Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study in the Book of Daniel. Today will be study #2 of Daniel, chapter 2, and we are going to read Daniel 2:10-19:
The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain. Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
I will stop reading there. Just to remind us of the historical context, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had dreamed dreams and his spirit troubled him, but when he awoke the dream was gone from him and he could not remember the dream. He called for his wise men – the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans – and they told the king, “Tell us the dream and we will tell you the interpretation of the dream.” But the dream was gone from him and he could not tell them, so he responded, “Tell me the dream and then I will know that you are able to tell me the interpretation.” But the wise men protested and they told the king, “No king or lord or ruler has ever made this kind of request. This is unheard of and you must tell us the dream.”
King Nebuchadnezzar, who has a very short temper, tells Arioch, the captain of his guard, to kill all the wise men of Babylon. He would kill the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans, but the decree would also include Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah and they would die, too, so Daniel wisely went into the king and requested time in order to show the king the interpretation, which meant he would also have to show the king his dream. It was a wise move because they were about to be killed and Daniel knows that there is a God in heaven who knows all things, so he decided that he and his friends would beseech God for help concerning the dream and the interpretation of the dream. It was a very wise move to make because, otherwise, they would have been killed right then. Who knows if God would be merciful to them? So, they began to pray to God and God was pleased to reveal the dream and its interpretation to Daniel and Daniel was thankful and praised the God of Heaven.
Again, it says in Daniel 2:10:
The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.
The “sorcerers” were not mentioned here, but they were mentioned back in verse 2: “Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.” At this point the Chaldeans are arguing that what the king is requesting is unjust and that he cannot expect them to know his dream. They go on to explain that this is not possible with men because only the gods can know his dream.
We mentioned in the last study that these four groups – the Chaldeans, magicians, astrologers and sorcerers – are the wise men of Babylon and King Nebuchadnezzar had already told them in Daniel 2:8-9:
The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.
We talked about how it was that King Nebuchadnezzar knew they had prepared lying and corrupt words. It was because he is a picture of Satan and these four groups point to the universal wisdom of Babylon, the kingdom of Satan, which includes the corporate church; it includes the churches and congregations of the world because Babylon overcame Judah and Judah became a province of Babylon under the rule of Babylon. It was, therefore, a part of Babylon and Judah is a figure of the New Testament corporate church, so these so-called “wise men” are the professed Christians within the churches and congregations.
So, Satan wants to know the truth of this dream because it concerns him. As we pointed out in our last study, the dream regarded an image of himself, which the Book of Revelation calls the “image of the beast.” It is the image that is made to Satan at the time of the end of the world and the New Testament corporate church actually became the “image of the beast.” That is what is in view with this image and, therefore, the dream and the interpretation of it is related to events of the Great Tribulation and of the end of the world. That is the time that Satan was loosed to overcome the churches and they became part of Babylon and he ruled over them, taking his seat in the temple as the man of sin. Therefore, Satan is fully aware that “professed Christians” and other philosophies of the world that claim to have wisdom really have no true wisdom to interpret the Word of God. They claim to have wisdom and, normally, that is good enough for Satan because that is what Satan had commissioned them to do, in putting lies in their mouths. In 1Kings, Satan was the lying spirit, but God allowed it, as it says in 1Kings 22:21-23:
And there came forth a spirit, and stood before JEHOVAH, and said, I will persuade him. And JEHOVAH said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. Now therefore, behold, JEHOVAH hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and JEHOVAH hath spoken evil concerning thee.
Satan was the lying spirit, but JEHOVAH allowed him by permitting Satan to come against the churches and for Satan’s emissaries to fill the pulpits, and so forth. Satan is doing it, but God is taking responsibility because He loosed Satan.
Since Satan is a lying spirit in the mouth of his false prophets, he knows for certain that his prophets cannot give him the truth because they have no ability to speak the truth. He is fully aware of this and, yet, he demands a right interpretation: “I want to know the dream. I want to know the interpretation of the dream, but you must first tell me the dream.”
By the way, since the dream is from God, it is divine revelation and I think it is telling that the dream is gone from him. It is something that he is vaguely aware of and deeply desires to know, but it is something he cannot grab hold of in any way, of himself, but it must be told him and interpreted. That is where Daniel and his three friends come in because only the elect can know and interpret the Word of God. The professed Christians are as much value as a Buddhist or Muslim or a man of any other religion of the world when it comes to rightly interpreting the Bible – they have no ability to do so. But, in this case, their inability will bring about their destruction because it is absolutely necessary to know the interpretation. The King of Babylon made a decree that there must be a right interpretation of his dream or they will die. Is that not something? The king of Babylon is actually saying, “I want to know the truth about this divine revelation and if truth is not told me, then the wise men of Babylon will die.”
