The Prophecy of Daniel
Lesson Number 10
TRANSLATION LEGEND: ASV=American Standard Version, BBE=Bible in Basic English, DRA=Douay-Rheims KJV=King James Version, NKJV=New King James Version, NAB=New American Bible, NASB=New American Standard Bible, NAU=New American Standard Bible 1995, NIB=New International Bible, NIV=New International Version, NJB=New Jerusalem Bible, NLT=New Living Translation, NRSV=New Revised Standard Version, RSV=Revised Standard Version, YLT-Young’s Literal Translation.
NEBUCHADNEZZAR RESPONDS TO THE INTERPRETATION
Dan 2:46-49 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. 47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. 48 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. 49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king. KJV (Dan 2:46-49)
OF A TRUTH
“ 47a The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods . . . ” How will the king respond to the inspired interpretation of the dream given to him by the God that is “in heaven?” He has heard about the demise of his own kingdom – that it will be replaced by a kingdom inferior to his own. He has heard that he is like a head of gold that will be supplanted by a kingdom likened to a breast and arms of silver. Will he lash out against Daniel, or order his death?
THE KING ANSWERED
“The king answered unto Daniel .” First, note the king responds to what was told him. He does not remain
in silence, and for that he is to be commended. When Elijah challenged the people to choose that very day who they
would serve, Baal or God, “the people answered him not a word” (1 Kgs 18:21). When God called out to Israel through
their prophets, they did not respond: “I called you, but ye answered not” (Jer 7:13). Does this condition still exist?
Nebuchadnezzar the heathen will provide an excellent example for all who are made aware of the purpose of God. He was told of the demise of four world empires, starting with his own. We have been told of the ultimate overthrow of all kingdoms, all flesh, all enemies, and all who compete with God. We do well to not allow Nebuchadnezzar to be more excellent in his response that we, who are living in the brilliance of the “Sun of righteousness,” who has arisen “with healing in His wings” (Mal 4:2).
OF A TRUTH
“ . . . Of a truth . . . ” Other versions read, “Truly” NKJV “Surely,” NASB “verily,” DOUAY and “indeed.” NJB This is
another way of saying, “There is no doubt about it,” or “I do not question what you have said,” or “I can see the truth
of what you have declared!”
And what sort of evidence did the king have? He had a dream that he could not remember on his own. He
heard a man of God tell him the dream that he had, refreshing his mind with the vividness of it all. He also had a word
– and only a word – that delineated the dream, telling the king what it meant. Daniel did not work a sign before him
like Moses did before Pharaoh (Ex 7:9-10). There was no fleece spread before Nebuchadnezzar like Gideon spread
before the Lord (Judges 6:37-39). There was no remarkable phenomenon, such as occurred on the day of Pentecost
(Acts 2:1-4), or in Samaria (Acts 8:6), or in Lystra (Acts 14:10). No miracles were wrought by the hand of Daniel as
with Stephen, who was full of faith and power (Acts 6:8). No one in the king’s court was healed, as Publius on the
island of Melita(Acts 28:8). There was no lame man at his gate to attest to the truth, as the one who was healed at
the gate called “Beautiful” (Acts 3:2-7).
Yet, the response of Nebuchadnezzar will exceed some of the
responses following those great miracles.
Here was a haughty man reduced to humility and the confession of the greatness of God. That is how powerful
the Word of God is!
Those who have an inordinate penchant for miracles will have to account for the response of Nebuchadnezzar.
He said these things before Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were delivered from the fiery furnace (3:23-26). There
had been no dramatic miracle wrought before the king at this point. Yet, the words of Daniel were accompanied with
such power, that the king gave forth a response that honored God and affirmed the godliness of Daniel.
The Power of the Gospel
I cannot help but note here the notable and more excellent power of the Gospel of Christ. If the relating of a dream, and the interpretation of it brought Nebuchadnezzar to such a profound conclusion, what will the Gospel of Christ do for those who receive it? It, and it alone, is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16). When it is preached with power, if it does not elicit a response that is even better than that of the king of idol-worshiping Babylon, a most serious deficiency exists in the people.
I say these things because of circumstances with which most of us are familiar. Even though people have heard
a message that is far superior to that which delivered to Nebuchadnezzar, his response so far transcends the average
reaction to the Gospel that it is fearful to consider it.
GOD OF GODS
“ . . . that your God is a God of gods . . . ” Every translation reads precisely the same: “God of gods.” Moses
also referred to God in this way. “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords . . . ” (Deu 10:17). Joshua
also spoke of the Lord in this manner. “The LORD God of gods, the LORD God of gods . . . ” (Josh 22:22). The “sweet
Psalmist of Israel” wrote, “O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever” (Psa 136:2). Later,
in further unveiling the future to Daniel, a heavenly prince referred to God as “the God of gods” (11:36).
