Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 1

October 21, 2015 at 11:27 AM 1 comment

Not a happy king. Sleep eluded Nebuchadnezzar because of his dreams.

Not a happy king. Sleep eluded Nebuchadnezzar because of his dreams.

We previously discussed and highlighted aspects of Daniel 1, which was a six-part study. With this article, we’re going to begin looking at Daniel 2, which is filled with God’s revelation to Daniel regarding future things, history that was to occur starting during Daniel’s life, but continuing long after he was gone from this world. In fact, it is clear that the final stages of prophecy revealed to Daniel have not yet occurred on the timeline of human history. It is still in front of us. It is a fascinating look at how God has chosen to prove Himself to humanity, though He was under no obligation to do so. God stooped to make His sovereignty known. Yet, still people ignore or reject His sovereignty.

Daniel 1 presented us with Daniel and showcased his desire to obey God at all costs, even in what might be considered the “small” things in life. Yet, because of Daniel’s willingness to obey God even though a captive in a foreign land by a foreign people, God blessed Daniel and his friends mightily. We noted in that series covering Daniel 1 that God did this not necessarily because He wanted to bless Daniel (though that was certainly part of it since Daniel had been obedient), but because of God’s overriding desire to reveal to humanity (via Daniel) what would become of all attempts to dethrone God.

At the end of Daniel 1, Daniel (and friends), was found to have more wisdom and discernment than all King Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors put together. It is a huge statement about God’s ability to bless with understanding, wisdom, and discernment those who are willing to obey God at all costs. Daniel was even given the ability to understand dreams and this comes into play beginning with chapter two of Daniel.

Let’s move to the text to see what happens when Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that troubles him greatly, as we see in Daniel 2:1-3.

Now in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; and his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. 2 Then the king gave orders to call in the magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 The king said to them, “I had a dream and my spirit is anxious to understand the dream.”

Daniel 2 opens with a timeline for us. We are told the events to follow occurred during the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. This same chapter ultimately reveals to us God’s plan for the ages and what is often called the “times of the Gentiles.” It must be pointed out and remembered right from the start that this program – the times of the Gentiles – should immediately tell us that this is referencing the Jewish state otherwise there would be no point in calling it the times of the Gentiles. This revealing to Daniel shows what is going to befall Israel up through and until the Lord Jesus returns to this earthy physically.

Many commentators have tried to change this message, but stating that Jesus returned “spiritually” in AD 70 when the Romans sacked and destroyed Jerusalem and because of that, God is done with Israel completely, transferring all remaining blessings to the Church. In this scenario, the curses still remain on Israel. I would like to state without equivocation that it is impossible to arrive to this conclusion without allegorizing Scripture. By interpreting the Bible in its most plain and ordinary sense (as we would in any normal conversation), it is clear that God is not finished with Israel and that the plan that began with Daniel during his day will carry this world up to the time and day when Jesus returns physically to this world. It is from this perspective that I write these articles as well.

One important note regarding the language utilized by Daniel to write chapters two through seven. This particular section was written in Aramaic, which makes sense since it speaks to what the Gentile world would be doing and what effect it would have on the Jewish nation of Israel.

Daniel wrote 2:4b—7:28 in the Aramaic language. This literary change gives the reader a clue that this part is a distinct section of the book. The content of this section also identifies it as special. It concerns the future history of the Gentiles during “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24). Aramaic was the common language of the world in which Daniel lived when he wrote. It is natural that he would have recorded what concerns the world as a whole in the language of the Gentiles. [1]

As Constable points out, since Aramaic was the common language of the world during Daniel’s day. Since what Daniel was writing about between Daniel 2 and 7 explained the rise and fall of Gentile empires and how their rising and falling affected Israel, it was natural for him to write this part of the text in a language

According to several reliable scholars, Nebuchadnezzar officially became king on September 7, 605 B.C. On the first of Nisan, 604 B.C., the following spring, the first official year of his reign began. The intervening months constituted his accession year and were credited to his father’s reign. The first year of his reign then ended on the first of Nisan the following year, 603 B.C. The second year of his reign (v. 1) began in 603 and ended in 602 B.C.[2]

According to Dr. Thomas Constable, the following information about Daniel is very pertinent

Daniel probably arrived in Babylon during the summer of 605 B.C. and began his three-year education (1:4-5) shortly after that, perhaps in the fall. His curriculum may not have taken three full years; it could have ended in the spring of 602 B.C. Thus Daniel probably had finished his education and entered into government service when the events of chapter 2 unfolded, as the text implies. [3]

Note that once Daniel provides the timeline (Nebuchadnezzar’s second year), he moves onto the reason for writing what becomes chapter two. Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that robs him of his sleep. The text notes that the king had more than one dream, that he had dreams (plural). It is likely that all the dreams – however many he had – were in a series but all had the same subject. Nebuchadnezzar was so troubled by these dreams that he could not maintain sleep for any real length of time.

We all know how it is to not be able to sleep every once in a while. For people who have insomnia, it must be terrible, never really getting solid sleep for seven or eight hours. Most of us also probably know what it’s like to wake from sleep with a start because of either something we dreamed or due to outside stimuli. In either case, it’s upsetting. For Nebuchadnezzar, it was very troubling, not only in not being able to sleep, but in recalling what it was that kept him from sleep in the first place.

But Nebuchadnezzar did something most people cannot do. He called his “magicians, the conjurers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans” to shed light on the problem. Specifically, Nebuchadnezzar ordered these individuals to come before him for one purpose: “to tell the king his dreams.”

Think of that! Nebuchadnezzar was not asking them to interpret the dream he intended to tell them. He wanted them to tell him the dream he had and then to interpret it! Talk about pressure, but Nebuchadnezzar was no idiot. He well understood the nature of human beings and their propensity to lie when they had no real answer. As we’ll learn, King Nebuchadnezzar was going to put these wise men on the spot by asking them to do something that was unheard of.

We’ll be back with more next time!

 

[1] Dr. Thomas Constable’s Notes on Daniel (2015 edition), p. 24

[2] Wiseman, pp. 25-26; Thiele, pp. 159-60; Finegan, Handbook of . . ., p. 38.

[3] Dr. Thomas Constable’s Notes on Daniel (2015 edition), p. 26

Entry filed under: israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , , .

Prophecies of Daniel 1, Part 6 Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 2

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