Daniel 2 Series, Part 3, Verses 17-21

  • | Chris McCann
  • Audio: Length: 51:28 Size: 11.8 MB
  • Passages covered: Daniel 2:17-21, 2 Samuel 7:27, 1 Chronicles 17:25, Psalm 119:18, Daniel 2:9, Daniel 3:5,15,28.

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Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study in the Book of Daniel. Today is study #3 of Daniel, chapter 2, and we are going to read Daniel 2:19-21:

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

I will stop reading there. Just to remind us, the context is that the King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had a troubling dream. It was a dream he could not remember, so he called the wise men of Babylon, his sorcerers, astrologers, magicians and Chaldeans. He told them to tell him the dream and its interpretation. They said to him, “It is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods.” Then it was decreed that all the wise men of Babylon were to be killed. Then Daniel asked of Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard why the king’s decree was so hasty and Daniel went into the king and requested time to tell the king’s dream and its interpretation. Apparently the request was granted and Daniel and his three Hebrew friends began to pray and to seek wisdom from God concerning the dream and the interpretation of the dream, in order that they not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

That is the historical context and we know that, spiritually, King Nebuchadnezzar is a type of Satan and Babylon can picture the overall kingdom of Satan in this world, but it can also picture the corporate church that was overcome by the forces of Satan and became a part of Babylon. We also know that during the time of the Great Tribulation God opened the Scriptures to reveal hidden information to His people which cause them to flee the churches and congregations for their own good and benefit. God was bringing the Latter Rain outside of the corporate body and that is where the great multitude would be saved. The character of the Great Tribulation during the first 2,300 days was changed when God actively began to officially save people again out in the world (beginning in 1994), but not within the corporate church.

This revealing of the secret to Daniel and his three friends (four Jews) represented all of God’s elect that were alive during the time of the Great Tribulation and the revelation from God to them resulted in their salvation. Physically, they were not killed because Daniel could tell the king his dream and its interpretation which spared the “wise” of Babylon. In that sense, the wise of Babylon typified God’s elect. All the wise of Babylon were delivered through the receiving of the dream and its interpretation, just as all of God’s elect were delivered out of the churches through the opening of the Scriptures and, finally, God saved all His elect outside of the churches, the great multitude.

It says in Daniel 2:19:

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.

To pick up the context, let me go back and read Daniel 2:17-18:

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.

We discussed this a little bit. God opening up the understanding of His people is a mercy. It is not to be taken for granted. It is not to be assumed that God is obligated to reveal truth to anyone. It is a mercy of God. It is what God determined to do. It was God’s plan to seal up the Word and we will read about that, Lord willing, as we continue our Bible study in the Book of Daniel, but it was also God’s plan to open His Word at the time of the end to reveal much truth to His people. That is all part of His mercies. It is as a gift bestowed upon the people of God. Again, it is not something we deserve. We cannot say, “Well, God should tell us everything He is doing and about His plan and if He does not, He is not being just.” That is a completely wrong attitude and understanding. God may hold back information for a time or He may hold back something completely and that is His good pleasure to do. He is Sovereign God and He will reveal what He desires to reveal. When He does reveal things, then it belongs to us and we are responsible for knowing it. We become stewards of the mysteries of God, once it is revealed to us.

That is why it is so sorrowful when people go back from truth that God has graciously and mercifully opened up to His people. Now some people are going back. They are “looking back to Egypt,” spiritually, as they look back to the world or back to the churches. Remember that God likened the churches to “Sodom and Egypt” in Revelation, chapter 11. Some people seem to be saying, “It does not matter if the church age is over, or not. That is not the important thing. The important thing is salvation.” They are muddying the water and making a mess of the doctrines of God that He has opened up to His people and which He has confirmed and supported with hundreds of Bible verses that indicate the church age is over and we are not go back into the “house.” If we are in the “field,” we are not to turn back. God emphasizes this truth in several different ways. For instance, Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. We do not dismiss or disregard the wonderful truths of God. And truth is wonderful, no matter what it is, and these are wonderful truths that the Lord has given us. They belong to us and we are required to be faithful stewards in upholding His truths. This is all part of the mercies that are in view in Daniel, chapter 2.

