As we begin to consider this chapter which contains so much of God’s prophetic word, we need to lay down some basic principles of interpretation. These basic rules will help you as you read the Book and as we discuss it in class.
Principle 1 – There are two types of prophetic formula: symbolic and simple. Symbolic interpretations can be discovered in two ways, first by the context of what is being written, or secondly from other parts of the Bible. For example, in Rev. 1:12 we are told about the seven lamp stands. The lamp stands are symbolic of something which is explained to us in the context of what we are reading. If you look at v 20, we are told the answer that the 7 lamp stands symbolize the seven Churches of Asia Minor. In Rev. 2:12 we learn about the double-edged sword. What is that? It is a reference to the Word of God (Heb 4:12). Paul also uses the metaphor of a sword to describe the Word (Eph. 6:17). That the sword is two-edged depicts the Word’s potency and power in exposing and judging the innermost thoughts of the human heart. So, we see how the symbolic is explained here or in other portions of Scripture. The Simple interpretations are simply to take literally what is being said like reading history in advance. An example of this is found in Rev. 2:5, if the church at Ephesus doesn’t repent God will remove their lamp stand, that is the church will cease to exist, this in fact has happened.
Principle 2 – understanding the time element. Time can be eclipsed and refer to two different time periods. A classic illustration of this principle is Lk. 4:16ff which is where the Lord reads from Is. 61:1-2 in which Jesus ends the prophecy in the middle of a sentence because there was an over two-thousand-year gap in time. He closed the book in the middle of a sentence. The first portion of the passage describes His first coming, while the second half of the passage describes His return in judgment. A person reading it at that time or before the resurrection of Yeshua would never have known of such a split, but now we understand this. This is what Peter was getting at in 1 Pet. 1:10-12. This has been described by some writers as Mt. Peaks of prophecy. The only way to understand certain prophetic insights is to study parallel portions of Scripture and even then, we can’t say we are correct with absolute certainty. We need to hold prophecy loosely as we see as Paul wrote “through a glass darkly”.
Principle 3 – There is unity in diversity, this is sometimes wrongly called double fulfillment. But some things can be given as a unity with diverse parts. An example is the first and second comings of Messiah, there are two comings but one work. This is true of the counterfeit antichrist as well when we consider Daniel 9:27. A partial fulfillment is found in the defilement of the Temple by Antiochus in 164 BC which set in motion the events that are now celebrated as Hanukkah. Yeshua then speaks of a time yet in the future described in Matt. 24:15. With these principles, prophecy can be interpreted by the Historical grammatical method. This means that we can read the Bible based on the historical meaning of the words and according to the common rules of grammar. This is so important because you can study all the historical, doctrinal, and prophetic portions of Scripture with the same type of exegesis, and you don’t have to shift exegesis from one portion of Scripture to another. Exegesis is the careful explanation of the meaning of a given text. The term comes from a Greek term that means “explanation.” If we are not consistent in our interpretative methods than we leave ourselves open to any kind of interpretation of Scripture. For example, there are many Hindu gurus who will use Scripture allegorically or spiritually to suggest that their theology and worldview is endorsed by Scripture. It is also leaves open the door to liberal neo-orthodox “Christian” theologians. The heart of neo-orthodox theology is that the Bible gives us resources for religious experience, but that the Bible contains mistakes when history and science contradict it. This concept now has come into evangelical and Messianic circles as well. The neo-orthodox believers who will spiritualize and allegorize do so by suggesting that we can interpret the Bible differently depending on which part we are dealing with. One set of interpretive rules for the historical portions of the Bible and a different set of rules for doctrinal parts and still another for the prophetic parts. This leads to all kinds of inconsistencies and doubts.