This is, then, an inspired view – a heavenly perspective. Yet, Nebuchadnezzar, who was hardly noted
for being heavenly minded, referred to God in this manner – the same manner as Moses, Joshua, and
David. There is no doubt in my mind that God was working with this heathen king, showing him things that precious
few people in the previous history of the world had seen, much less of which they had been convinced.
Inherent in this expression is the idea that God is against all false gods. He will eventually dash them all to
the ground, for they are against Him, His Son, and His people.
There is a sense in which there are really no other gods. Is it not written, “Is there a God beside me? yea, there
is no God; I know not any” (Isa 44:8). Again it is written, “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer
the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God” (Isa 44:6). And again, “I am the
LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me” (Isa 45:5). And again, “I am God, and there is none else;
I am God, and there is none like me” (Isa 46:9).
These expressions speak of the nature of God – that there is none other who are self-existent, possess all power,
and do their own will without anyone being able to stop its fulfillment. There are no other Gods in that sense –
none who are worthy of service, and who alone can save and destroy, create darkness and light, and
bring calamity or blessing (Isa 45:7).
However, there ARE “other gods,” even though none of them are equal to the true God. The phrase “other
gods” is mentioned sixty three times in Scripture (Ex 20:3; 23:13; Deut 5:7; 6:14; 7:4; 8:19; 11:16,28; 13:2,6,13; 17:3;
18:20; 28:14,36,64; 29:26; 30:17; 31:18,20; Josh 23:16; 24:2,16; Judges 2:12,17,19; 10:13; 1 Sam 8:8; 26:19; 1 Kgs 9:6,9;
11:4,10; 14:9; 2 Kgs 5:17; 17:7,35,37,38; 22;17; 2 Chron 7:19,22; 28:25; 34:25; Jer 1:16; 7:6,9,18; 11:10; 13:10;
16:11,13; 19:4,13; 22:9; 25:6; 32:29; 35:15; 44:3,5,8,15; Hos 3:1).
The Corinthian Church
The Corinthian church had some members who were not yet aware there was only one true God. Still juvenile
in their faith, they thought there were other God’s who were competitors with the Living God – in some sense equal
to Him. Addressing this situation Paul wrote, “For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in
earth, (as there be gods many, and lords many,) but to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all
things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him. Howbeit there is not
in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto
an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled” (1 Cor 8:5-7).
Elsewhere, the Scriptures inform us that idols are related to demons, and those who sacrifice to them offer
their sacrifices to demons. “Rather, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to
God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons” NKJV (1 Cor 10:20). Moses also confirmed this to be the
case. “They shall no more offer their sacrifices to demons, after whom they have played the harlot. This shall
be a statute forever for them throughout their generations." NKJV (Lev 17:7). And again, “They provoked Him to
jealousy with foreign gods; With abominations they provoked Him to anger. They sacrificed to demons, not to
God, To gods they did not know, To new gods, new arrivals That your fathers did not fear” NKJV (Deu 32:17). Again,
it is said of Rehoboam, “Then he appointed for himself priests for the high places, for the demons, and the calf idols
which he had made” NKJV (2 Chr 11:15). The Psalmist wrote, “They even sacrificed their sons And their daughters to
demons” NKJV (Psa 106:37). The book of Revelation also records this dreadful idolatry. “But the rest of mankind, who
were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands, that they should not worship demons,
and idols of gold, silver, brass, stone, and wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk” NKJV (Rev 9:20).
There is a very real spiritual underworld, dominated by powerful, yet inferior personalities. The Spirit informs
us that we are engaged in a conflict with these forces. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against
principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high
places” (Eph 6:12). Two of these powerful personalities are mentioned in Daniel: “the prince of Persia,” and “the
prince of Grecia” (Dan 10:20). Perhaps these were nothing less than the gods of these nations, to whom they offered
their sacrifices and yielded their lives.
GOD IS OVER ALL
The phrases “God of gods” and “Lord of lords” (Deut 10:17; 136:3; 1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:14), declare that
the God of heaven is over all of these powers. They answer to Him and are controlled to the most minute degree by
Him. None of them can exist one millisecond longer than He intends, or work one tiny deed that He does not allow.
He is over them all, and they are neither able to resist Him or impose their will upon Him.
