Recently I began teaching the Book of Daniel to our Wednesday evening service. The book of Daniel is a wonderful mix of history and eschatology (eschatology is theological study of the final events of history of man and the universe). It is commonly referred to as the study of the “end times.”
The first chapter deals with the capture and enslavement of Jerusalem by the Babylonians. Chapter two contains the first vision and dream by the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. This dream troubled the king so much that he called all of the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and Chaldean’s to interpret his dream.
The thought struck me that Nebuchadnezzar was so moved that he did not want to retell his dream, almost like just talking about it would make it come to life. You talk about your nightmares! But this is no nightmare, this is the Hand of God moving in the heart of a pagan king whom the LORD rules.
The magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and Chaldean’s were of course clueless, they had no idea what the dream meant or even what the content of the dream was. They said, ““O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” Not so fast says the king. You tell me the dream and its meaning and I will lavish gifts and honor on you. However, if you lie to me the meaning of the dream you will find destruction in your future (Daniel 2:4-12). The ruse of these so called “wise men” was unraveling. The Chaldean’s have no clue what is going on. Could it have been the LORD God clouding their thoughts and perception in order to bring glory to Daniel who in turn would give God the glory?
They were finally confronted by Nebuchadnezzar and couldn’t give the king the dream and its interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar was furious, commanding that every “wise man” was to be killed.
Interestingly enough, this command also meant that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were on that list to be killed. You may be more familiar with the the Babylonian names of Daniel’s friends: Hananiah is Shadrach, Mishael is Meshach and Azariah is Abednego.
The book of Daniel has a main theme running through it, “salvation” and the “sovereignty of God.” God was using Babylon to judge the children of Israel. God was using Nebuchadnezzar, a pagan unbeliever, to acomplish His work. God was using a remnant (Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah) to show the world the power of the LORD Almighty.
Study notes are available.