There are four main interpretative approaches to prophecy. The preterist approach views Revelation and Daniel not as future, predictive prophecy, but as a historical record of events in the first-century Roman Empire. The preterist sees the words about Christ’s second coming as fulfilled in the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70, even though He did not appear on that occasion. The historicist approach sees Revelation as a record of church history from apostolic times until the present. Historicist interpreters often resort to allegorizing the text to find in it the various historical events they believe it fulfills. The historicist view also ignores Revelation’s own claims to speak of events of prophecy. It leaves the interpretation to allegorical and spiritualized meanings invented by each would-be interpreter. The idealist approach sees depicted in Daniel and Revelation the timeless struggle between good and evil that is played out in every age. According to this view Daniel and Revelation are neither a historical record nor a predictive prophecy. It too denies them as being prophetic. This view suggests that the books are myth designed to convey spiritual truth. Finally, the futurist approach sees predictions of people and events yet to come. Only this approach allows Daniel to be interpreted in the literal, grammatical-historical method thus avoiding allegory and spiritualizing. The futurist approach allows for the claims of the Book concerning prophecy. As we said if allegory and spiritualizing is accepted as a valid means of interpretation than anything can mean anything that the interpreter believes it to mean. So, when we consider the prophetic book of Daniel we are going to interpret according to the historical grammatical method of interpretation. We will follow normal rules of English grammar and how it is historically interpreted. Prophecy and the Book of Revelation is one part of the entire message of God’s Word and must be considered as part of the entire fabric of Scripture, which is a seamless garment. There are three rules I will be using as we study:
Rule 1 – Nothing is to be taken in the Book of Daniel such as a figure of speech unless it is clearly marked as a figure of speech or known as a figure of speech in other parts of the Bible. This corresponds to our first principle. This means that God expects us to understand what is written in this Book. For example, in the Book of Revelation the seven stars which is a figure of speech in chapter 1:16 are revealed in the chapter to be the seven angels of the seven churches in v 20. The same is true of the seven golden lampstands which in the same verse is interpreted as a picture of the seven churches. So, in chapter 1 we are told that the angels and the lampstands are figures of speech. In comparison we read of “seven thunders” in 10:4. John understood the meaning of what was said because he was told not to reveal it. But that which is to be revealed should be able to be understood by the reader of the letter otherwise what would be the point in revealing anything in this letter to the church. Daniel was told not to reveal certain things in his prophecy in Dan. 12:4. Paul also was told not to reveal certain things as well in 2 Cor 12:2-3. But the rest was to be revealed. In Mark 1:10 we have a figure of speech in an historical section of Scripture, the Spirit of God descending like a dove. We see another illustration of this in Act 2:10 and we know that this is not literal but a figure of speech by the modifier “like”. These are the rules concerning figures of speech.
Rule 2 – Tempo sequences are shown, this is dealing with time concerning events.
Rule 3 – Whether the action is in heaven or on the earth is clearly shown. This rule deals with where this action takes place.
V 1 Nebuchadnezzar is said to have dreamed dreams but only one is mentioned. The belief that God or the gods communicated to men by means of dreams, was prevalent throughout the world in ancient times. This was the case of Pharaoh, Abimelech, the butler, and baker in Egypt, and so on. In every instance it was necessary, as in this chapter, to call in the aid of a prophet or seer to interpret the dream. The anxiety caused by these dreams by God prepared them to receive the interpretation by Joseph and Daniel as to take the appropriate action that God wanted them to. God knew that this was the best way for them to respond to His sovereign will. God moves the hearts of kings like rivers of water the Scriptures tells us (Prov. 21:1). This was certainly the case with Joseph and Pharaoh as well as with Abimelech (Gen. 20:3, 6; Gen. 41:7, 25). Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled by the dream, and by the impression that it referred to some important truths related to his kingdom and the future. The Hebrew word here (פָעַם) means to “strike, to be agitated, or troubled). “And his sleep left him.” Literally, “His sleep was upon him.” The meaning is that he was “in” a reflective sleep when he “was” sound asleep.