The very casting of Satan out of heaven confirms this to be the case. All of these “gods,” who, in the fullest
sense of the word, are no gods at all, are under the immediate auspices of the devil. They are not stronger than him,
and function under his leadership. Yet, with no difficulty whatsoever, the devil has been cast out of heaven and “into
the earth.” To confirm his utter inferiority, it was not even God Himself that cast him out, but “Michael and his
angels,” who are willing servants of the true God (Rev 12:7-9). On one occasion, when the Gospel was beginning to
spread, and Satan’s kingdom was being assaulted, the Lord Jesus said, “I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven”
(Luke 10:18). The Lord is “the God of gods.” Nebuchadnezzar knew it,. And we do well to know it also.
APPLYING THE TRUTH
One of the qualities of truth is its application, or relevance. There is not truth for you and truth for me, or
truth for the first century and truth for the twenty-first century.
Truth is always relevant, pertinent, and
Take this bit of understanding: God is the God of gods. Consider the areas of the world where great
persecution of Christians is occurring. Much of it is being done in the name of a god – like Allah, or his prophet
Mohammed. Some is done in the name of other heathen gods, which are really no gods at all. Let there be no
pretension here: we do not have answers to all of the questions concerning WHY these persecutions are taking place.
However, we pray for our suffering brethren, knowing that God is the God of the gods being served by their
persecutors. All it requires is a word from God, and it will all end – just like Israel’s bondage in Egypt ended.
Consider the political threats that have become common in our country. The destruction of the Trade Center,
the threat of chemical warfare, and nuclear attack. None of these things are exempt from Divine control. Those who
take the lives of the innocent and spread violence over the earth are not doing the good and acceptable and perfect
will of God. They are vassals of Satan, and are serving “other gods.” But God is over them. He is the
“God of gods.”
Wherever there is a child of God who is suffering unjustly, or for righteousness sake, the enemy is at work.
But that work is duly observed by “the God of gods,” and will eventually give way to His word. When the Lord says,
“It is enough” (1 Chron 21:15), the enemy will crumble and fall!
This is precisely why Paul could look at his own suffering and imprisonment and say, “For I know that this will turn out for my deliverance through your prayer and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:19). He knew more fully than Nebuchadnezzar did, that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is “the God of gods.” You can know it also, and bathe your weary soul in its refreshing waters. When this is known fully, it become usable!
LORD OF KINGS
“ 47b and a Lord of kings . . . ” What a marvelous expression! Again, nearly every version says the same
thing: “Lord of kings.” Two exceptions are the New Living Translation and the New Jerusalem Bible – but they
maintain the sense of the text: “The Lord over kings,” NLT and “the Master of kings.” NJB Again, by being “Lord” of
the kings, it is clear that a natural enmity exists between them and the Lord. This is confirmed in the dream given
to Nebuchadnezzar. In it, the kingdom of God is declared to have decimated the kingdoms of men. That was a vivid
depiction of the God of heaven being “the Lord of kings.” They could not stand before Him, but were crushed and
entered into oblivion when His Kingdom confronted theirs.
A number of times the Lord is referred to as the “King of kings” (1 Tim 6:15; Rev 17:14; 19:16). The heavens rule over the earth, and God rules over all the kings of the earth. It is written, “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His Anointed, saying, Let us break Their bands asunder, and cast away Their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure” (Psa 2:2-5).
The Wisdom of Solomon
The superiority of the Lord to the kings of the earth is seen in Solomon, who received wisdom from the Lord. That wisdom did not include insight into redemption, nor was it filled with an understanding of eternal matters. Yet, it was so far advanced to the best wisdom of this world that even kings had to admit it. It is written, “And there came of all people to hear the wisdom of Solomon, from all kings of the earth, which had heard of his wisdom” (1 Kgs 4:34).
Likewise, the Queen of Sheba acknowledged the superiority of Solomon’s wisdom. After she had heard what he said,
and beheld the grandeur of his kingdom, this is what occurred. “Then she said to the king: "It was a true report which
I heard in my own land about your words and your wisdom. However I did not believe the words until I came and saw
with my own eyes; and indeed the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity exceed the fame of which I
heard” NKJV (1 Kgs 10:6-7). That was nothing less than an acknowledgment that God is the “Lord of kings” – not only
of Solomon, but of all others as well. As it is written, “And all the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon,
to hear his wisdom, that God had put in his heart” (2 Chron 9:23). When he displayed that wisdom, God was
Whenever the kings of the earth are knowingly in the presence of the great God of heaven, “He is awesome to the kings of the earth” (Psa 76:12). Because He is their Lord, He has even exalted His Son, His “Firstborn,” “higher than the kings of the earth” (Psa 89:27). The Lord Jesus truly is “the Prince of the kings of the earth” (Rev 1:5). This word will surely be fulfilled, whether it appears to be likely or not: “All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O LORD, when they hear the words of thy mouth” (Psa 138:4).
