God in Heaven Reveals Mysteries

by Mike Ratliff

20 Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:20-23 ESV)

Over time, Daniel became a very important person in the Kingdom of Babylon. However, as we look at Chapter 2 we find Daniel still a young man among the King’s counselors. The events in this chapter take place shortly after the promotion of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the ranks of the trainees that we looked at in yesterday’s post. In this chapter God uses a pagan King and a faithful servant to give us a prophetic picture of world kingdoms and a glimpse into the coming Kingdom of God.

Daniel is the only book in the Bible that is written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The Hebrew sections of the book are from 1:1 through 2:4a. Then Daniel switched to Aramaic from 2:4b through 7:28. Then he switched back to Hebrew from 8:1 through 12:13. Why? Aramaic was the language of Babylon. Both Hebrew and Aramaic had their roots in the ancient Chaldee language. Their alphabets were similar, but there were many differences. Daniel became a very important government official in Babylon and Persia, which also used Aramaic. He would have to be fluent in that language. The sections of Daniel in Aramaic are so probably because the focus of those sections was centered more on nations other than the Hebrews, while the Hebrew section deals more directly with Jewish matters.

1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him. 2 Then the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. So they came in and stood before the king. 3 And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” (Daniel 2:1-3 ESV)

The Babylonians started counting a kings years starting with the end of the first year of reign. So, this “second year” would actually be his third year according the Hebrew way of reckoning. Therefore, this event took place very shortly after the three-year indoctrination and examination of Daniel. He was probably between 18 or 19 years old at this point. God caused Nebuchadnezzar to have some dreams that disturbed him. God is sovereign. He can work in our lives any way He chooses. In this case He used Nebuchadnezzar to reveal prophetic information through him and Daniel to His people via the Bible. Josephus tells us that Nebuchadnezzar actually forgot the dreams but they still bothered him and drove him to demand that someone reveal the dreams to him. It could be that he did remember, but they impacted him so deeply and he so mistrusted the conjurers in his court that his demand that the dream be told to him along with its interpretation was a way to make sure he did not receive a phony analysis just to appease him. In any case he called the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and Chaldeans to tell him the dream and interpret it. These men would have been the heads of the various religions in Babylon. However, no matter what god these various groups worshipped, none of them believed that their god or gods communicated directly with people. Only those initiated in magic, enchanting, sorcery, or soothsaying (Chaldeans) could serve as intermediaries between the gods and the people.

4 Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” 5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. 6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.” 7 They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show its interpretation.” 8 The king answered and said, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see that the word from me is firm- 9 if you do not make the dream known to me, there is but one sentence for you. You have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me till the times change. Therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can show me its interpretation.” 10 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” (Daniel 2:4-11 ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar may have had these men in his court, but he also knew that they were simply going to try to bather things back to him as possible interpretations of the dreams. I saw a special report once where a man traveled to Russia to test some fortune tellers who had a world-wide reputation for being able to give interpretations of things that astounded people. The reporter took a photograph of a famous athlete from the early 20th Century with him. Most Americans would know who the person was in the picture, but few people in other countries would. He showed the women the picture. Then he asked them to “discern” whom the person was. The women then began to act like they were going into a trance. Then they started stating things in a way that would perhaps lead the reporter to lead them into identifying the person in picture. However, the reporter simply sat there and said nothing. Of course they couldn’t discern who it was. They became angry because he would not “help them.” This is all man-made religion can do. It is powerless. Oh, there may be some demonic empowerment going on in them, but nothing edifying. Nebuchadnezzar is demanding that his “counselors” put up or shut up. God has put such a burden on him to “know” the dreams that he is willing to kill all of them if they can’t interpret them.

12 Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. 13 So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. 14 Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. 15 He declared _ to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. 16 And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king. (Daniel 2:12-16 ESV)

Notice that Daniel responds with prudence and discretion to the very man who has been ordered to kill him and all the other “wise men” of Babylon. This is humility and wisdom. Daniel walked closely with His God. In return, God’s character was growing and being manifest through him in all that he did and said. He is able to buy time for him and the other “wise men” by having the King himself appoint a time for the dreams to be interpreted. Again, this is very bold by one so young.

17 Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
21 He changes times and seasons;
he removes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
22 he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my fathers,
I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and might,
and have now made known to me what we asked of you,
for you have made known to us the king’s matter.” (Daniel 2:17-23 ESV)

Daniel has the gift of understanding and interpreting dreams, but he knows that it comes from God and it isn’t anything he can do in himself. Notice also that he called for prayer that God would be merciful to them. He did not ask to be given what he thought he deserved nor did he demand for God to be fair. Instead, his approach is all wrapped up in his view of God as being totally sovereign. He views himself as God’s servant. I believe God uses those who are His servants and does not use those who aren’t.

24 Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him, “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.”
25 Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who will make known to the king the interpretation.” 26 The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” 27 Daniel an-swered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed came thoughts of what would be after this, and he who reveals mysteries made known to you what is to be. 30 But as for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because of any wisdom that I have more than all the living, but in order that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your mind. (Daniel 2:24-30 ESV)

Daniel is a very wise young man. He also boldly gives God all the credit. What would our churches be like if we had Christian leaders like this who gave all the credit to God and simply expounded the truth from God’s Word to those sheep whom God has given them. Instead of building their own kingdoms on earth they would minister to the part of the Body of Christ God has entrusted to them. Perhaps then we would not be in such apostasy at this time.