V 2-3 Then the king gave orders when he awoke. His mind was disturbed but he could not recall the dream clearly so he called his magicians, astrologers, and sorcerers. The Hebrew word for sorcerers is kashaph כָשַׁף which is defined as the practice of magic and magic formulas, or incantations. The word is found in 2 Chr. 33:6 and translated “witchcraft”. “Chaldeans” was the name given to all who were devoted to these secret arts and became celebrated for them. It was these men who the king expected to explain and interpret his dream. He called on them to tell him what the dream was, and to explain its meaning.
V 4-5 “The Chaldeans spoke in Aramaic” From here through chapter 7 the text was written in Aramaic which was an international language in the time of Daniel. A likely reason for this is that Daniel 2—7 deals with the purposes of God and the nations while chapters 1 and 8—12 focus on Israel. The entire book shows the outworking of God’s judgment on Israel and the coming Messiah. The figures and symbols in these chapters point to the rise, decline, and fall of the great empires of the ancient world and point to the King and the kingdom that will soon come. The message of Daniel 2 is that the kingdom of God will be established, grow, and ultimately subdue the whole earth.
The kings’ advisors asked him to tell them the dream, and then they would interpret it. This was the normal way that astrologers and soothsayers in ancient times operated. When the king demanded that they should tell him what he dreamed it was not something done in their profession and regarded as an unreasonable request. The king responded that his command was firm, what I have said is ratified, and will not be recalled. He told them that if they did not provide both the dream and an interpretation they would be tortured and executed. Nebuchadnezzar was known as a cruel and severe ruler, and his words here are consistent with his character. The demand though was not unreasonable if they really had the ability to communicate with the gods. If they were truly qualified to explain future events, they should be able to retell what the dream was. If the gods gave them supernatural power to explain what was to “come,” they could as easily enable them to recall “the past.” The punishment of being cut in pieces was common to many ancient nations (1 Sam. 15:33).
V 6-7 They were to tell him the dream so that Nebuchadnezzar would recognize it; and they were to give an explanation that he would know to be true. He would rely much on their supposed wisdom just as Pharaoh relied on Joseph in interpreting his dream. The similarities between this story and that recorded in Genesis 41 concerning Joseph and Pharaoh’s dream of seven years’ famine and seven years’ plenty are too pronounced to be accidental. The account of Joseph is another illustration of the same providence, provision and goodness of God revealed to His children when in captivity. There are differences between these two accounts, but in several ways the writer lets the one dream reflect the other. In each account the king in question is troubled by a dream (2:1; Gen. 41:8); the magicians can do nothing to help (2:10f; Gen. 41:8); a captive Hebrew comes to the rescue and, with the help of God (2:30; Gen. 41:16), is able to give the dream’s interpretation (2:36–45; Gen. 41:25–33); as a result Daniel is promoted to the chief minister and head of the sages (cf. 2:48; Gen. 41:40ff.). The chief lesson here is not only that God is in control of the day-by-day affairs of men, which the Genesis story so beautifully show us, but also that the whole of history is in His hands. A second lesson is that, despite the wisdom of worldly philosophers, they can do nothing to interpret life’s mysteries or to make known the secret things of God. The account here underlines the point that the pagan as well as modern world, with its wonderworkers, astrologers, soothsayers, and exorcists, can’t begin to compare with the wisdom possessed by the true servants of the One true God. The magicians and worldly-wise men here fail to impress the king. They may bluff and wax eloquent with many words, as with Nebuchadnezzar, but in the end, it will be of no avail. With all their secret learning they can’t even tell the present, much less the future. In v 7 they appeal again to the king to tell them his dream and they will interpret it.