NOT THE HIGHEST VIEW
This is not the highest view of our God, although it is a lofty one! In chapter three, Nebuchadnezzar will
straightway forget what he has said in chapter two. I doubt not that he was fully convinced of the truth his words at
the time. However, because they were on a lower level, they got away from him more quickly.
The Lord is best and more clearly seen “in the face of Christ Jesus” (2 Cor 4:6). The more clearly Christ
is seen, the more precise is our vision of God, and the more difficult it is to forget Him. Those who see
something of God, only to quickly forget it, have not beheld Christ Jesus as He is – at least not to any measurable
degree. Make no mistake about this, God is all powerful, and nothing can stand against Him. However, unless
something more than that is known of Him, few Divine advantages will be realized. The greatness of our God, and
the subservience of all people and things to Him, is what enables Him to work salvation in the midst of the earth (Psa
74:12). It is why He is able to keep believers from falling, cause them to stand, and prepare a table before them in the
presence of their enemies (Jude 24-25; Rom 14:4; Psa 23:5).
Unless there is a dominating interest in the salvation of God, knowing He is God of gods and Lord of kings will remain encapsulated in lifeless human theology. Such knowledge, intended to have a glorious and lasting impact upon the human spirit, will, in such a case, become the subject of debate and philosophy. It will yield no benefit to the individual. One does not have to look far before confronting these conditions.
A Tragedy of the Times
One of the great tragedies of our times is that few professing Christians have seen God as heathen
Nebuchadnezzar did. It is not unusual to find Christians unduly concerned about enemies who worship false gods,
and kings who speak brashly against those who believe on Christ. It is not possible for those who suffer from such
minuscule thoughts of God to have any clear understanding of salvation. Because of their fundamental ignorance of
God, they are shut up to confusion and ignorance about such things as justification, sanctification, reconciliation, the
end of the world, and the power of faith.
Just as the knowledge of God sheds light upon all of these things,
so the ignorance of God causes darkness to cover them all, so they cannot be clearly seen.
We must not be content with this situation. There is a great deal of work to be done in our day. War must be
declared on the ignorance of God among the professed people of God. It is one thing for an altar to be found in Athens
with the inscription, “the unknown god.” It is quite another for Him to be unknown among those who claim identity
with His Son. Yet, all across this country, there are church people who are abysmally ignorant of the Living God. They
do not know how He thinks, what He loves, or what He hates. In many such churches, Nebuchadnezzar would
actually be a welcomed teacher, having a more lofty view of God than is common.
It may appear as though this is too harsh, but it is not. God has already revealed Jesus will come the second
time “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus
Christ” (2 Th 1:8). He has addressed the church, declaring it is shameful to have members who are lacking in their
knowledge of God. “Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this
to your shame” (1 Cor 15:34). Further, those who live in a state of the “lust of concupiscence,” or “lustful passion”
NASB are declared to be living “even as the Gentiles which know not God” (1 Th 4:5).
It is difficult to conceive of a more serious condition. This is the circumstance that provokes people to be
“angry with God” because their lives are not going as they desire. Even though religious simpletons tell such people
God understands, and is able to handle their foolish anger, such souls are in serious danger. If “whosoever is angry
with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment” (Mat 5:22), how do you suppose it will fair for
a person who dares to be angry with God “without a cause?” The truth of the matter is that such poor souls are
suffering from an ignorance of God. What is more, they are doing so while the Son of God is enthroned in glory,
desiring to show to the sons of men the glory of the Father and His great salvation. Such a state is not innocent
because it is caused by unbelief. It is simply inexcusable because it requires the truth to be denied and the Spirit
A REVEALER OF SECRETS
“ 47c . . . and a Revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.” Another version reads, “a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Keep in mind, all of the wise men and gods of Babylon failed to make known the most elemental part of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, or what it meant. When he first tested Daniel and his friends, they proved to be “ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm” (Dan 1:20). But that was nothing in comparison to what Daniel had just completed. As Daniel himself had already pointed out, the knowledge of the dream, together with its interpretation was not “revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living” (Dan 2:30). Rather, it was 100% owing to “the God in heaven that revealeth secrets” (2:28). Now Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges the very thing Daniel had previously declared to him.
A REVEALER OF SECRETS
This aspect of the Divine nature is marvelous! God reveals things that cannot otherwise be known. Further “the things that are revealed” belong to the ones to whom they have been revealed (Deut 29:29). That is, Divine revelations are given in order that they may be appropriated. They are never intended to become museum pieces or sources of fleshly pride.
