daniel and his friend cast all their cares upon God. The secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. Daniel gives God all the credit for making it known to him. I could not help but notice something which is easy to miss, Daniel never takes credit himself. Notice when Arioch takes him before king, Arioch takes credit and says, “I have found a man in the captives of Judah who will make know the king’s dream.” I believe Daniel also let the chief eunuch take credit for their healthier diet. Also God had made the king take notice of Daniel and his friends after they finished their training and how much smarter they were than his wise men. The wise men probably resented Daniel and his friends and now they will owe their very lives to this Jewish young man. Five hundred years later, Magi, Wisemen, descendants of these Magi in Daniel’s time will come following a star, seeking the Messiah, all because of the faith of a young Jewish man who would not compromise. Moments of truth faced correctly can make ripples for hundreds of years to come.
WHAT THE DREAM MEANS
There are two layers of meaning in this dream. This prophecy will be fulfilled in the last days of the Tribulation as recorded in Revelation. How important was this prophecy? When Jesus was asked by His disciples in Matthew 24, what would be the signs of His coming, Jesus said, “Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, flee…” Jesus was confirming the accuracy of Daniel’s prophecy. King Nebuchadnezzar was concerned about how long his kingdom would last and this dream would foretell what was to occur in the future.
Daniel then tells the king what he saw: A great image, like a large statue. It consisted of different metals and materials. It was described as enormous, dazzling statue in the NIV version. “The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, and its legs of iron and partly baked clay. While you were watching a rock which 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 into pieces at the same time 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.”
Next Daniel gives the king the meaning of the dream. The statue, this image represented the four Gentile kingdoms to come. The gold head represented Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonian kingdom. His kingdom lasted from 636BC to 539 BC. The breast and arms of silver represent the Medo-Persian kingdom under Darius from 539 BC to 330 BC. The belly and thighs of bronze represent the Grecian Kingdom established under Alexander the Great from 330 BC 63 BC. The legs of iron and clay represent the Roman Empire from 63 BC to 475 AD. The Roman Empire will rise again in the last days from its weakened state today. Many believe the European Union is the beginning of this. The destruction of the image represents the coming of Jesus Christ who will judge his enemies and establish His universal kingdom. This explains the Gentile Kingdoms which will reign until the fullness of time of the Gentiles when Jesus returns to establish His Millennial Kingdom.
THE UNDERLYING MESSAGE
First this dream reveals the sovereignty of Almighty God who is in control of history. He knows the future. This does NOT mean He causes the evil things men and nations do, but He can overrule their evil and accomplish His Own divine will. God gave each of these leaders and nations the power to defeat their enemies and expand their empires. Adam had lost the scepter which God had handed to him when God gave the first Adam dominion over the earth. We see in history how the scepter is passed from nation to nation, empire to empire.
Notice also each empire is taken over by an empire which is inferior in value to the empire it takes over. The first empire, the Babylonian Empire is described as pure gold. The Medo-Persian Empire is described as silver, which is inferior in value to gold. The third empire, the Grecian empire is described as bronze which is inferior to silver. The last empire which is the Roman Empire which is described as iron with clay feet is also inferior and weaker than those which it replaced. The Roman Empire will be reunited with a series of 10 kings (10 toes) which cannot hold together and comes crashing down.
Of course the last kingdom is the kingdom which we are taught by Jesus to pray will come. “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…” This is kingdom which one cannot see nor enter unless they are born again into this kingdom.
So as we look at these advances of civilization, we see even though we are making discoveries and advancements in science, medicine, travel, technology and knowledge is growing by leaps and bounds at unbelievable speed we are not getting better, we are getting worse. Each generation makes advances in things which make our lives more comfortable and more convenient, but we are as a world and a culture, ever learning but never coming to the truth. We made huge advances in the 20th century in life expectancy, in healing diseases, in healthier living, the power of electricity, splitting the atom and the nuclear age, air travel, automobiles, the computer and internet. Each with the ability to improve life and also with the ability to create even more problems that have to be solved. In the end, kings and kingdoms will all pass away. Each war fought and ended with the promises never again would we go to war to solve problems. But they continue and are widespread. Man seems to be intent on destroying what God has so graciously given us. We are now for the most part a population of 7 billion of which the majority are unbelievers who have been deceived into thinking they can rule the world and make it a better place. But it is not by might or power but by His Spirit.
The stone which smashes the statue is the frequent image of God in Scripture, He is the Cornerstone, HE is the rock. He was the stone the builders rejected and has become the capstone, the Lord has done this and it is marvelous in our eyes. (Psalm 118: 22, 23) Jesus quotes this in Matthew 21 then went on to say: “Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to the people who will produce fruit. He who falls on the stone will be broken to pieces, but he on whom it falls will be crushed.” The Stone cut without hands in the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar,
WHAT DO WE DO?
Daniel and his friends were placed in high positions. It all started with the sincere motive to obey God. This motive to please God and bring glory to His Name was what gave these four young Jewish men the resolve to obey God, no matter what. They would obey God and leave the consequences to Him.
The more advanced our civilization becomes, the more people come to depend on the world to provide it with a life worth living. Yet with each advancement technology provides comes more problems created which then send people off looking for more ways to solve them. And trying to solve them without God as part of the equation is futile. So here we are in the 21st century with the signs easily seen how each generation becomes progressively worse than the previous generation before. Jesus Himself tells us it will get to the point like it was in the days of Noah and Lot. We can see the buds on the tree. We see the fruits, the works of the vine of the earth described in detail in Galatians 5: “ The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. These will not inherit the kingdom.”
Jesus Christ must become our life. He is the Hub, the center of the wheel of our life. Our lives revolve around Him. And the spokes which connect us to Him in obedience are: His Word; Prayer, Fellowship and Evangelism. In this way we prepare ourselves for the “moments of truth” which are coming to us daily.