V 8-9 The king tells them that he is convinced that they are stalling because they do not have the necessary ability. The delay was probably based on the hope that with time they might come up with something that might appease him, or to divert his anger and threats to destroy them. The king seems to have surmised that these thoughts were on their minds and repeats that he is firm in his decision to eliminate them if they do not provide both the dream and its interpretation. The king reveals his lack of confidence in the wisdom and abilities of his “wise men”. They probably had failed him on previous assignments, just as the prophets of Baal failed Ahab when he sought their counsel. Nebuchadnezzar is now putting them to a real test. His reasoning at this point is very logical: If they can tell him his dream, then it is reasonable to conclude that their interpretation will not be genuine. If they cannot tell him his dream, any interpretation would be under suspicion. He repeats his promise toexecute them. He is holding them individually and collectively responsible for the answer.
V 10-11 Their response is that the thing asked by the King is beyond the power of man. They believed that if they couldn’t help the king nobody could except the “gods” who do not live with men. They were wrong on both counts; The God of Israel did dwell amid His people and had the power to provide the required wisdom to His servants. This was a confession of their inability in the matter and perhaps to try stay the wrath of the king. They assert that the king’s request was beyond human powers, and that no one should be expected to do what was demanded. They try to convince the king that the request was so unreasonable that he should not insist on it. Their persistence was because now their life depended on their argument and they believed that they had justice on their side.
V 12-13 The King is enraged at their response. It may be argued that his anger was unjust. But he was deeply troubled and alarmed by this dream. He believed that what he had seen in his dream spoke of some important events that would affect his Kingdom. He was the leader of a mighty nation and his wrath and worry seemed justified in his mind. He now gave the command that all the wise men of Babylon should be put to death. Since they failed him in his most dire need for wisdom and insight what good were they to him or anyone else, he resolved to cut them off as impostors. Why Daniel was not called or consulted at this time is not known. It may be that although he had shown himself to be filled with wisdom (Dan. 1:2) he had not made any claims to this kind of knowledge and was not numbered with the elite of the Magi.
V 14-15 Arioch went out to follow the King’s orders and Daniel spoke to Arioch with wisdom and tact. Daniel’s response can be directly attributed to his habit of daily seeking the Lord in prayer and study of God’s Word (Dan 6:10). Arioch told Daniel what the king had decreed and all that was involved in his ruling, and that he should prepare to die. He spoke to Arioch in such a way that he allowed Daniel to make an appearance before the King. Arioch understood that the need of the king was to interpret the dream. Knowing the high favor Daniel received earlier before the king (Dan. 1:19-21), he is willing to assume responsibility and allow Daniel to make his presentation to the king.
16-17 Daniel went ineither by himself, or with a court official requesting that if the king would give him time he would make known the dream and the interpretation. It appears from Dan. 2:24-25 that this is the first direct audience with the king after the dream and its interpretation was made known to Daniel in a vision at night. He did not give a “why” he desired time, though the reason is so that he might seek the Lord with his brethren for an answer. This request was granted and this too demonstrates God’s hand upon Daniel as the Magi were not give time to seek an answer. This of course may be due to their acknowledgement that there was no way that they could come up with an answer. Again, Daniel had already proven his wisdom previously to the King. Also, Daniel did not ask, as the Chaldeans did, that the king should tell the dream before he would explain it. This may be the result of Arioch informing of the events surrounding the execution decree. Still a further reason the king granted Daniel time was his anxiety to understand the dream. It may be that by now he was willing to grasp at “any” hope to have a resolution to the matter that was deeply troubling him. Still further we should understand that God controls the hearts of all kings so that His hand was surely involved in granting this request. Daniel returned home and shared everything with Hannaniah, Meshael and Azariah.
V 18-19 Thay called on God that he would show his mercy to them in revealing this secret and that their lives might be spared. All depended now on God. It was clear that human abilities were exhausted. The only hope was God, and His answer would come by prayer. We can’t help but note that prayers were offered not just for themselves but for all the wise men as well. God answered their prayers, and the secret was revealed. Nothing would be more natural than breaking forth in praise and thanksgiving for God’s gift of revealing both the dream and its interpretation and that God would be glorified through it all.