How Did the King Know?
“ . . . seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.” The evidence of God’s ability to reveal secrets was the word
delivered by Daniel. Here is a most excellent example of letting our light shine before men. Did not Jesus exhort us,
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in
heaven” (Mat 5:16). In this case, the good work was Daniel speaking forth what God had made known to him. What
follows is Nebuchadnezzar glorifying the Father who is in heaven.
From this we see that “good works” are defined by Divine objective, not human assessment. Men will only glorify God for what they see Him doing through His people.
The revelations of God are discretionary. They do not come automatically, and they are not granted to everyone. That is precisely why Nebuchadnezzar confessed what he did. He knew Daniel alone received the revelation. Nebuchadnezzar could not obtain it on his own. In fact, even Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did not receive the revelation. It was given to Daniel, and to Daniel alone.
It was said of Samuel when he was yet young, “Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him” (1 Sam 3:7).
Later, “the LORD appeared again in Shiloh: for the LORD revealed himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the word of the LORD” (1 Sam 3:21).
God revealed to David that He was going to make a house for David (2 Sam 7:27).
Isaiah equated believing with the arm of the Lord being “revealed” (Isa 53:1).
Before Simeon, a just and devout man, blessed the babe Jesus “it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ” (Luke 2:26).
Jesus said God revealed precious things to “babes,” but hid them from the “wise and the prudent” (Matt 11:25).
When Peter confessed Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the Living God, Jesus told him, “flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 16:17).
Concerning the things God has prepared for those who love Him, “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:
for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Cor 2:10).
In all of these matters, as well as the dream of Nebuchadnezzar, the “secret” was the very thing God revealed. To put it another way, if God had not revealed it, the matter would have forever remained a secret.
A Known Aspect of God
Throughout history, those who have walked with God have known this aspect of His character: He makes things known! This is more than a unit of information – something to be handily added to a theological system. Nebuchadnezzar concluded God was a Revealer because of what He made known to Daniel. There is no record, however, of him relying upon this reality, or imploring the Lord to make things known to him. Notice how what he did with this morsel of knowledge compares with the righteous of the ages.
MOSES. Knowing the nature of the Lord, Moses pled, “Now therefore, I pray thee, if I have found grace in thy sight, show me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people” (Exo 33:13). Again, encouraged by what he knew of the Lord, Moses asked, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory” (Exo 33:18).
DAVID. Being acquainted with the Lord, David asked much the same thing as Moses. “Show me thy ways, O LORD; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day” (Psa 25:4-5).
THE SONS OF KORAH. Noted for their singing, and also being acquainted with the Lord, these sons prayed, “Show us thy mercy, O LORD, and grant us thy salvation” (Psa 85:7).
JEREMIAH. This weeping prophet, charged with the responsibility of heralding the Babylonian captivity, also challenged the people to seek for the Lord to make things known to them. “And said unto Jeremiah the prophet, Let, we beseech thee, our supplication be accepted before thee, and pray for us unto the LORD thy God, even for all this remnant; (for we are left but a few of many, as thine eyes do behold us: That the LORD thy God may show us the way wherein we may walk, and the thing that we may do” (Jer 42:3).
PAUL. In his faithful ministry to the body of Christ, Paul made known he was praying the Lord would reveal
things to His people. “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you
of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The
eyes of your understanding being enlightened;
that ye may know . . .” (Eph 1:17-18). Again, he made known his prayers for the Colossians. “For this cause we
also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the
knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding” (Col 1:9).
Here is another area where the New Covenant offers benefits never before realized. With sin removed, the
redeemed have received a new heart and spirit – both of which are capable of taking hold of the hidden things of God.
We know that God has “prepared” remarkable and glorious things for those who “love Him” (1 Cor 2:9). Now,
through the Holy Spirit, He is making those things known to the ones for whom they are prepared – the ones who
There is no reason why believers should remain in a fundamentally ignorant state about
God has prepared things for those who love Him, and He desires to make them known. His great salvation has made full provision for His children to know His will, and have a clearer vision of Himself. If God made known to Nebuchadnezzar what He was doing in the earth, you can imagine what He will reveal to those who love Him, and are the called according to His purpose!
Nebuchadnezzar only had a word!
I want to stress this once again. Nebuchadnezzar only had a word. Daniel offered no visible proof that
what he said was the truth – he simply declared a word. However, the power of Almighty God accompanied
that word. There was power present to persuade Nebuchadnezzar that what Daniel said was the truth. There was
power to unveil to the heathen king the greatness of the one God with whom he was not acquainted. That Divine
power subdued any outbreak of foolishness. It mellowed the king so he would not break forth in anger as he did with
the wise men, astrologers, and magicians.
