welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study in the Book of Daniel. This is study #7 of Daniel, chapter 2, and we are going to read Daniel 2: 28-35:
But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart. Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.
I will stop reading there. In verse 28 Daniel is finally revealing to King Nebuchadnezzar the dream that the king had which was “gone from him.” Nebuchadnezzar had gone to his wise men and commanded that they reveal his dream to him. Then he commanded that they were all to be killed because they could not reveal the dream. Then Daniel requested time in the matter and he and his three friends made supplication to God and besought Him for grace and mercy that He would reveal the king’s dream to them. Of course, it is impossible for a man to know another man’s dream. It would require a miracle, so God provided that miracle after they prayed to Him. He conveyed the dream and gave them knowledge of the king’s dream and its interpretation. Daniel is going to start by telling the king his dream and, afterwards, he will tell the king the interpretation of the dream.
We have discussed how the first three chapters of Daniel are an historical parable that points to the time of the Great Tribulation. It relates to the Word of God that was sealed until the time of the end. Since God sealed it up, it meant that the information could not be known prior to the end time. It would have been impossible to know these “hidden things” of God, just as it was impossible for anyone to know the king’s dream.
And, yet, in order to spare Daniel and his friends (and all the wise men of Babylon) God opened information to them that could not otherwise be known. Through the revelation of the dream, Daniel and his friends and all the wise men of Babylon were spared. They were delivered from death. That fits in with what happened in regard to the opening of the Scriptures at the time of the end of the world. Again, because of the day we live in, we always have to emphasize that there was no “additional” revelation added to the Bible – God did not break the barrier of the supernatural through a dream or vision. He would not do that because the Bible was a completed Book, insofar as the written Word is concerned. Nothing is to be added and nothing is to be taken away, but God brought “revelation” in the sense that He opened up understanding of information He had already written. He had held man back in the past from a proper understanding of these things, but then at the time of the end God began to give understanding of many things that had not been understood throughout history.
One of the things that God opened up was the information concerning the end of the church age and the command of God to His people to flee out of Judaea. His people were to depart out and flee to the mountains, to God and His Word, and we were to live from that point on outside of the corporate church body because it was God’s intention to begin His judgment at the house of God. Never again would anyone be saved within all the churches of the world. For the benefit of His people and their families, God commanded us to come out.
Let us go back to Daniel, chapter 2. Again, Daniel tells the king, in Daniel 2:29:
As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass.
This is very familiar language in this chapter. Again, we see the tern “maketh known” or “revealeth secrets.” Also, the word “interpretation” is used, again, and again, in this chapter because it all relates to understanding the Word of God, the Bible, and God’s plan to make known the secret things in His Word in the proper time and season.
Then it says in Daniel 2:30:
But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living…
Daniel made a point to let the king know this. It is necessary for the people of God to do this when they talk to the people of the world, because the people of the world do not “see” God with spiritual eyes. They do not “see” at all, in this way. They really have no understanding of God’s true existence, so they tend to shower glory and honor and praise upon men. We can see how impressed the King of Babylon was with Daniel, even though Daniel said, “But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living.” Later on a descendant of King Nebuchadnezzar saw God’s writing on the wall and his knees began to shake. The queen remembered Daniel and Daniel was called in to interpret and this king also showered Daniel with honor. It is man’s tendency to lift up the individual that knows the “secret things” of spiritual understanding.
Man is impressed when someone can reveal the things of God and wants to give glory to that individual, but the people of God are very consistent, just as Daniel told the king, “But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living.” Daniel is admitting to the king that he is nobody special and he tells the king the truth. Daniel is a normal man and he is just as limited and finite and “in the dark” concerning God’s secret things as any other man, so Daniel tells the kings it is not because of any wisdom within him. It is a fact that he would not know the kings’ dream or its interpretation if it were left to him. If Daniel had gone back to his house and “wracked his brain” to try to come up with the king’s dream, he could have come up with a thousand ideas and he would not have known if any of them were correct. The best he could have done is to guess. He could look at the king’s personality and factor in things (like what the king had for dinner on the night of his dream) that could possibly have caused the dream and then made an “educated guess” that would be a thousand miles away from the actual dream. And that is exactly how it is when (unsaved) men come to the Bible with their own minds and their own understanding and they try to apply their own intelligence and knowledge to the things of God. These things were written by Infinite, Almighty God and they can be known only by the Spirit of God.
Unfortunately, this is what happens with man all the time. It has been happening for thousands of years in the churches and congregations. Theologians are trained in seminaries and they become pastors. They are taught the knowledge of men. They are taught to apply the knowledge of men to the Word of God and they are basically applying their own limitations and shortcomings to the infinite Word of an all-knowing God, so, of course, they are going to be wrong. They are going to come up with erroneous understanding and doctrines that are “other gospels” and this is exactly what has happened in all the churches in their confessions and creeds.