V 20-23 Daniel Blessedthe “name,” which is to bless God himself rather than uttering His most Holy name in a pagan land. He acknowledged that both wisdom and power are found in the Lord. He acknowledged God’s sovereignty over times and seasons asserting God’s control over all things. This no doubt concerned all the empires of the future that had just been revealed to him. Foreseeing these vast changes indicated by the different parts of the image in Dan. 2:36-45. These kingdoms stretch far into the future. It is no wonder that Daniel stood in deep awe of God and His grace on him and God’s dealings with future nations. He understood that it is God who he sets up kings and deposes them. He was serving the greatest king of these nations and saw that before the hands of God they were but putty in His hands. The mighty Nebuchadnezzar was brought to understand this after his God given bout of madness in Dan. 4:32, 35. Daniel also confessed that it is God who grants wisdom to the wise, He is the source of all true wisdom and knowledge. He reveals deep and hidden things which are far above man’s understanding in his own power. These are of the realm of the supernatural. God’s knowledge and wisdom so overshadow and eclipse the wisdom and knowledge of the greatest of the Magi. He brings to light what is darkness to man, because light dwells with Him (1 Tim. 6:16: 1 John 1:5). One more important statement made here is that Daniel attributes the answered prayers to not just himself but to his brethren as well.
V 24-30 Daniel went to Arioch without delay, no doubt everyone involved was anxious for a resolution. Arioch being charged with their execution had access to the king. To bring good news to a king was an honor and since Arioch was the one who gave Daniel the opportunity to come before the king, he should receive the honor. Since Daniel was one of the wise men all the wise men would now be spared, this was gracious of Daniel insisting that even his pagan associates be spared. Arioch brings Daniel before the king immediately. Arioch tells the King that he found a man who could interpret the dream from among the exiles from Judah. The king asked if Daniel was able tell him what the dream was and its interpretation. Daniel reinforced what the Magi told him that it was impossible for man to interpret the dream. But God who is in heaven can do what man cannot. Daniel pointed the King to the Lord instead of claiming ability was in him. He is the one worthy of praise and submission, but it would be a while before the King would understand this. It was God who would make the mystery known to the king. Daniel related that the thoughts Nebuchadnezzar was dwelling on after he fell asleep. He told him that it was God who gave him this insight while he slept. These thoughts had to do with his kingdom and the kingdoms that would follow him.
31-35 God’s explanation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream concerned “the times of the Gentiles,” which is a term given by Yeshua in Luke 21:24. The times of the Gentiles, refers to the rule of Gentile nations over the earth until the day when Yeshua returns to set up God’s kingdom on earth (Lu.21:24-28). His dream concerned four major empires that would rule the earth. The fourth empire (Rome) would have features that would be embraced by the succeeding world powers. Then in the last days a restoration of the fourth empire will take place. This revived Roman empire in its culmination will be led by the infamous man of lawlessness, the antichrist himself. However, the Lord revealed a fifth kingdom in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, God’s kingdom.’
Daniel reveals one of the most amazing prophecies in all Scripture. Nebuchadnezzar had seen a huge statue. Five features are noted about the statue: 1) Its head was pure gold. 2) Its chest and arms were silver. 3) Its belly and thighs were bronze. 3) Its legs were iron. 3) Its feet were part iron and part clay. While staring at the statue in his dream, the king watched as a huge rock was cut out of a mountain and started rolling down it (v.34). The huge stone struck the statue’s feet of iron and clay, smashing them. With no foundation under it, the statue collapsed with great force. Its pieces were shattered into dust and the wind swept away all trace of the statue. Then the stone began to grow into a huge mountain until it finally filled the whole earth with its presence (v.35). Daniel said that this was the dream Nebuchadnezzar had been given by the Lord. Now he would interpret and explain the meaning of the dream.