Again, it says in Daniel 2:19-20:

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his;

You can imagine the joy and excitement and what an incredible moment it was. At one point, Daniel and his friends were praying for something that God had never done before, as far as we know. God not only revealed the interpretation of the dream (which God had previously done), but He revealed the dream itself, a dream that an evil man dreamed. Perhaps Daniel and his friends were unsure whether God would reveal the dream: “Is it God’s will that we come to know this matter?” They also realized that if it was not God’s will to know the king’s dream, they were going to die, so that added to the tremendous sense of urgency and desperation in their prayers. These men were praying and if any other thoughts entered into their minds, they would have been quickly dismissed: “We have no time for earthly cares or concerns. This is a matter of life and death. We must know what God will do. Will He help us and open up our understanding that we might know it?” So, they were going to the throne of God through prayer, approaching the King of kings and Lord of lords, and we can be sure they came very humbly before that throne of grace to beseech the Lord: “Dear Heavenly Father, dear all-knowing God.” And God does know all things, does He not? That is one comfort they had – God did know the answer. God knew exactly what King Nebuchadnezzar had dreamed because God knows everything. This is one of the most incredible attributes of God. He is all-knowing about everything in the Bible and everything in the world. He is all-knowing about everything that has ever been throughout the history of the world. And if we could go back into eternity past as far as we can travel, all that has ever transpired God knows. God also knows everything yet to happen in the endless depths of eternity future. On either end of the spectrum of eternity, which is endless and infinite, God knows all that information. Just consider the enormity of that kind of mind and its brilliance and power and might.

So, that was not a problem because these four men knew that God was the only true God and He knew the answer, but the question was, “Would He reveal it? Would He tell them King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and its interpretation?” That had never happened before that a man’s dream was revealed, so it was a matter of God’s will.

First, they understood that God knew the information, but, secondly, they knew that God is a God of revelation. God is pleased (and has been pleased) to reveal truths to His people that could not otherwise be known. The Bible itself is a testimony to that truth. It is divine revelation: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.” God revealed things to Moses and gave him divine revelation regarding the creation and the entire Book of Genesis, plus the Books of Leviticus, Numbers, Exodus and Deuteronomy, and so forth.

So, Daniel and his friends knew two encouraging things. God had knowledge of what they were asking, plus God’s character in regard to His people was that He did reveal hidden things to the people of God. So knowing these things would motivate them in approaching God and crying out to Him and waiting upon Him. In other words, they knew that God could reveal the information and that He might reveal it because it was according to His character in regard to what He had already done for His people. They besought the Lord and they prayed and prayed.

How long can someone pray before they give up? In this case, it was an urgent matter and all they knew is that they could pray and I am certain they determined to pray until the captain of the guard came with the soldiers to carry them away to execute them. They would have thought, “We will just keep praying and praying until we cannot pray anymore.” How sad and sorrowful it would have been if Daniel and his friends entered into prayer fervently for truth and then after an hour they grew tired. I am sure they grew tired – they were just men like us. But what if they got frustrated and discouraged and said, “I cannot know this because God is not telling me and God is not revealing it and I have prayed for the past hour,” and then they would start to think about food and just give up? “Well, God is sovereign and His will shall be done. If it is His will that we be executed, we cannot change it.” Then they would rise up from prayer and turn their attention to earthly things and things of the world and turn away from beseeching the Lord. Would that not have been awful? Would that not have been tragic for Daniel and his friends, especially when we see that God did reveal the dream and its interpretation? God was merciful to them in that regard and He granted them understanding.

I think that I and others are often weak in the flesh and we give up too soon. We stop too soon in beseeching God and praying to God and waiting upon the Lord. If we only I had just held on and kept looking “unto the hills, from whence cometh our help. My help cometh from JEHOVAH, which made heaven and earth.” We should do this no matter how bad things look. Are things bad today? I would say things are pretty bad, spiritually, with the church age being over and the corporate churches being in the condition they are and outside the churches the people of God have been looking to the Word of God for revelation. Of course, God is not breaking the barrier of the supernatural any longer, but the Bible is divine revelation and understanding the Bible requires that God grant us the same type of mercy that He granted to Daniel and his friends. We have looked to the Bible intently for many years now and God’s people have been disappointed concerning when we thought the end would come, but it did not come, so some have given up. They have turned back and they no longer seek understanding by revelation from God and, yet, we have to understand that God is merciful. The elect of God hold on, like Jacob wrestling with the Lord, and we will not let Him go unless He bless us. The only reason we will not let Him go is because He will not allow us to let Him go, but the people of God continue to pray and beseech Him and wait upon the Lord until He finally reveals the secret, like He did to Daniel.

Notice that it said, “Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision.” This would relate to the time of the Great Tribulation, the time of spiritual darkness within the churches and congregations and for the first 2,300 evening mornings virtually no one was being saved. Yet, it was at the very beginning of this dark period that God did open His Word and unseal the Bible to the understanding of His people and they began to gain greater knowledge of the things that had been hidden for centuries and even for thousands of years.