Again, Daniel is not doing anything great by telling the king, “But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have.” He is just being honest. He is being a faithful witness. He knows that he could not know the dream. He knows himself and he knows his limitations. He knows that none of the other wise men of Babylon are able to understand a dream or the interpretation of a dream. Likewise, he knows that he has no ability to do it, so we should not think that Daniel is doing anything great. Daniel is speaking matter-of-factly and he is saying, in effect, “I am no one special. It is not in me to know that kind of wisdom.” That would be typical. It is humble. The natural man has a tendency to receive the glory and lift himself up and pretend to be someone he is not. But, it is typical of the child of God to give God the glory, just as Joseph did in Genesis 41:14-16:
Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh. And Pharaoh said unto Joseph, I have dreamed a dream, and there is none that can interpret it: and I have heard say of thee, that thou canst understand a dream to interpret it. And Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.
Notice how Joseph responded: “It is not in me.” It is a very similar statement to Daniel’s statement: “But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living.” Joseph said the same thing. Joseph had been blessed by God in the ability to interpret dreams, but Joseph also knew that the interpretation came from God. As God worked out these things in him, there was a recognition that God was giving the understanding. In other words, it was God who told him what the baker’s dream and the butler’s dream meant and God was the one that would give him the interpretation of the king’s dream. The interpretation meant that God would give the proper understanding of what the dream meant. God gives the interpretation of the “hidden things,” the things that cannot be known of man.
An example of an individual that does not give God the glory for wisdom that can only come down from above is found in Acts 8:9-10:
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.
Simon bewitched the people of Samaria. Samaria is another name for Israel and Israel is a type and figure of the corporate church. Simon was giving the impression that he was some “great one.” Men, in their pride and arrogance, are operating under the natural condition of (unsaved) men in this life. Man wants to be someone special, but Daniel and Joseph did not want to be anyone special. The natural condition of unsaved man is to want to be someone special and to want to be exalted and lifted up and this is a huge problem and temptation in the churches and congregations when men would go through the seminaries. They would become learned in the original languages of the Bible. They would also learn Latin, as well as the Greek and Hebrew, and they would become highly educated in the grammatical aspects of the Bible. They would be very intelligent men and they would approach the Bible with their years of training. They were instructed that they were to be the “wise” that would lead the congregation. There is nothing wrong with their leading the congregation, but God’s plan was for them to lead the congregation in His wisdom.
However, the problem that happened over the course of the church age was that men began to lead the congregations in their own wisdom or the wisdom taught to them by other men. They wore long robes, decorated with all kinds of ornaments and they would put a golden girdle on the paps and they looked “special,” like great ones and they became popes and bishops and priests. They made as if they were some great ones and it was completely contrary to the Word of God, the Bible. God would not have His people involved in receiving revelation and interpretation from Him to think that they are anyone special or to think they are above anyone else. It is a lie. The truth is that God, in His wisdom, determined to give some understanding to this one or that one in order that they could share those things with others because most people had other occupations and they did not have the time to dig into the Bible like these few others did, so God equipped some to provide the spiritual food to others. We see it with the disciples breaking the “bread” and giving it to the multitudes. It is the process God designed for the dispersal of truth that comes down from above. It starts there. It says in James 1:17:
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
This is an important statement. It is “every good gift.” What is a gift? It is something given to you. Did God give Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego a special gift? He definitely did so. He gave them the gift of knowledge and understanding and of revelation. Their lack of understanding in that area was going to cost them their lives and God gifted or gave them the information they lacked. He gave the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and the interpretation of the dream. It all came down from above.
Remember when the disciples were on the road to Emmaus after Jesus was resurrected. They did not know what had happened. They were walking along with a mysterious stranger who was the Lord Jesus Christ. He began to tell them things written in the Bible and it says in Luke 24:45:
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
If these redeemed sinners listened to Jesus for hour and hours and, yet, they did not understood until He opened their understanding, then it is definite that men can listen to other men for a lifetime and, yet, not come to any understanding unless God above determines to send a gift: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above,” and in the case of the disciples on the road to Emmaus, God gave the gift of understanding.
You know, the Bible does tell us that faith is the gift of God. It says in Ephesians 2:8-9:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
God gives the gift and it is not of works. If it were of works, men will do what comes naturally to them in their pride. They will boast and glory: “Look what I did. Look how I got saved. I accepted Christ.” These things are boasting. They are glorying in something they ought not to glory in because it is not of works. It is not man’s decision. It is not man’s wisdom in accepting Christ by walking down an aisle or getting water baptized. You can add a thousand things to the list, but salvation is not of works: “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.” Again, and again, that is what the Bible says and it also says in John 1:11-13:
He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
We can read those verses and depending upon the condition of our souls, we can come away with completely different understandings. The saved individual sees that we are born again not of the will of the flesh or the will of man, but of God. He understands this to be the consistent theme of the Scriptures.
