Changing Seasons and Times

The king couldn't sleep. The terrifying image haunted him as he tossed and turned. Sleep was useless, something was wrong – terribly wrong.

King Nebuchadnezzar summoned together his advisers. They would know what to do. They were knowledgeable and specialized in issues relating to the future, and were experts in matters that were beyond the physical realm.

"Then the king gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to tell the king his dream." (Daniel 2:2)

Nebuchadnezzar was anxious that the dream predicted an ominous future for him and his kingdom. Suspicious that the experts would say anything to appease him, King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that they tell him the dream first.

The king's advisers pleaded with him to reconsider but he was determined. They were to reveal the dream first then give the interpretation. If they failed, then they would all die. Should they succeed in telling the dream and its interpretation they would be given rewards and great treasures.

"The Chaldeans answered the king and said, 'There is not a man on earth who can tell the king's matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer or Chaldean.'" (Daniel 2:10)

This only made matters worse. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be put to death and their homes destroyed.

Then Daniel approached the king. Daniel was a captive from Jerusalem, and he was from the tribe of Judah. Daniel requested that the king allow him more time in order to reveal the interpretation and to avoid being killed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. The king agreed. Then Daniel and his three colleagues, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah sought the LORD.

"Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision." (Daniel 2:19)

The dream was indeed a secret. Not everyone has access to these hidden chambers.

Confirming that dark times were ahead, the secret was revealed in a night vision.

Daniel praised the God of heaven and then went to inform the king that he could indeed reveal both the dream and its interpretation.

Curious the king inquired, "Are you able to make known to me the dream which I have seen, and its interpretation?" (Daniel 2:26) Was it possible that this son of Israel could know?

Bordering on the insane is someone who claims something that everyone else knows is clearly impossible.

All the other advisers to the king agreed; no flesh could possibly know. These things were the secret possession of another realm. No flesh could control or gain access to the hidden things of the unseen world.

Daniel neither shied away from the sensitive issue, nor did he boast superior skills. Instead, he boldly stated, " . . . there is a God in heaven who reveals the secrets, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days . . .

"But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than any one living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart." (Daniel 2:28, 30)

King Nebuchadnezzar was right. The dream pertained to his future.

But what had troubled the king particularly was why should the dream be revealed to him? Kings come and go, without any dreams. Kingdoms rise and fall. Why should he know what was to happen? What was so special about his kingdom?

Daniel also revealed the answers to these intriguing questions. It was " . . . for our sakes who make known the interpretation . . . "

It was for the sake of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, the sons of Judah. The dream and its interpretation were of special significance for the four sons of the royal tribe of the people of Israel.

According to the prophecy spoken by the Patriarch Jacob, the tribe of Judah was responsible for the kingship over the children of Israel, until the Messiah comes. As it is written: "The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet until Shiloh comes . . . " (Genesis 49:10).

King Nebuchadnezzar's dream and its interpretation contained information that was particularly relevant for the royal tribe of Judah. It was for their sakes, and for the nation of Israel as a whole, so that they might gain an understanding of the changing seasons and times.

"You, O king, were watching; and behold, a great image! This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome.

"This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay.

"You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.

"Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

"This is the dream. Now we will tell the interpretation of it before the king." (Daniel 2:31-36)

Since the reign of King David, the Land and People of Israel had had a number of kings from the tribe of Judah, each representing a change in season. As Daniel declared, "Blessed be the Name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are his. And he changes the times and seasons; he removes kings and raises up kings . . . " (Daniel 2:20-21)

Another change of season had arrived. A new king had risen.

"You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, he has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all – you are this head of gold." (Daniel 2:37-38)

However, the new king was none other than Nebuchadnezzar – a Gentile. The change of season was a signal for the tribe of Judah. Though they would be influential, the new king over the Land and People of Israel would be a Gentile.

The times too had changed. And this perhaps held a greater impact for Israel, and was a reflection of the more ominous times ahead.

The Gentiles would have dominion over Israel, the Land and the People, until the reign of King Messiah. Nebuchadnezzar would be the first of several Gentile kingdoms – a period known as 'the times of the Gentiles'.

"But after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours; then another, a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth.

"And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, inasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and shatters everything; and like iron that crushes, that kingdom will break in pieces and crush all the others.

"Whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter's clay and partly of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; yet the strength of the iron shall be in it, just as you saw the iron mixed with ceramic clay.

"And as the toes of the feet were partly of iron and partly of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly fragile.

"As you saw iron mixed with ceramic clay, they will mingle with the seed of men; but they will not adhere to one another, just as iron does not mix with clay.

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

"Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold – the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure." (Daniel 2:39-45)

Note, there would be several consecutive and successive kingdom changes, all of them Gentile, until King Messiah comes to reign.

The King Messiah's kingdom is represented by "the stone carved out of the mountain without human hands" , indicating that it is God's kingdom, not man-made. The kingdom which God sets up will destroy all the previous (Gentile) kingdoms. And most importantly, the King Messiah's rule will be established forever, from that time.

For this reason there is hope and a future for Daniel and his people, the nation of Israel. The times of the Gentiles will end when the King Messiah comes to establish His righteous kingdom. It is the kingdom for which Daniel and his people, Israel, were and have been waiting, and the kingdom which was promised to them as a nation (see Exodus 19:5-6).

Most notable, in this regard, is the confirmation in the revelation by Daniel that the kingdom will not be given to another people: " . . . and the kingdom shall not be left to other people . . . " . Israel will survive and become a nation of priests under the rule and reign of the King Messiah, their Kinsman-Redeemer.

God kept a Gentile king from sleeping so that through him God could inform His people of the change in seasons and announce the times of the Gentiles. Beginning with the Babylonian kingdom under Nebuchadnezzar, Gentiles would have dominion over the Land and the People of Israel. It will be a dark period for Israel, until the establishment of God's kingdom. But when the King Messiah comes the Land and People of Israel will be redeemed. He will deliver from the yoke of Gentile governments, and they will live peacefully under His secure reign.

We are living in the days of the last Gentile regime, represented in Nebuchadnezzar's dream by the feet of iron and clay. Therefore, the times of the Gentiles are coming to an end, and the time for Israel's redemption is at hand.

"Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever.

"Let Israel now say, 'His mercy endures forever.'

"Let the house of Aaron now say, 'His mercy endures forever.'

"Let those who fear the LORD now say, 'His mercy endures forever.'" (Psalm 118:1-4)