It is staggering to ponder what great power accompanies the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and how great things can
be made known to those who hear it in faith. It caused some who murdered the Son of God to cry out, “What shall
we do?” (Acts 2:37). It moved an Ethiopian eunuch to ask, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?”
(Acts 8:36). It enabled the Thessalonians to turn to God from idols, to serve Him, and to wait for His Son from heaven
(1 Thess 1:9-10).
If good results could come from telling of the demise of worldly kingdoms, what will result from the announcement of the “glorious Gospel of the blessed God?” (1 Tim 1:11). As we devote ourselves to the proclamation of the good news, we will provide opportunity for men to glorify God. The Spirit and power of God accompany that glorious message. We must learn to reckon on that fact.
DANIEL IS MADE A GREAT MAN
“ 48 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.” Not
only does Nebuchadnezzar extol the Lord who gave the word, he also recognizes the man of God through whom the
word came. The feet of those who bring good news are ever “beautiful,” and precious to those who hear the message
(Rom 10:15). God never gives a word through a person without that person being duly recognized. While we are not
to vaunt men, we are to give honor to whom honor is due.
It has always been the Lord’s manner to exalt those who have received His word and faithfully discharged
what they were commanded. Who can forget men like Noah whose only claim to fame was that he obeyed God,
building an ark to the saving of his house (Heb 11:7). Abraham is well known among those who believe God, even
though his most noble achievement was that he “believed God” (Rom 4:3). Moses was lauded because he faithfully
gave the Law to the people, and led them through the great and terrible wilderness (John 1:17; Isa 63:12).
Now we will see Daniel promoted. On the surface this promotion came from Nebuchadnezzar. However, we must ever remember, “For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Psa 75:6-7). In our text, the great God of heaven has put down the Babylonian wise men, and will now set up Daniel the faithful one.
DANIEL MADE A GREAT MAN
“Then the king made Daniel a great man . . . ” Other versions read, “the king promoted Daniel,” NKJV “the king
placed Daniel in a high position,” NIV and “the king gave Daniel high honors.”
In a moment of time, Daniel’s status was dramatically changed. From a relatively unknown Hebrew counselor,
he was vaulted to kingdom prominence. He gave what the Lord had given to him, and, in the words of Jesus, it was
given back to him “good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your
bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again” (Luke 6:38).
A “great man” is one who is so regarded. That is, such honors were bestowed upon Daniel that he became prominent and well known. Ultimately, this favor came from God, although it was conferred by Nebuchadnezzar. In doing this, the king was carrying out what he had promised, thereby showing he was a man of his word: “But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof” (Dan 2:6). Daniel was advanced to a post of great dignity. He had honored God, and now God was honoring him. Through a prophet the Lord said, “them that honor Me I will honor, and they that despise Me shall be lightly esteemed” (1 Sam 2:30).
The Attitude of the King
The truth of God has had a humbling effect upon Nebuchadnezzar. It appears he has hardly any regard for
himself, but focuses his attention upon the exaltation of Daniel. When men believe the truth of God it does have a
humbling effect upon them. They thus obtain a high regard for those who have delivered the truth to them.
There are several men in Scripture who were particularly exalted because of their association with the Living God. The circumstances are remarkable.
ABRAHAM. From a mere son of Terah to the father of a great nation, being blessed by God and obtaing a great name (Gen 12:2-3).
JOSEPH. From a slave in prison to the prince of Egypt (Gen 41).
MOSES. From an exile to the one who gave the Law of God (Ex 3:7-10).
AARON. From a slave to the high priest of God (Ex 28).
SAUL. From obscurity to king (1 Sam 9-10).
DAVID. From the sheepcotes to the throne (Ex 3:10-22; 2 Sam 7:8).
JEROBOAM. From a slave to the throne (1 Kgs 11:26-35).
ELISHA. From plowing a field to a mighty prophet of God (1 Kgs 19:19-20).
BAASHA. From out of the dust to a prince over the people (1 Kgs 16:1-2).
DANIEL. From captive to premier (Dan 2:47).
SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNIGO. From unknown captives to key positions in the province of
Babylon (Dan 3:30).
If there is any doubt about the greatness of God, ponder the unlikely promotion of these men! In every case, their whole condition changed within a brief period of time. And who can forget Peter, Andrew, James, and John, who were moved from fisherman to Apostles in a single day ( Matt 4:18-22). And, who can forget Levi (also called Matthew, Matt 9:9), who moved from being a tax collector to an Apostle with the utterance of two words: “Follow me” (Mark 2:14).
