THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES--THE GREAT IMAGE
Daniel -- Chapter II
INTRODUCTION: This is one of the great prophetic chapters in the Bible. It teaches about the "Times of the Gentiles" Luke 21:24. This started with the Babylonian captivity by Nebuchadnezzar. It was at this time that the Glory of the Lord departed from Jerusalem. Ezekiel tells of this: Ezekiel 11:22,23. Jeremiah before had prophecied of Nebuchadnezzar. Jeremiah. 27:5-9. The Times of the Gentiles will end at the close of the Tribulation Period. The Image which Nebuchadnezzar dreamed about pictured all the great world empires from the time of Nebuchadnezzar until the end of the tribulation and this was written some 600 years B.C. Let's study this unusual dream.
I. The Perturbed King - Vs. 1-9.
1. The Cause--Vs. 1. The dream. God oft-times had a purpose in dreams. Cf. Job 33:13-17; Genesis 20:3--6; 31:10, 24; 40:5; 41: 12. Today, God speaks thru His Word and dreams are not necessary. Jeremiah 25:28; I Corinthians 13:10.
2. The Command--Vs. 2. Chaldeans were the men having supposedly the ancient wisdom.
3. The Condition--Vs. 3-6. The dream to be described and interpreted. An impossible task for the best of human wisdom. The threat and the promise stated in verses 5 and 6. The Syriac or Chaldean language is begun with the word "tell" in Verse 4. This language continues thru chapter 7:28.This section is especially appropriate to and for the Eastern Empires of which this revelation is concerned.
4. The Consternation--Vs. 7-9. Well there might be! How can the finite interpret the infinite? I Corinthian 2:14.
II. The Nonplussed Magicians - Vs. 10-13.
1. Their Failure --Vs. 10. Here is the reasoning of human wisdom. How dark is everything without a Divine revelation. I Corinthian 1:19-21.
2. Their Fear -- Vs.11. Condemnation was upon them and death their portion for they had relied on human wisdom. Romans 3:10, 23; 6;23.
3. Their Fall -- Vs. 12, 13. The path that they had trod leads only to death. Daniel was included in the decree because of the prominence he had gained from the events of chapter one.
III. The Trusting Servant. Vs. 14-23
1. Prayer. Vs. 14-18. Daniel knew the living God and had His promises such as Psalm 37:4,5; 50:15; Isaiah 45;3; 50:10. Note his fellowship in prayer, "Where two or three are gathered: Cf. Matthew 6:6; 18:19,20; Phillippians 4:6,7. As Christians we should never despair over our problems but we should take them to the Lord.
2. Perception. Vs. 19. Nothing is too hard for the Lord. Genesis 18:14; Jeremiah 33:3; 32:17. The answer came by revelation. I Corinthians 2:10-14.
3. Praise. Vs. 19-23. He gave God all the Glory and praise. How often we forget to praise God for His answers to our prayers. Cf. Psalm 50:23. Daniel worshipped Him for His greatness, goodness, wisdom, power and revelation. Have we?
IV. Interpretation - Vs. 24-45.
1. The Explanation. Vs. 24-28. God given the place of pre-eminence and honored before the king by his testimony. "There is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets." We ought to tell people what God has revealed to us in His Word!
2. The Revelation. Vs. 29-35. These secrets (this dream) reveal the future. Vs. 29.
3. The Interpretation. Vs. 36-45. This image refers to the four great world empires that would exist during the "Times of the Gentiles". Each succeeding empire (represented by a different metal with a lower specific gravity) would be inferior to its predecessor. "Prophecy is history written in advance." Isaiah 41:22,23.
(1) The Head of Gold: Nebuchadnezzar & the Babylonian Empire.
(2) The Breast & Arms of Silver: The Medes & Persian Empire.
(3) The Body of Brass: The Grecian Empire.
(4) The Hips and Legs of Iron: The Roman Empire which divided (represented by the two legs, the knees representing Rome and Constantinople). There has not been a great world empire since Rome, but in the latter days this empire will manifest itself again in the form of the feet and ten toes of the Image. Iron speaks of totalitarianism and clay speaks of Socialistic Democracy.
We are seeing the amalgamation of these two concepts of government intermingling in the governments of the world which is setting the stage for the end time government. During the tribulation, there will be a World Empire that will to a large extent rule the world and will consist of ten nations corresponding to the ten toes of the Image.
Since iron and clay do not mix well, neither will this type of government. It will be inferior to the previous Roman government but will rule the world for a short time. "Broken" in verse 42 means brittle.
Vs. 44 - "In the days of these kings" -- these ten nations. God shall establish His own reign, first in the Millenium (Revelation 20) and His reign will never be overthrown.
Verse 45 - He will do this at the time of the Second Coming of Christ in power. Revelation 19:11-21. The Stone is none other than Christ. Isaiah 8;14; 28:16; Matthew 21:44. This Stone (Christ) will become a great mountain (Verse 35) which speaks of the fact that all shall know of Him and worship Him.
V. The Result - Verse 46-49.
1. Nebuchadnezzar honored God and gave Him the glory for what was revealed.
2. Daniel was exalted. It pays to seek God's help in all things.
3. His friends were honored.
CONCLUSION: God knoweth all things from the beginning and this great God loves us. He wants us in heaven with Him. The fulfillment of Prophecy helps us to believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. If you arent saved, seek Him today and He will save you.