36-39 -The statue represented four kingdoms and the stone symbolized the kingdom of God (vv.36-45a). 1) The head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he was the most powerful king on earth at that time, a king who ruled over many kings. But he needed to understand that it was “the God of heaven” who had given him the right to rule. His kingdom and his very life were a gift from God. Nebuchadnezzar would be held accountable for the way he ruled. 2) The chest and arms of silver represented the reign of the Medes and Persians (539–331 B.C.). Daniel said that after the fall of Babylon another world empire would arise, but that it would be inferior to the Babylonian Empire. The two arms apparently symbolized the two divisions of the empire, the Medes and Persians. The Medo-Persian Empire ruled the Near East for more than two hundred years. 3) The bronze belly and thighs of the statue represent the Greek Empire (331–146 B.C.). In 331 B.C., Alexander the Great expanded Medo-Persia and expanded his rule considerably beyond that of the Persians. 4) The statue’s legs of iron represent the fourth kingdom, Rome (vv.40-43). Rome dominated the world for about 600 years (146 B.C.–476 A.D.).
40-43 Four significant features of the fourth kingdom are pointed out: 1) The fourth kingdom will crush all opposing powers with its iron fist. 2) The fourth kingdom will be a divided empire, a federation of nations at the end of its history. This is represented by the feet and ten toes that were part iron and part clay. 3) The fourth kingdom will have parts (nations) as strong as iron and others as weak as clay. 4) The fourth kingdom will be a mix of people who will not remain united any more than iron mixed with clay (v.43). The feet and toes are an extension of the fourth kingdom (the Roman Empire). But the feet and toes are at the end or bottom of the legs, which suggests that they represent the last phase of the Roman Empire. This will be explained in more detail in chapter 7.
In chapter seven, Daniel dreams of four beasts that come out of the sea. The fourth beast represents Rome, just as it does here in chapter two. The beast of Daniel’s dream in chap. 7 had ten horns that corresponds to the ten toes of the statue. Again, the ten horns are said to be ten kings who arise from the fourth kingdom (Rome). But a new feature is added: a little horn arises from among the other ten, which represents the antichrist who will arise in the end of days. This then places the ten toes and ten horns as a federation of nations in the latter days before the coming of Jesus to establish God’s kingdom on earth. In the last days there will be a league of nations that will be a revived Roman Empire. In this chapter prophecy reveals that the final phase of the fourth kingdom—the Roman Empire—will have the same four traits that are spelled out by the Scripture of vv 40-43.
The federation of nations governed by the antichrist will crush all opposing powers with its iron fist (v.40). The federation of nations governed by the antichrist will be a divided empire, a league of nations with each having its own interests at heart (v.41). The federation of nations governed by the antichrist will include some nations as strong as iron and some as weak as clay (v.42). The federation of nations governed by the antichrist will be a mix of people who will not remain united any more than iron mixed with clay (v.43).
This accurate forecast of the gentile world empires following the fall of Babylon is the main reason why liberal scholars tried so hard to discredit this book, assigning it to a later era. But they are proof of God’s sovereignty, which is the main theme in Daniel. The reason God can foretell what is to come is because God is in control of history. He can foretell what will happen because he has determined what will happen and he has the power to make it happen. What is more, this is evidence that God is the one true God. God presents this argument in Isaiah 41:21-24: “Present your case,” says the Lord. “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King. “Bring in [your idols] to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable.
The devil, if he speaks through fortune-tellers, mediums, and mystics, can prophesy as well but nowhere in history is there a rival to the accurately fulfilled prophecies of the Bible. This is one of the many strong proofs of the Bible’s inspiration and that the God of the Bible is God.
v 44-45 Daniel then focused on the overthrow of those kingdoms. The time of those kings may refer to the four empires or, more likely, it refers to the time of the 10 toes which will come at the end times. Nebuchadnezzar had seen a rock hit and smash the image (2:34). The statue was destroyed by the rock, not by human hands. In Scripture a rock often refers to the Lord, Israel’s Messiah (Ps. 118:22; Isa. 8:14; 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6-8). God, who placed Nebuchadnezzar in his position will remove Babylon and replace it with Medo-Persia, which will then be replaced by Greece, and then Rome. God then will install His King who will rule over the earth and remove all rebellion to His authority. In Nebuchadnezzar’s dream the rock became a mountain that filled the whole earth (Dan. 2:35).