Let every soul learn from the prophet Daniel that their labor is not vain in the Lord! As it is written,
“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch
as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor 15:58).
Faithfulness always brings Divine benefits,
and no individual is capable of imagining how significant they can be.
“ . . . and gave him many great gifts . . .” Nebuchadnezzar had not only promised honor for the one who told
him his dream and the interpretation of it, but gifts as well: “ye shall receive gifts and rewards” (Dan 2:6). Now the
king fulfills his promise, giving him “many great gifts.” The NIV reads,
“the king . . . lavished many gifts upon him.”
Some years later, when Daniel interpreted the writing on the wall for Belshazzar, he was also offered gifts.
That time Daniel did not receive them. Rather, his response was, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards
to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation” (Dan 5:17). Of course
there was a small difference in the cases. Belshazzar sought to obtain the interpretation through gifts, while
Nebuchadnezzar responded to the interpretation with gifts. If Daniel had provided the meaning of the handwriting
on the wall after receiving gifts, he could have been viewed like Balaam, who prophesied for wages 2 Pet 2:15). No
such motive can be ascribed to Daniel in our text. He did not speak for a reward, but because he was moved by the
God of heaven to do so.
I gather the gifts included things like royal clothing, gold, silver, precious stones, and perhaps real estate.
Daniel received the gifts, but was never known for being a covetous or grasping man. Like Abraham, Job, and Joseph,
he knew how to handle great riches (Gen 13:2; Job 1:3; Gen 41:41-43).
RULING THE WHOLE PROVINCE
“. . . and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon . . . ” This is a most remarkable promotion –
especially when you consider the greatness of Babylon. The kingdom of the Chaldeans was divided into provinces, and
Babylon was the chief one of them. It was the heart of the empire, and the seat of government – something like
Washington DC is to the United States.
You can see the confidence that Nebuchadnezzar had in Daniel. He saw no threat of usurpation in him. He
did not regard him to be a potential leader of an insurrection among the local captive Jews. Daniel was, in a very real
sense, “approved of men” (Rom 14:18). He had proved himself faithful to the Lord, and thus even his enemies were
made to be a peace with him (Prov 16:7). You must not forget that Nebuchadnezzar is the king who brought Daniel
as a captive into Babylon ( 1:1-6). Yet, at the time of our text, one could scarcely imagine that such a thing had taken
This account should generate hope in the hearts of all believers. Let them not be discouraged concerning their circumstances. If they are something less than desirable, they can change just as surely as those of Daniel changed.
RULER OF THE GOVERNORS AND WISE MEN
“ . . . and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.” An additional promotion involved Daniel
being “chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” NKJV (Dan 2:48). Among other things, this confirms the
wise men had not been eliminated from the empire. The phrase “chief of the governors ,” suggests there was some
form of grouping of Babylon’s wise men and counselors – something like our senate and house of representatives.
Here we see a dramatic turn of events. In the beginning, Daniel and his comrades were taught “the language
and literature of the Chaldeans” (1:4). Now, the wise men of the whole empire have a Jewish prophet over them – one
who has proved faithful to the Lord in every way. He refused to defile himself with the king’s food. He faithfully
declared the word of the Lord to the king, even though it spoke no blessing upon the king.
We may very well surmise Daniel will do not less in his new position. There will now be a certain moral influence present in Babylon. Prophetic words will be spoken in high places, and a sense of the greatness of the God of heaven will be had. And all of this happened in a period of time, being accomplished through a heathen king.
A REQUEST FOR HIS COMPANIONS
“ 49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.” How will Daniel respond to all of this? Before this, he was a slave in training. Now he is a key political official. Before this, he was a child of the state, with little or no possessions of his own. Now he is a man of substance, having received many impressive gifts. What will be the reply of the man of God?
THE EXTREMES OF LIFE
Many souls cannot handle a sudden influx of possessions and power. Countless immature people have
plummeted to the bottom of the economic and social ladder when they came into wealth, prosperity, and influence.
They simply could not handle it. The wisdom of Solomon regarding these things is noteworthy. “Remove far from me
vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee,
and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain” (Prov 30:8-9). He knew
there was no virtue or advantage at the extremities of life in this world – “poverty” and “riches.” There is no more
advantage to being poor than there is to being rich, notwithstanding the views of simple people. Solomon declared
why he thought this way, and he was employing the wisdom God gave to him. Being “poor,” he reasoned, would tempt
him to “steal, and take the name of my God in vain.” Being “rich,” he concluded, would tempt him to be “full,”
denying the Lord and saying, “Who is the LORD?” In such a case, he might have thought he alone was responsible
for his affluent state.