However, the natural-minded man reads the same verse and he focuses on the part that says, “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to becomes the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name,” and he sees the works of man. So, he says, “Yes, salvation is a gift and it is all of God,” but the natural-minded individuals that profess to be Christian recognize that the Bible says it is a gift and yet they will say, “Yes, but you have to put out your hand and receive the gift.” Do you see how deceitful this is? Do you see how completely dishonest a sinner is when God says something? They will try to find every “nook and cranny” they can to shift things back to their own works. Their work is of “receiving Christ,” and, apparently, they did not read James 1:17 very carefully, where it said, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father.” They did not read John 3:27: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”
You see, God knows the tremendously deceitful nature of man. Man will try and try to bring himself the glory and to put forth that he is some kind of a “great one,” so man looks for the “crack” in the doctrine and he looks for an opportunity to shift the glory from God to himself at every possible turn and, yet, God’s Word is perfect and it covers every base. When man says, “Well, you see, you have to receive Jesus. You have to extend your hand and accept that gift.” God counters that idea in John 3:27: “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven,” and this includes repentance and faith and every good gift that comes from above. A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Even the reception of the gift is itself a gift. It is all a part of the same package. It all comes down from the Father above and if anyone were to be willing to receive it and have his own will taken away and to be humbled and submissive to the things of God, that also is a part of the gift of God that is wrapped up in salvation. God is a jealous God. It is also just the truth of the matter because man does not deserve any credit. He has not earned anything. He has not done the least good thing. If he has, indeed, become saved and he does possess any true understanding of a single verse in the Bible it is only because of what God has given to him and graciously and mercifully granted to one that was dead in trespasses and sins. We were all stinking corpses when it comes to all spiritual things and God has to do all the work of saving and God gets all the glory. It says in 1Corinthians 4:1-2:
Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
Of course, this is exactly what we are talking about in the Book of Daniel. We are talking about the mysteries of God and the revealing of secret things and of the revelation of God. God’s servants are to be stewards of these mysteries because they are the only ones that God gives that knowledge. This is what Jesus responded when His disciples asked Him why He spoke in parables: “Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.” So the corporate church makes it claim to be “true men” and, therefore, stewards of God’s mysteries, but in reality it is only the true elect that are stewards of the mysteries of God and it is required that stewards be faithful. That is why it is so important when God opens up His Word to reveal the mysteries as He has done at this time in history, the people of God must hold onto them because we are called upon to be faithful stewards. So when God opens up these great amounts of information, we are not to just let it go or discount it and turn back from it, but we are to maintain it – that is what a steward does.
Notice that after the Lord moved the Apostle Paul to make that statement, God inspired him to add this in 1Corinthians 4:4:
For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
Paul is saying the same thing that Daniel and Joseph said. The Apostle Paul had many mysteries revealed to him concerning the Gentiles. Much revelation was given to him and if anyone could boast and make himself out to be a “great one,” it would be Paul. If you have ever taken any theology courses, the professors start to talk about the “Pauline Epistles” and how Paul said this and Paul did this and what a brilliant letter Paul wrote to the Romans. To use an expression, it is “enough to make you sick,” because it was not of Paul. Paul did not write the Epistle to the Romans. In fact, at the end of Romans it says that Tertius wrote the letter. Theologians recognize that Tertius was a scribe and he did not write the Book of Romans, but Paul dictated to him. But who dictated to Paul? God did. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” so God wrote Romans, Ephesians and Colossians and all the Epistles. God wrote them all. God gave the revelation.
Paul remembers – even if theologians forget and even if the seminary professors are ignorant of it – that he was the man who stood by when Stephen was stoned to death; he was consenting unto his death and he even held the coats of those that were casting the stones. Paul knew exactly how blind and ignorant he was and how hostile and opposed to the true God of the Bible he had been because God opened his eyes and granted him understanding to see the truth. He then realized that all the things he was praised and esteemed for in Israel when he was a Pharisee in the Jewish religion was nothing but “dung,” as it says in Philippians 3:8: “…and do count them but dung.” And this was because none of it was true and none of it was from God. It was all a man-made religion, a religion of works and a religion of the natural-minded man that tries to decipher the mind of an infinite God and His Word. Paul had been humbled and he was of the same spirit and mind as Daniel and Joseph when he said, “For I know nothing by myself.” Paul did not say this to appear humble, but he is telling us a fact from God. Paul knows nothing of himself. He does not say, “For I know a little,” but he tells us the truth and this is the truth that all God’s people recognize: “For I know nothing by myself.” We do not know the least bit about anything concerning the holy Word of God, the Bible.
