Profile Of The Prophets - David, Part 1

by Joseph Hunting

Daniel, like Joseph, had an extraordinary rise to power whilst being a captive in a foreign land. Also, like Joseph, he had the ability to interpret dreams. Furthermore he had a similar unwavering faith in times of severe adversity. Daniel outlived four monarchs, Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus. Finally, like Joseph, he died in an alien land yet knowing that his kinsfolk would one day return to possess the land that God had promised them.

Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah and selected young men of royal blood to be trained in all the wisdom and sciences of the Chaldeans. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. Years later, all four were to offer to lay down their lives rather than to betray their faith and loyalty to their God.

After an intensive three-year training course during which time the four Hebrew lads declined to eat the non-kosher food provided for them by the royal household, preferring a vegetable and water diet rather than the delicacies normally provided, they were presented to the monarch. "Now at the end of the days which the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them, and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king and in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king enquired of them he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all the realm." (Daniel 1:18-20).

In the second year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which distressed him greatly. He then called for his magicians, astrologers and all the wise men of the realm to reveal the meaning of his dream. However when they enquired of the king the substance of his dream he replied that it was gone from him. "The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill." (2:5).

The impossible demand by Nebuchadnezzar produced panic and fear amongst the king's wise men. "The Chaldeans answered before the king and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter ... and it is a rare thing that the king requires and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." (2:10-11).

The threat to liquidate all the magicians and wise men was a real one and included Daniel and his friends. "And the decree went forth that the men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain."

It was in this state of emergency that Daniel stepped into the breach. He obtained an extension of time from the king and then he and his friends sought the Lord for a special revelation concerning Nebuchadnezzar's dream. "Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven."

What follows has become one of the famous prophecies revealed in the Word of God extending from Daniel's time to the Messianic kingdom yet to be established.

This dream which reveals the destiny of four great world empires, Babylonian, Medio-Persian, Grecian and Roman, is so important I will quote it in full.

"You, O king, saw and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent stood before you; and the form thereof was terrible.

"This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

"You saw until that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay and the brass, the silver and the gold broken to pieces together and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

"This is the dream, and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. You, O king, are a king of kings, for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, and power, and strength and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the fields and the fowls of the heaven has he given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold.

"And after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, it shall break in pieces and bruise.

"And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters' clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided, but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

"For as much as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain and the interpretation thereof is sure ... Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach Meshach and Abednego, (the Chaldean names given to Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah) over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king." (Daniel 2:31-49).

Thus was Daniel, together with his three friends, promoted to the highest rank in the mightiest kingdom in the world at that time.

Just how wonderful was the Divine revelation given to Daniel regarding Nebuchadnezzar's dream can be appreciated by the subsequent events of history. Even as Nebuchadnezzar was represented by the head of gold, so was the Medio-Persian empire that succeeded it represented by the breast and arms of silver. Then the Grecian empire of Alexander the Great was represented by the belly and thighs of brass and finally the legs and feet are represented by the Roman empire, vestiges of which are still evident in our world of today.