That would include the magicians and we saw in our last study that the word “magician” is a word for a graving tool that was used to form a false god and, therefore, “magicians” are related to those that come with other gospels and other gods.
There were also the “sorcerers” and the Hebrew word translated as “sorcerer” is also translated as “witch” or “witchcraft.” It is Strong’s #8586 and there are a few verses that relate a sorcerer to a false prophet. For instance, it says in 2Kings 9:22 that Jezebel’s “witchcrafts” or “sorcerers” were many. In the New Testament (Revelation 2:20) God identified a church that permitted Jezebel to seduce His servants within the congregations and the church was cast into “great tribulation.” We also read in Acts 13, in verses 6 through 12, of Barjesus, a sorcerer, who was called a false prophet and child of the devil. Therefore, sorcerers can be related to those that bring other kinds of gospels.
As far as astrologers, this word is Strong’s #825 and there is also another related word which is Strong’s #826, but it is not translated as any other word and it is a little difficult to get a Biblical definition for this word. We know that people today are into astrology, but I do not see much more insight in the Bible about this.
The word “Chaldean” is the fourth group and it is synonymous with the word “Babylonian,” but it makes us wonder why they would be listed among the “wise,” if it just referred to any Babylonian. Perhaps, it referred to a certain ethnic group within the kingdom of Babylon, like the ancient founders. If you remember, Abram came out of “Ur of the Chaldees,” so there could have been a particular group of people within Babylon that identified with the “original” Babylonians and they had a special place or significance within Babylon as its kingdom grew and expanded. The Chaldeans are the ones that were answering to the King of Babylon in Genesis 4:10-13:
The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.
It was impossible for them to know what the king was asking, as they pointed out, “And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” There is a certain amount of truth in their statement. Of course, it is only the God of the Bible, the Lord God Almighty, who actually knew the dream because He was the one behind the dream. God knew all about it and the God of the Bible knows all things about all things and His dwelling is not with flesh – He is God above. He is Spirit. So, the Chaldeans are making some correct statements to King Nebuchadnezzar and they are also putting their finger on the nature of the Bible itself and the nature of Bible interpretation: there is no man living on the earth that can understand the Bible or that can know the dream or vision (as God likens His divine revelation to dreams and visions), as God often gave the prophets dreams and visions and this typifies the entire Bible. There is no man that can know it, as the Lord tells us in 1Corinthians 2:10-11:
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man…
We could stop right there and we would all have no hope if God just ended the verse there and it was the whole story. It is a fact that the things of God (the whole Bible) knoweth no man. We have no ability to know it. We lack the spiritual understanding to know the Word of God, the Bible. We are not just talking about things that have to do with the time of the end of the world, but we are talking about every other doctrine and teaching of the Bible. If God did not work through His Spirit to reveal truth and to guide His people into truth, we would not have any understanding of the things of God, the Bible. We would lack understanding concerning our sinful nature and being dead in sin and concerning the doctrine of election and every other doctrine, like marriage and divorce, the woman’s role in teaching the Bible, and we would lack understanding regarding when Christ died for sin and who He died for at that time. We would lack understanding on point, after point, after point in regard to what the Bible teaches, just like the churches lack understanding today. We would all be in that situation because the Bible says, “The things of God knoweth no man.” That is the natural position for fallen man to be in, once man ate of the tree and broke the commandment of God and man died in his soul. Mankind and all that came forth from him were spiritually dead and cut off from God and cut off from truth and understanding. We could not know God or the things of God, if it were not for God’s mercy and grace and His glorious salvation program that restored the souls of His elect. Therefore, the verse did not end in 1Corinthians 2:11, but it goes on to say in Corinthians 2:11-12:
… so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
God saves His people and gives them His Spirit. It is not the spirit of the world, but it is the Spirit of God and since it is the Spirit of God it is able to grant understanding to the people of God, “that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” And what things has God given us? It says in Deuteronomy 29:29:
The secret things belong unto JEHOVAH our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
The Spirit of God reveals the secret things of God so that we are able to know them. We are blessed. We are greatly privileged to know the “unknowable” and to know the things that are impossible for the rest of mankind to know. Remember why it was that Jesus spoke in parables? It says in Matthew 13:10-11:
And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
And how was it given to them? It was through the Spirit of God which knows the things of God, but others lack the Holy Spirit and they remain in their natural condition of having no knowledge or ability to know the things of God. It goes on to say in Matthew 13:12-13:
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
They cannot understand. According to Daniel 12, verse 10 the “wise shall understand,” and the previous verse said to seal up the words until the time of the end: “And none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.” Of course, God is telling us this because this is how it always has been, but this is specifically talking about the things of the time of the end.