Let us look at the word _“revealed. This word is found in 2Samuel 7:27:

For thou, O JEHOVAH of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.

The same word translated as “revealed” is Strong’s #1541 and it is Aramaic. It is also translated as “told” in a parallel account in 1Chronicles 17:25:

For thou, O my God, hast told thy servant that thou wilt build him an house: therefore thy servant hath found in his heart to pray before thee.

When God reveals something, it simply means He “told” it. If you had a secret and you called a friend and you told the friend your secret, you have revealed it. You did it through speaking and telling your friend. God spoke to Daniel in a night vision – He revealed His secret to him.

This word is also translated as “openeth” in Job 33:14-16:

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction,

This is the idea when God opens the understanding. We read about that in Luke 24:45:

Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,

A right understanding of the Bible is a very mysterious thing. I know I have had the experience (and I am sure you have, too) where I read a verse 100 times or 500 times and not understand it. Then you read the verse again at some point and all of a sudden you “see” something. You are seeing with understanding as you see something in the verse you never saw before and it now makes sense, spiritually, and it fits with everything in the Bible. You see the spiritual meaning of that particular verse that you had never been aware of previously in the 500 times you read it. Someone might say, “Well, if you read it enough times, it comes through.” If that were true, it should have happened after 100 or 300 or 400 times. But it is only through the working of the Holy Spirit, according to His timetable and His will. God is the revealer of truth. He grants understanding to His people. Maybe an individual had been praying for wisdom about that particular verse and, yet, nothing was understood and it continued to be a struggle, but he kept going back to the verse and reading it. There was still nothing new. And he would pray, “O, Lord, grant me understanding,” and then maybe a month later or even five years later, he returns to the verse and, all of a sudden, he sees it. It has nothing to do with increased intelligence because it has not increased. He is the same person and, yet, now he understands the verse because God determined to give the insight and opened the eyes and ears of this person to the spiritual truth that had always been there.

That is the problem when it comes to understanding the Bible. It is even possible for the elect to look at a verse and one person has understanding and the other does not. It may continue that way and 10 years later the other person gains understanding. God is in complete control of what we know and what we do not know. It is all according to His perfect will.

Let us go to Psalm 119, where the same word translated as “revealeth” appears in Psalm 119:18:

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.

Open my eyes or “reveal” to my eyes wondrous things out of thy law. God must show us or tell us. It is as if we are blind to the spiritual truths and right doctrines of what God has hidden in His Word. This is the problem with the unsaved – they cannot see it. They may desperately want to see it and, yet, they cannot. There is an inability. If you are blind, but you do not know you are blind and someone says, “Oh, look at what I see. Do you see it?” They look, but they are blind. A person with physical sight is saying, “Look at the beautiful flower. Look at those beautiful trees and that beautiful waterfall.” But the physically blind person cannot see the flower. He cannot see the trees or the waterfall, but you are trying to get them to see what is impossible for them to see and that is how it is with spiritual truth with the unsaved. You can lay it out and tell them all about it. You can tell them how beautifully it fits and harmonizes with the entire Bible and you can say, “Is this not a wonderful thing that God has made Israel and Judah types and figures of the New Testament churches? In Matthew 24 when God tells us to flee Judaea to the mountains, we are to come out of the churches (as typified by Judaea) and flee to the mountains (a representation of the kingdom of God).” You say this to people that are spiritually blind because they have not become saved and they look at you like you are talking in a language they are not able to understand. They cannot comprehend it because it has not been given to them. Remember what the Lord Jesus said when asked why He spoke in parables? He said in Matthew 13:11:

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.

He may as well have said, “It is given unto you to see the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven on the pages of the Bible. It is given unto you to see the parabolic nature of the Scriptures to understand historical parables and the hidden meanings found throughout the Bible, but unto them it is not given.” To them, history is history and plain, literal statements are to be understood plainly and literally. It is not given to them. It is impossible for them to know the mysteries of God. Therefore, they are not stewards of the mysteries of God, but to those that “see” and know these things, the elect, are stewards of the mysteries of God. They are not stewards of the Oracles of God as the churches were in the sense of getting the Bible out into the nations and establishing it in the pulpits, but as far as God revealing the proper understanding of the doctrines of the Bible is given to the elect. The proper doctrines of the Bible cannot be known except through the revealing of the “mysteries” or the hidden things of God and that is one of the reasons why it is so terrible when people today who claim to be the stewards of the mysteries of God and claim they understand right doctrine say, “No man is to teach any longer. We are just to listen to the Bible.” Alright, you listen to the Bible and when you want to share with others, you just quote from the Bible. Some people do that, but where is the doctrine. The Bible says that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine and doctrine is going into the Scriptures and understanding the mysteries. For instance, in order to understand the mystery that Christ was slain from the foundation of the world and He did not pay for sins at the cross in 33AD, of necessity you have to expound on it and share these things and tie all the Scriptures together. God is the one that grants understanding and gives us the doctrine of Christ. Really, it is another attack and a way for the enemies of the true teachings of the Bible to come against the true people of God and to come against the wonderful truths that God opens and reveals as doctrine to His people. They are basically saying, “You are not to have doctrine anymore.” That is what they are saying when they say, “Only the Bible, but no teachers. Do not tell me the Bible means anything, but just quote the Scriptures.” They are denying one of the glorious purposes for the Bible, which is that all Scripture is profitable for doctrine.

