Daniel Tells It like It Is

Imagine Nebuchadnezzar's surprise.

Daniel 2 (5)

Imagine Nebuchadnezzar’s surprise and delight as Daniel first, reported his dream, then explained the meaning of it, making Nebuchadnezzar himself the star of the show. He must have wondered to himself, “How does he do that?” He would find out soon enough. And how Daniel must have thrilled in his soul to gain this additional insight to what ancient prophecies had foretold.

Read Genesis 49.8-11; Isaiah 9.6, 7.

Read Daniel 2.31-45.

Think it Through

1.  Why do you suppose God gave this dream to Nebuchadnezzar in the form of a “great image”? Why didn’t he just have Daniel come in and tell him what was going to happen in the years to come? Or write it out for him? Is there something about seeing things, if only in our minds, that has more impact and staying power? Explain. What is the dominant image in this vision?

2.  In verses 36ff, Daniel continues to position Nebuchadnezzar in relation to God. What does he most want Nebuchadnezzar to understand about God and himself? Four kingdoms are in this vision, beginning with the Babylonian Empire. Then follows the Persian Empire (“chest and arms of silver”), the empire of the Greeks under Alexander and his successors (“thighs of bronze”), and finally the Roman Empire. The Roman Empire, unlike the other three, was a republic, a mixture of central and localized rule, hence “partly of iron and partly of clay.” What does the stone cut without hands represent (v. 44)? When should we expect to see this stone (“these kings”)? What is the effect of this stone’s coming on the kingdoms of the world? Has this happened? If so, where is that stone today? How did Daniel position Nebuchadnezzar with respect to this vision (v. 44)?

“Christ is the stone that is cut out without hands, who shall destroy temporal kingdoms and introduce an eternal one, which is the resurrection of the just.” Irenaeus of Lyons (135-202 AD)

Another parable He spoke to them: “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” Matthew 13.33

Father, where is Your Kingdom, that You established in the days of ancient Rome? What is my calling in that Kingdom (1 Thess. 2.12)? Today, how can I…?

Pray Psalm 83.13-18.

Psalm 83.13-18 (St. Chrysostom: We Have Not Know Thee As We Ought)
Make them like whirling dust, O God!  Scatter them like the windblown chaff!
Rage like a fire consuming a wood, like flames that burn a mountain pass!
Blow like a tempest, bring them to harm, and terrify them with Your storm!

Fill with dishonor every face that they may seek Your Name, O Lord.
Bring them to shame, dismay, and disgrace, and let them perish under Your Word,
That they may learn Your infinite worth, O God Most High of all the earth!

T. M Moore

For a better understanding of the book of Daniel, and all the books of the Bible, order a copy of the workbook, God’s Covenant, from our online store. The studies in this workbook will show you how the parts of the Bible connect with one another to tell the story of God’s redemption and glory (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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