And in Daniel, chapter 2 there was a “dream” that is impossible to know. None of the wise of Babylon know it, nor can they know it and they admitted it. They argued their point to the king that he was demanding something of them that is impossible with man. And that is true. He was asking something of them they cannot give and they do not know how it can ever be given. They do not understand the concept of approaching God, the giver of the “dream” and the giver of the Word of God, the Bible. They not understand that since God gave this divine revelation in a dream to the king that He could reveal the dream and the interpretation. They lacked understanding of the whole process of divine revelation and who it is that controls divine revelation and who it is that can grant understanding regarding divine revelation.
Actually, they did not understand the process for coming to truth in the Bible. The corporate churches today have their confessions and creeds and the statements of their forefathers, like the Reformers. They have theological commentaries and that is where they go to look for truth. That is their arena for wisdom. They do not go to God. They do not follow the methodology God has laid out in His Word to arrive at truth by carefully comparing Scripture with Scripture throughout the Bible in order to know right doctrine. They do not do that and, therefore, they lack true wisdom. For some matters it was fine during the church age because the Reformers did have a grasp on many important doctrines, like election, and it served the churches for some time as they followed in their footsteps in regard to basic doctrines of truth in the Bible.
Then we got to the time of the end of the world when God opened the Scriptures and began to reveal truths that had not previously been known or understood properly. These truths were extremely important and they were essential doctrines because they regarded the end of the church age and the giving over of the churches into the hand of Satan and the necessity to come out of the churches and congregations, so these doctrines were a matter of “life and death.” We see that in King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree concerning his dream: “If you do not tell me the dream and interpret the dream correctly and truthfully, then I will kill you.” He will not stand for lying or corrupt words on the matter. They would die if they did not reveal the actual truth of the dream and its interpretation. The reason is because it was all related to the “image of the beast” and the time of the Great Tribulation when Satan would rule in the churches and congregations. We have already lived through that period of time, but the proper interpretation of the Word of God was critical as far as “living or dying,” was it not? God was separating the wheat and the tares and the wheat, the elect, were being brought out of the churches and the professed, but unsaved, Christians remained within the churches and congregations. What was the purpose? God was bundling them for the burning and all those that remained there would die. Not everyone that came out of the churches was elect of God, but all that did come out would come out into a world where God was sending forth the Latter Rain and saving the great multitude, so even the unsaved outside of the churches still had the possibility of “life,” but within the churches there was only “death.” It was all dependent upon the correct understanding of the “dream” or the Word of God, the Bible. It was all dependent upon the interpretation of the Bible. Failure to properly interpret the “dream or vision,” which represents the Word of God, would mean “death” for those that stayed within the corporate churches that were now a part of Babylon.
We can see the basic outline for God’s revealing truth from the Bible during the time of the Great Tribulation to His people. What we are learning here is the great importance God puts on knowing and understanding and properly interpreting the Word of God at that time. Here, in the Book of Daniel it was a matter of life and death and, historically, it was a matter of life and death for Daniel and his friends. Let us go on and read in Daniel 2:14-15:
Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.
Here is the Hebrew word “hasty,” but many of the words in Daniel have Aramaic origins and they are slightly different than the Hebrew words, but they are the equivalent words. Here, the Hebrew word “hasty” is Strong’s #2685 and it is found only one other place in the Bible and it is also in the Book of Daniel when King Nebuchadnezzar made the golden image and this was all related to the dream he had and which had been interpreted to him. He commanded that whosoever would not bow down to the image were to be killed and Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not bow down and the king is angry. It says in Daniel 3:19-22:
Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
The word translated as “urgent” here is the word translated as “hasty” in our verse in Daniel, chapter 2. Is it not interesting that in both cases it involved King Nebuchadnezzar commanding his people (his guard in chapter 2 and his mighty men in chapter 3) to kill the people of God.? Yes, he was commanding all the wise men to be killed in chapter 2, but that included Daniel and his three friends and it would have resulted in the death of the people of God. Here, very specifically, it involves Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego that are going to be killed and it is an “urgent” matter. In chapter 2, it was a “hasty” decree. In both cases, they must die and when we look at this dream and the historical situation, we know the following points: 1) the dream was from God and, therefore, was divine revelation; 2) if the dream was not interpreted, the king of Babylon, a type of Satan, would kill all the wise in Babylon; 3) if the dream was interpreted, the wise of Babylon, especially Daniel and his three friends, are spared. Therefore, interpreting the divine revelation identifies with deliverance from destruction.