Let us go back to Daniel and look at Daniel 2:21:

And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

The masculine pronoun “he” can only be referring to God because God is the one that removes and sets up kings and He is the only one that gives wisdom and knowledge. In order to be consistent, the one that “changeth the times and seasons” must also refer to God. God changes the times and the seasons. But that presents a question, because we know that God has a timetable and program of times and seasons related to the time of the end, including the timeline for the Great Tribulation and the timeline for Judgment Day, and so forth. Remember we are told in 1Thessalonians 5:1-2:

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

So, does the verse in Daniel 2:21 mean that God could set up a timetable of “times and seasons” and then later change it? No – that is not what is in view in Daniel, chapter 2. The words are not the typical words for “times and seasons.” Actually, what is in view is that God changes the “times and seasons” that Satan seeks to implement. This is what is in view spiritually, but, historically, it means that God has changed the time or the season that King Nebuchadnezzar established for the killing of the wise men. It said back in Daniel 2:9:

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.

Apparently, he set a time and he was accusing the wise men of trying to avoid the time that he had established for the interpretation of his dream. But God changed the “times and the seasons” that Nebuchadnezzar established and the wise of Babylon did not die at that set time because God granted understanding to Daniel and his friends.

The word translated as “times” is also found in Daniel 3:5-6:

That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Again, the same word translated as “times” in verse 15 is used. Here, it is another historical parable that points to the Great Tribulation. Four times musical instruments are listed and three of the times it mentions six musical instruments and one time it mentions five musical instruments, for a total of “23,” a number that identifies with the Great Tribulation. In this case, also, King Nebuchadnezzar has set a time and the penalty is death, once again, if you do not do what he wants you to do.

This also reminds us of Haman in the Book of Esther who had the lot cast before him and then he went to the king and set a date (I think it was the 13th day of the 12th month) in which all the Jews (wise) would be slain. Is it not interesting that in one case it is all the “Jews” and in the other case it is all the “wise.” Haman, the adversary, desired to kill the Jews and he set a time. In the Book of Esther God also changed the time when all the Jews would be killed to a time when all the enemies of the Jews would be killed.

Also, in Daniel 3, verse 28 the word “change” is found. It says in Daniel 3:28:

Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

God changed the king’s timetable for destruction concerning Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and the fire had no power over them to destroy. Just as Nebuchadnezzar, a figure of Satan, seeks to destroy the people of God and seeks to exercise judgment as though he were God, he also desires to establish his own timetable of “times and seasons.” But God changes the king’s word so that the elect are not destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar, nor are the elect destroyed by Satan during the time of Great Tribulation. God changed the design that Satan had for the people of God. God does not permit it, so He changes “the times and the seasons” that were synonymous with destruction and judgment.

Again, we read that God changed the times and the seasons of King Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadnezzar does not have ultimate power over the people of God. God is the one that set King Nebuchadnezzar up on his throne. In the next statement in our verse in Daniel 2:21, it even goes on to say, “He removeth kings, and setteth up kings.” So, God is fully aware that Nebuchadnezzar possesses official power and authority to rule over his kingdom. God is fully aware because God granted him that power and authority and, likewise, God is the one that set up Satan to rule in the churches and congregations and over the entire world during the little season of Great Tribulation in a way that had never been seen in prior history. God gave him the power and authority and kings have power and authority to use the sword. They can put someone to death – they have that kind of power. It is God given, according to Romans, chapter 13, so when King Nebuchadnezzar ordered someone to die, he had the power and authority to do so. Likewise, Satan was raised up to bring destruction to the churches of the world and, yet, when this power and authority is used by Nebuchadnezzar or used by Satan to attempt to destroy God’s elect, then God intervenes and God protects His people by changing the times and the seasons. He changed the king’s word and He will not allow the evil king to harm His people, nor will He allow Satan to destroy one of His elect.