Thursday, January 4, 2018

Nebuchadnezzar's Nightmare is Our Dream Come True

Daniel came into great favor with Nebuchadnezzar, King of the Babylonian empire, by interpreting a dream. With the growing anti-Christian environment we are currently experiencing, there is much we can learn from Daniel, God's man operating in a hostile and dangerous world. There is a vital lesson hidden away within this dream that is meaningful for us today.

In King Neb's dream, recorded in Daniel 2:31-45, he sees an enormous statue, like a giant idol. The statue has a golden head, silver chest and arms with a bronze stomach and thighs. Below the knees the legs are constructed of iron with feet made of both iron and clay, like pottery. It is important to know what they represent.

1. The Golden Head
The head represents the Babylonian empire and Nebuchadnezzar himself. He was meant to realize that all Kings are expected to rule according to God's laws and ways. But like all other earthly rulers, he would become arrogant and corrupt. 

2. The Silver Chest and Arms
These represent the Medo-Persian empire which would follow Babylon. The arrogance of the Babylonian kings to persist in their pagan ways and refuse to honor only the one true God would ultimately lead to their downfall. (It would be Cyrus, King of this New empire, who would allow the Jews to return home from their exile in Babylon)

3. The Bronze Stomach and Thighs
The Greek Empire which followed after the Medo-Persian empire is represented by the bronze portion of the statue. 

4. The Iron Legs with Feet of Iron and Clay
This is the Roman Empire which overtook the Greek Empire. The Iron represents the power, strength and might of Rome. The clay represents God's people who lived inside of the empire, but were distinct and separate from it.

What Does This Mean For Us?
Because of the clay, this giant idol will not be able to stand for ever. The clay is the greatest weakness of the idol. One day it WILL fall. While the clay represented the Jews, dispersed throughout the Roman empire, this is a prophetic picture of what God's people look like now, spread throughout the world. We don't mix in. We are in the world and we are from the world, but John 17:14 teaches that we are no longer of this world. We are different. Today, more than at any time in my life, Christians are separated from all that the world values, or at least we should be. All of the kingdoms of this world are idols. The giant idol in this dream is a representation of the dominion of darkness. Every earthly kingdom ultimately becomes corrupted, but there is an inherent weakness in that dominion, insuring that it cannot stand forever.

In the dream, there is a rock which falls without anyone pushing it, crushing the giant idol into pieces. The stone grew into a great mountain filling the whole earth. That rock is Jesus. The mountain is the Holy Mountain of God, representing HIS Kingdom. Isaiah 9:7 tells us that His kingdom will never stop growing and will never end. The rock that grows into a mountain is a picture of the Kingdom of God which is built on our rock, our chief cornerstone, Jesus.

Right now, we are like clay. In order to extract us from the world, we will have to be broken away from it's iron grip. He is the potter and we are the clay, we must be willing to be broken so that we can be remade into a great and beautiful Kingdom which will never fall.

Fortified cities were often built on mountains for protection and positions of strength that are easy to defend. Psalm 18:2 says this about our God:

The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

The mountain of God is a stronghold, a place of safety, shelter and strength. We can always come to God for those things.

Ultimately, all evil will be destroyed and God's Kingdom will cover the earth. Daniel completes his interpretation for King Neb by telling him that this dream is a prophecy and that it is certain, guaranteed. These events will come to pass. And that is good news. Friends, Jesus is our rock. He is building us into his Holy city on a mountain, Jerusalem. Like Daniel, we may face trials and difficult times, but when Jesus comes back, those difficult times will end and His Mountain, His Kingdom, will fill the whole earth, just as Isaiah 11:9 promises us:

They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD As the waters cover the sea.

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