Sometimes men make these kind of (humble) statements, but their chests are puffed out when they say, “Well, this is the Word of God and we cannot know,” but the way they approach the Bible it is clear they do not mean a word of what they said. They think they are above the Bible and that they are the ones that are “the pillar and ground of the truth.” Everything revolves around them and their interpretation, but this is not true of the elect of God after He deals with them. God dealt with Paul and God dealt with Daniel and with Joseph. God deals with every true child of God and He first shows them what they are of themselves – we are just like dead Lazarus. We are a dead, stinking corpse that has no ability to see, to hear or to know anything spiritally.
We did not come to 1Corinthians 4 for the verse I just read, but let me get to 1Corinthians 4:6-7:
And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?
Here, we see that word “receive” again. What did the Bible tell us in John 3, verse 27? It said, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.” So the “reception” is part of the gift. Previously when I used to read this verse I would apply it to physical things (and it does have some application to physical things). I would ask what physical thing we have that was not given to us from God, like our physical bodies. Who gave us our physical bodies? Who gave us our color, our race, our size or our gender? Who made us like we are, whether we are born with two legs or without legs or whether we are born with sight or born blind? What we are born with is all given to us. The conception and the birth are given to us, as well as the family and country we are born into and the means within that family. Everything that is given to us in the physical realm is from God. What would the natural-minded person think if we told them that? The unsaved of the world think they are the “great ones” because they are beautiful, handsome and tall or because their eyes are a certain color. They think they are someone special because of something they have received. Again, man has that tendency since the fall to lift himself up: “Look at me. Look how I appear.” Due to circumstances certain individuals have greater intelligence, but where did they get that intelligence? They got it from God above. They get educated and then they get certain jobs with a certain level of income and man thinks it is all of him. And, yet, what does a person have that is not given to him by the Creator? The answer is, “Nothing.” Man in the natural realm constantly glories in the things given to him and in physical things.
I keep referring to the “natural-minded man” and I say this because it is man in his unsaved condition, which represents the majority of mankind. When that person is dead in sin and he is brought into association with the Bible and he begins to learn of the things of God, it works out the same way because he will begin to glory in things he has received. If he has received them, why does he glory? That is the point God is making when He says, “For who maketh thee to differ from another?” If someone is 6’4” and another person is 4’4”, who made that difference? If you possess some spiritual insight or knowledge of the Bible that others do not have, who made that difference? Who made you the one to have that understanding as compared to someone that lacks that understanding? “And what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” Whatever you possess or whatever I possess in increased knowledge is because of the gift of God that comes down from above and we have to admit it. If you did receive a gift from God, why do you glory as if you had not received it? That is the big question. Of course, the true believer could fall into that sin, as well as anyone else, but we will be convicted of it. God will not permit that kind of pride to go on in the life of someone He has saved. He will convict that person: “Who do you think you are? You are nobody special. What would you know?” Then there is humility and that is one of the places where humility is first seen in the child of God – we know that we do not know anything and that it is all from God. God gets the glory and this is what it says in 1Corinthians 1:27-31:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.
Christ is “all in all” to the child of God and we glory in the Lord. Why? It is because the truth is that we have nothing that we should glory in of ourselves. We do not have the slightest thing in which to glory. We cannot glory in what we know because it all comes from God. We cannot glory in any aspect of our salvation. We cannot glory by applying it to ourselves, but the natural man does do that. He perverts the Gospel and he turns it into another gospel, but the Bible says there is no other Gospel. The natural man turns the Gospel of grace into a false gospel of works. Remember that God says that it is the gift of God and not of works, lest any man should boast. That word “boast” is the word “glory.”
That pure and holy Gospel of grace (and grace alone) is twisted, changed and perverted into a works gospel today primarily by their doctrine of “accepting Christ.” Christ did everything, of course, but you need to do a “little bit,” they say. That little bit of work is the stinking fly in the apothecary and it becomes a stinking savour, instead of a holy anointing odor. God hates that and He despises it. He tells us that if we are to glory, we are to glory only in Him. When we do look at Him and we look at the salvation He provided for us, we have much to glory in and to glory means more than just to say, “O, Lord, I glorify thee and I praise you and lift up your name.” But glorying in God is also being a witness, as Daniel told King Nebuchadnezzar: “But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living,” or when Joseph witnessed, “It is not in me: God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace.” They were glorying in God. They were stating the truth which gives God the glory.