To king Nebuchadnezzar, being told his dream without interpretation was useless … very much like a well prepared sermon without an application. The dream’s interpretation is all about what will be happening and what you as king need to be doing. The sermon is teaching God’s Word and the application is, this is what you as a Christian need to go and do. It’s almost like dad giving me a motorcar without the keys to start the engine and drive. So Daniel has given the king the dream in the most vivid and understandable manner, including everything the king saw in the dream … now he turns to the interpretation.
Da 2:36 “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king.”
1) Nebuchadnezzar is the king of kings. Note that when the words “king” and “kings” are used they do not have a capital K. He is the king of the world’s superpower of the day. All human kings are subordinate to him. As far as earthly power is concerned he is the sovereign king over the known world. No one is greater than he. He holds all power. Daniel reminds him of this
Da 2:37 “You, O king, are the king of kings.”
But … there is One greater than he and that is God! Whatever the size of his kingdom, whatever the strength of his defense force, whatever political sway he has and whatever popularity, praise or glory he enjoys from the peoples (all ethnic groups he reigns over) … there is one greater than him.
Da 2:37 “The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory.”
Daniel is saying to the king … you need to understand that even with all your international power and strength … another king, the One in heaven, is the true King. He reigns, He has all power and all authority … he gave you your position, together with all the victories. You are what you are because of the God of heaven. Surely this applies to you and me as well. Everything we have and are, everything we have succeeded in and achieved … everything … comes from the good hand of God. This need to humble us, reminding us that whatever we have is God graced to us.
Ps 24:1 The earth is the LORD’S, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.
Our minds, ability to study, learn, obtain knowledge and discernment is from God. Without God we are nothing. A sobering thought. Authority is delegated authority.
Da 2:38 in your hands he has placed mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds of the air.
Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. Even though the authority is delegated, it is absolute authority. Only one is superior to him
1 Tim 6:15 God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.
2) Nebuchadnezzar is the head of gold.
Da 2:37 “You are that head of gold.”
(It might be good to reflect upon verses 31-35 of yesterday’s note quickly.) The head of the image the king saw in his dream is none other than himself!
Da 2:31 “You looked, O king, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. 32 The head of the statue was made of pure gold.”
He is the king of kings and represents all worldly powers and superpowers … but immediately he is addressed! He is the authority, the most powerful man on earth … but he will crumble.
3) After Nebuchadnezzar other kingdoms will rise, only to fall.
Da 2:39 “After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom, one of bronze, will rule over the whole earth. 40 Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron—for iron breaks and smashes everything—and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.”
If the king represented Babylon, then perhaps the other three were Medo-Persia, Greece and the Roman Empire … and in their wake it might include Napoleon, British and Hitler’s empires followed by Secularism, Capitalism, Socialism and Communism in our contemporary world … not forgetting the often unspoken cruel empires we still have today scattered around Southern America, the Far East, the East and Africa. Each of them had their weakness and strength.
4) As with Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, so with everyone that follows, there is a brittleness … division … or a divisive spirit.
Da 2:41 “Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom; yet it will have some of the strength of iron in it, even as you saw iron mixed with clay. 42 As the toes were partly iron and partly clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 And just as you saw the iron mixed with baked clay, so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.”
All apocalyptic materials points to the immediate and through the immediate to each epoch that follows. The brittleness is spurred on by division because people cannot remain united. We have a stark picture of this today. When Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratic president, we all got caught up in the “rainbow nation” dream. It was there. It was real. Did you ever consider what it represented? The rainbow, given by God represented beauty, peace and harmony within unity for Noah and his family. Did it last? The only thing that lasted and still lasts is what God promised in Genesis 8:12 Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done. The “rainbow nation” symbolized that after apartheid there would never ever again be the evil of apartheid in our country. There was joy and enthusiasm and optimism … but did it last? No … like lack of unity with Noah’s descendants divisions followed … so with us in our country today. The vibe wore off and was replaced by greed and power and greed and power … and look where we are today. Look at the recent municipal election results … who are the winners and who are the losers? Kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall. God raises them up and God brings them down. Today on the radio a man called in to comment on the new metro mayors in Gauteng. Although his comment was irreverent, it was humorous and thought provoking. He said: “The ruling part said they would reign until Jesus comes. Jesus must have come.” Firstly we must be careful not to use Scripture incorrectly, but secondly this might be true … Jesus came and took away the reign.
Dear God, we understand that in every age there will be good and bad leaders. Please raise up godly one. Amen.