31 “You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32 The head of this image was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 As you looked, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, all together were broken in pieces, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
36 “This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. 37 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, 38 and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all-you are the head of gold. 39 Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. 40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. 41 And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” (Daniel 2:31-45 ESV)

Nebuchadnezzar dreamt of the great image. It could have been a statue or, more than likely, a bas-relief form on a great escarpment. In any case, the head was gold, the chest and arms were silver, the middle and thighs of bronze, the legs of iron, and the feet made of iron and clay. However, a stone was cut out by no human hand, and it struck the image on its feet of iron and clay shattering the whole thing. Daniel makes sure that Nebuchadnezzar knows that his reign is by God’s hand. Then he explains that each section of the image represents different kingdoms. The head of gold was Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. The chest and arms of sliver represent Medo-Persia, which conquered Babylon just a few years after Nebuchadnezzar’s death. The bronze section of the image represented the Greeks. Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire along with much of the known earth. The iron part of the image represented the Roman Empire. Iron is the strongest of the metals in this image followed by bronze then silver then gold. However, gold is more glorious. The Babylonian empire under Nebuchadnezzar must have been very glorious. The toes of the image were made of iron and clay. Most Biblical scholars agree that this part of the image represents a revived Roman empire made up of ten kings. The iron in it means it is strong to conquer but the clay means that it is little more than a federation that can fracture easily.

The stone that was cut out without human hands destroys this kingdom. The stone is the Messiah while the mountain from which it is cut represents God’s rule over all earthy powers. The Messiah is “cut out” of this sovereign rule. This would represent His advent as a man, our Lord Jesus Christ. The “no human hand” signifies that the Messiah comes by God’s hand, not the hands of Man. While Jesus’ first coming began the Kingdom of God, its fulfillment will be at His second coming which is represented by the stone striking the image and destroying it.

The federation exists at the time the stone strikes the image. The fulfillment of the Kingdom of God does away with all those that have come before. It fills the whole earth. It does not appear or come into being by human effort. The P.E.A.C.E. plan is not going to usher in this kingdom. Having evangelical pushes to baptize a record number of people is not going to cause it to happen. It will be by God’s actions according to His will in His timing.

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. 47 The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 48 Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court. (Daniel 2:46-49 ESV)

What a sight that must have been with the glorious, magnificent King Nebuchadnezzar falling upon his face before this young Hebrew! However, he does recognize that it is Daniel’s God who is mighty and awesome and worthy. God used this to have Daniel promoted to Prime Minister over the Babylon. Daniel’s three friends were also promoted. Daniel remained in Nebuchadnezzar’s court.

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15 thoughts on “God in Heaven Reveals Mysteries

  1. Thank you, Mike, for this excellent article! Ok, the legs of iron represents the Roman Empire which is followed by the feet of iron and clay. The fall of the western part of the Roman Empire (including Rome itself) is traditionally believed to occurred about 475 AD. But the eastern part of the Roman Empire aka as the Byzantine Empire, centered in Constantinople, lasted into mid-1400s. Hmmmm…just about right to the time of the Reformation. So what represented the “iron” of the feet of iron and clay to our day?

    The Roman Catholic Church had its origins in the “Christianization” of the pagan system of the Roman Empire. The late Tupper Saussy revealed in his book “Rulers Of EVil” evidence that the Vatican actually rules the world through the Jesuits and the “bloodline” families who control most of the financial systems of the world, including the United States. To make it very short, I believe the iron of our day is the Roman Catholic Church. Ahhhh, gotta go to work!

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  2. Mike,

    Thank You! I never knew about the metals but was wondering what they signified. Jesus feet of bronze and is stronger then iron. That was very interesting! Bless You!

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  3. Deborah,

    We are clay in that we are as pots of molded clay by the potter, our Lord, but we are not the clay mentioned in this prophecy.

    This is talking about a federation of some sort that will have a strong conquering capability (Iron), but will be weak as far as unity goes (Clay). The federation will be fragile.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  4. Some see the clay representing the global apostate church mixed in with the iron. Have a blessed day everybody!

    In Christ,
    Derrick

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  5. Derrick,

    I believe that what you shared could describe the nature of that “federation.” Since God is not in it, it is devoid of His sustaining grace. The Iron would be political side while the clay would represent the apostate religious side. The toes would be the leaders or kings. Hmmm.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff

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  6. Dear Lord Jesus Christ, we call on your Holy name that is above very name. Open our eyes and our ears that we may see and hear the truth of your revelations given to the prophets before us for our day. We bow only to you and call on you who are Holy to help us who are but dust. You alone are worthy, you alone open the scroll. Show us the truth and guide us sovereign Lord. Amen

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  7. Amen Rachel!

    Romans 9:21 -23 ( God makes some for mercy and some for destruction. Maybe those are for destruction.)

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