ADAPTING THROUGH FAITH
Of course, in Christ Jesus people can adapt to both extremes – poverty and riches. They need not be overcome
by either – particularly if they view them as classrooms in which they are taught by God. Thus Paul confessed, “Not
that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how
to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be
hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Phil 4:11-13).
Daniel had experienced both extremes – poverty and riches – and he did so admirably. Now we will see that, like love, he does not seek his own (1 Cor 13:5). His faith will equip him to handle authority to the glory of God.
DANIEL REQUESTED THE KING
“Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the
province of Babylon.” Surely this is bold request, and it is asked at the threshold of Daniel’s new position! Daniel
himself has been made the “ruler over the whole province of Babylon.” Now, as his first official act, he requests that
the other three children of Judah be “administrators over the province of Babylon.” These would be like his
lieutenants, carrying out his orders for the central area and hub of the empire.
Daniel did not forget his friends, as those who think only of themselves are wont to do. These three young men
had labored with him in prayer for the revelation of the king’s matter. Now, they will share in the spoils of victory.
They were like those of David’s day who “abode by the stuff,” or “stayed with the baggage” (1 Sam 25:13). When the
spoils of war were distributed, David did not forget those men. His judgment was placed into a permanent statute in
the land. “But as his part is who goes down to the battle, so shall his part be who stays by the supplies; they shall
share alike. So it was, from that day forward; he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel to this day” (1 Sam
30:24-25). Thus, in the spirit of king David, Daniel shares the spoils with his faithful companions.
Although the text does not say so here, we learn later that Nebuchadnezzar did place Daniel’s friends over
the affairs of Babylon. The next chapter will draw that to our attention, when these three men refuse to bow before
a golden image set up by Nebuchadnezzar. Their critics told the king, “There are certain Jews whom thou hast set
over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have
not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (Dan 3:12).
Together with Daniel, these men had already proved themselves “ten times wiser” than the most astute wise men
in Babylon. The king, therefore, will only be the better for putting them in responsible positions.
I cannot help but note the sharp conflict of these appointments with the manner of our Western world,
including its churches. Here, the most powerful ruler in the world made appointments based upon two things:
performance and recommendation. The same thing occurred with Joseph in Egypt. The thought has often occurred
to me that none of the four Nebuchadnezzar appointed over his affairs would be accepted in the average church or
Christian institution. Perhaps that is one of the reasons we are suffering from such a wave of spiritual mediocrity.
Should you ever have the opportunity to be placed in a higher position, conduct yourself in such a manner that you will not be ashamed to stand before Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the great and notable day of the Lord! You will then be a source of blessing like Daniel.
The text before us has been a notable one. In it we have seen the power of a faithful witness. Faith removes
the fear of man, which “bringeth a snare” (Prov 29:25). It also enables believers to be wise and considerate in their
responses. Social blunders are largely owing to a lack of faith and insight, both of which are available in abundance
to the child of God (2 Thess 1:3; James 1:5).
Behold how things were worked together for the good of Daniel. He has a message that declares the kingdom
of Nebuchadnezzar will be replaced by one that is inferior. According to the flesh, that would be a message you would
want to keep quiet – particularly if it was not going to take place for a while. However, when it is delivered precisely
as the Lord had given it, the king actually rewards Daniel with a place of honor, great gifts, political power, and an
opportunity to have his friends elevated also. That is how the Lord works, causing things to fall out for the advantage
of His people.
Thus God can cause a harsh decree to fail. He can melt the heart of an angry king. He can cause a king to see
the greatness of God, confess it, and decree that His prophet be exalted.
Add to this that God’s word will not return to Him void. It will accomplish what it has been sent to do, even
though spoken by a young and untenured man to a seasoned global monarch (Isa 55:11).
Those who are tempted to modify the Word of the Lord, making it palatable for the world, do well to sit at the
feet of Daniel. No good purpose would have been served by Daniel reducing the power of the message he had been
given – toning it down so it would not be abrasive. In fact, that would have been a transgression of the greatest
magnitude. If God says the kingdoms of this world will be crushed into oblivion by His own Kingdom, what purpose
would be served by modifying the message, or possibly omitting some of its details? Such a practice is reprehensible.
If you are a worker for the Lord, be a faithful one. Speak the message as it is, for “it is required in stewards,
that a man be found faithful” (1 Cor 4:2). You will find that God is faithful, giving you the very best when you are