In Scripture a mountain is often a symbol for a kingdom. So, Daniel explained that the four empires which would rule over the land and the people of Israel would not be destroyed by human means, but rather by the coming of the Yeshua the Messiah, the striking Stone. When He comes, He will establish the messianic kingdom promised to Israel through David (2 Sam. 7:16). At His return He will subdue all… kingdoms to Himself, thus bringing them to an end (cf. Rev. 11:15; 19:11-20). Then He will rule forever in the Millennium and in the eternal state.
Amillennialists hold that this kingdom was established by Yeshua at His First coming and that the church is that kingdom. They argue that: Christianity, like the growing mountain, began to grow and spread geographically and is still doing so. They teach that Yeshua came in the days of the Roman Empire, and that the Roman Empire fell into the hands of 10 kingdoms (10 toes). That Yeshua is the chief Cornerstone (Eph. 2:20).
Premillenarians, however, hold that the kingdom to be established by Yeshua on earth is in the future. Here are six reason why we hold this view: (1) The stone will become a mountain suddenly, not gradually. Christianity did not suddenly fill “the whole earth” (Dan. 2:35) at Yeshua’s first coming. (2) Though Yeshua came in the days of the Roman Empire, He did not destroy it. (3) During Yeshua’s time on earth the Roman Empire did not have 10 kings at once. Yet Nebuchadnezzar’s statue suggests that when the Messiah comes to establish His kingdom, 10 rulers will be in existence and will be destroyed by Him. (4) Though Yeshua is now the chief Cornerstone to the church (Eph. 2:20) and “a stone that causes [unbelievers] to stumble” (1 Peter 2:8), He is not yet a smiting Stone as He will be when He comes again. (5) The Stone (Messiah) will crush and end all the kingdoms of the world. But the church has not and will not conquer the world’s kingdoms. (6) The church is not a kingdom with a political realm, but the future Millennium will be. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream points to a time yet in the future that point to the events of the tribulation preceding the second coming of Yeshua. It will be at the end of those events that Yeshua will return to earth to Israel subdue the nations and establish His rule on the earth.
46-49 – The king was so overwhelmed by Daniel’s interpretation that he fell before Daniel and ordered that an offering be made to him, an honor that would normally have been given only to the gods of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar recognized the presence of God in Daniel’s revelation and interpretation of the dream. Nebuchadnezzar was led to confess that Daniel’s God is Lord of lords, superior to all the gods of Babylon and Lord over all. Daniel’s God was exalted in his eyes because God through Daniel revealed the course of history. The king said that God is a Revealer of mysteries, as Daniel had said (v. 28). Nebuchadnezzar accepted the fact of his own appointment to power by Daniel’s God (37-38) and recognized God’s authority over him. Nebuchadnezzar then appointed Daniel to a position of responsibility in his government and rewarded him with gifts.
Babylon was divided into many provinces, each one under the leadership of a satrap (3:2). Daniel was evidently made a satrap over the province in which the royal court was located (the province of the city of Babylon). Daniel did not forget his friends but asked that they be promoted too. So, the king made Shadrach (Hananiah), Meshach (Mishael), and Abednego (Azariah) to serve under Daniel. Daniel remained in the royal court, probably as an adviser to Nebuchadnezzar. God elevated Daniel to a position in the royal court so that he could serve as a mediator between the king and the exiles from Judah who would shortly (in 597 and 586) be brought to Babylon.