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Nebuchadnezzar’s Nightmare!


Nebuchadnezzar’s Nightmare!

Text: Daniel 2:1-49

Babylon had an efficient education system, as we learned in our previous study, and the university there had produced some of the cleverest men in the whole world. So when Nebuchadnezzar had a bad dream, surely it shouldn’t be too much trouble for one of them to sort the matter out? Nebuchadnezzar called his council together. V2  

1. The Cull of the Chaldeans. V5-13

Nebuchadnezzar is not a reasonable man. He asked the privy counsel to explain his dream, but he wouldn’t tell them what the dream was! The sages are stunned by this request, especially by the explicit threats that accompanied it. V5. And no matter how they tried to persuade him, the king wouldn’t tell them the dream, and they were unable to tell the despot what the dream was about. It’s stalemate. V10-11  An order went out, V13   Learning that you are about to be executed cannot be the most pleasant experience.  Daniel went to see Nebuchadnezzar. He asked… 

  • Why the haste? V14-16   Then,
  • He shares his concerns with his friends and fellow believers. V17  Frequently that is the case – it is good to seek help of others Christian brothers and sisters in prayer.
  • He seeks God’s will in prayer and receives assurance.  V19  God answered Daniel’s prayer!
  • Praise and thanksgiving to God. V20-23.  It is proper and right to be thankful to God, however he answers our prayers – we praise him that his will is being done on our lives.

So Daniel has reacted wisely and calmly, has brought the matter before his companions for prayer, and has received an answer, for which he is thankful. Now it is time to see the king again. V24-26 

2. Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream. V26-35

Daniel is now in the presence of the king – he’d better get this right, but look how he starts:-

  • A different source of knowledge. The king’s ‘wise men’ were pagans, people who relied on the dark arts, on sorcery and necromancy and horoscopes, Daniel begins his report on the king’s dream by acknowledging that the true source of all knowledge is The Lord, the creator of the universe and the One who knows all the secrets of our hearts, 27-29  
  • A different motive for service. Daniel doesn’t try to take any credit for himself.  Daniel is different, – he doesn’t want praise, he just wants the king to spare human lives – even if they are pagan lives. V30  We don’t wish harm on others, even on those who oppose us, who are our enemies.
  • A different perspective on history. You can read the dream passage for yourself in V31-35. It’s a great statue, made up of four parts, and terrible in its appearance. The head was of gold, pure and unadulterated, precious. The upper torso and arms was of silver, again a precious metal, but less valuable. The lower torso, belly and thigh were of brass, a metal alloy.  But the legs   were of iron, and the feet partly of iron and partly of clay. The feet, the lowest part of the statue was the weakest part. A little stone emerged, a stone that was not made by human work, and it smote the feet and the iron and the clay parted, the feet were destroyed and the whole image came crashing to the ground. But the stone that had done the damage grew and expanded and filled the earth! V35  

Nebuchadnezzar has heard his dream – now, what does it mean?

3. The Little Stone and the Unending Kingdom. v37-45

The statue, in its parts represent different kingdoms.  Daniel is looking ahead, a prophetic vision, given to him by God, but we can see it in retrospect, looking back, and we can identify the kingdoms that Daniel saw in the king’s dream. Let’s look at the interpretation of the dream:-

  1. The Golden Kingdom. V37, Nebuchadnezzar’s realm, given to him by God. See its description. 37-38 It is a marvellous kingdom, one of which the king should be truly proud.
  2. The Silver Kingdom and the Brass Kingdom. V39  We now know that these were the kingdoms of the Mido-Persian Empire, which followed the fall of Babylon, and then the Greek empire, when the known world was conquered by Alexander the Great.
  3. The Iron and Clay Kingdom. V40-41. The final great world empire, – the empire of Rome, a strong empire, that destroyed everything in its path. V40  But there was a weakness in the Roman Empire – a division, a division between east to west, and that division would be its downfall. V41-43  

Every one of these empires descending in purity and power.  We are not getting better, we are not ‘evolving’ – we are dropping more and more into chaos and depravity. But what about that little stone that Nebuchadnezzar saw?  READ V44-45   

  • It’s a stone! Who described himself as a rock, a stone? Jesus! Here’s some examples, Matthew 21:42  Acts 4:10-11   Ephesians 2:20  1 Peter 2:8  
  • It’s just a stone! Contrasted with the great and mighty kingdoms represented by the image, this is just a stone. People look at Jesus, our Saviour, and they feel contempt for his meekness, his yielding himself up to be crucified.  Isaiah prophesied, Isaiah 53:3  
  • It’s an uncut stone. This stone was not made with the hands of men – not hewn out by a mason, it is not of human generation, V34. Jesus is without beginning and end, – his coming into this world at Bethlehem was not the beginning, he is from everlasting to everlasting.
  • It is a powerful stone. Don’t be fooled by what others think. This stone strikes the image – strikes it on its most vulnerable place, its weakest place, and brings it tumbling down, and not just the image but what it represents, the kingdoms of this world will fall before Him! Philippians 2:10  

But what we really need to learn about this part of the dream, is that every kingdom that is set up by men is doomed to failure, but the kingdom of Christ will be forever and ever. Of his kingdom, there shall be no end.  The dream is certain, It will happen. Daniel is rewarded, and the king, still a pagan, acknowledges the power of the God of heaven, the great God of Israel, the only true God. 

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