Again, we see the great importance God places on (proper) interpretation and revelation of the “dream,” or the revelation and understanding of God’s Word in the time when Satan is ruling as the beast during the Great Tribulation. There is strong emphasis on properly understanding the dream or vision, which represents divine revelation of God’s Word. Failure to understand will lead to quick destruction. It was a “hasty decree” and the King of Babylon was urgent to destroy. It is what Satan does best. It is his specialty. He is very adept at destroying things and that is why he was such a good servant in bringing destruction to the corporate church body, but his desire and his main goal was to destroy the true people of God. He is able to know the difference between false believers and true believers because he had his tares that he sowed among the wheat and he knows the difference between a tare and a wheat, but he wants to destroy the elect and can succeed if they do not understand the “dream” or the divine revelation. If they lack understanding, they will be destroyed. Do you see how it all relates to God opening up the Bible at the time of the end and revealing this matter to His people? He revealed that Satan had been loosed and had entered into the churches and was ruling there, and God commanded that we were to depart out and flee to the mountains. If you remained, you would die a certain death, along with all the other (so-called) wise of Babylon.
Then it says in Daniel 2:16-18:
Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret…
You know, God is very merciful. We read of God’s wonderful mercy in Romans 9:15-18:
For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy. For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth. Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
God is a God of mercy, but He is also sovereign and He decides on whom He will have mercy. When we read the Bible, we see that God is merciful in His election program. He took the sins of His people upon Himself and paid for their sins. He was merciful in granting forgiveness and eternal life to His people. He is merciful to us in many, many ways. We understand that, but, perhaps, we do not think of God’s mercy as much when it comes to a right interpretation of the Bible. We tend to think that this is more a product of the effort of our study. If we are diligent and work hard enough, we will come to truth. That is part of the process God has put into place, as He instructs us to compare Scripture with Scripture throughout the Bible and it does take effort and work to search things out in the Bible. We have to put in the hours to compare Scripture with Scripture. We get our Bible and our concordance and we start looking up the words in a verse and, if we do it properly, it could take several hours and it could even lead to days more of work. There is much labor, but if we think that is all there is to it, then we do not fully understand how a child of God comes to truth. It is much more than putting in the work. Yes, we must make sure our conclusions harmonize with the rest of the Bible, but before all that there is a need to approach God and to pray for wisdom and to pray for mercy: “O, Heavenly Father, have mercy on me and open my eyes to grant me understanding. Help me to understand the Book of Romans. Help me to understand Genesis. Help me, O God, to understand this verse.”
Imagine if you were Daniel or one of his three friends and your life depends upon it. The situation is that you will certainly die. King Nebuchadnezzar was a ruthless and fierce king that would think nothing of destroying all the wise men and making their houses a dunghill. Then he would go have lunch – it was nothing to him. You are certainly going to die unless you can come to understand that which is not possible to understand (in human terms). It was impossible to know the king’s dream, let alone its interpretation. There was no way. It was, perhaps, a step more difficult than it is for us to know the Bible because we have the Bible verse in front of us and we have a head start on Daniel and his three friends. They did not even have the text or the verse and they had to provide the text in addition to the interpretation. But even if you have the text, it is just as impossible for any man (even if that person is saved and possesses the Spirit of God) to know anything about the Bible unless God is pleased to grant understanding.
So, Daniel and his friends had a little time. We are not told how much time, but they had a little time and they went to God and they prayed. How earnestly do you think they prayed? It would have been extremely earnest. They did not have time for the things of Babylon. They did not have time to focus on anything else, but there was intense focus on knowing that which they could not know, so they prayed to the One who does know and who could reveal it to them. And they prayed, and they prayed, and they prayed all day and then in a night vision God revealed it to Daniel.
The fact that we lack understanding is, ultimately, in God’s hands. However, that is not an excuse: “O, we lack understanding concerning what God is doing,” and then we just keep going along, day to day. Then why are we not going to God? I do not mean that it should be just me or other people that teach. It was Daniel and his companions that went to God in prayer. Why are we not all going to God, urgently, and beseeching God for help and understanding? If there is a passage or verse we do not understand, the people of God should be humbly beseeching Him and crying out earnestly to God for understanding, like Jacob wrestled with God and would not let Him go except He bless him. If we beseech God, it is very possible that God will reveal the information we desire in regard to a verse, a passage, a chapter or a Book, especially given the time in which we are living, but we need to turn to Him and truly beseech Him for wisdom. It was not simply, “O, Lord, help me to understand the Bible. Amen.” No, that is not how Daniel and his friends prayed, because their lives depended on it. Whether we know it or not, we have come through a time in which proper understanding of divine revelation really was a matter of life and death. Of course, that all relates to whether an individual was truly saved, or not. If an individual was truly saved, they did come to proper interpretation and they were delivered from the churches in time.