Summary: A look at Daniel chapter 2 where we examine some of the Christian myths about Daniel’s propechies, learn that God is in control and that God answers prayer.
In a cartoon, a man was phoning his pastor during a crisis. With a fraught look, the man asks the minister: "My wife has left me, my kids are on drugs, and my life is falling apart. Can you explain to me the difference between amillennialism, postmillennialism, and premillennialism?"
We have and will be looking at the prophecies of Daniel in the Bible study but there is also lessons that we can learn for our lives in these stories as well. We are going to look at one this morning.
I warned you it was coming, so here it is a Harry Potter illustration – Professor Sibyll Trelawney – Divination teacher. Old fraud, in the story she does make 2 predictions that turn out to be accurate however, most of the time she claims to have known what would happen after it happens and then keeps predicting that Harry will die a horrible death shortly, he doesn’t. Then Harry and Ron don’t ever have time to do their homework, what with playing Quidditch, hunting dark wizards and serving detentions, so when it comes to Divination they simply make it up. They know that Prof. Trelawney likes to predict doom, gloom and death, so they make up as much bad stuff as they can that is going to happen because that’s what the teacher wants to hear. They usually get top marks. Then comes judgement day. In the lastest book, don’t worry I’m not going to tell you who dies or reveal any great plot points. Anyway in the latest book, Professor Trelawney has to face an inspection of her teaching and she is asked to predict something, to demonstrate her second sight. She is unable and is shown to be the fraud she usually is.
That is what King Nebuchadnezzar is doing in the story. Anybody can hear a dream and make up an interpretation which you think the King would like to hear. In fact in the time of Jeremiah this is exactly what happened. God gave Jeremiah a message of doom, destruction and submission to foreign powers. But the other prophets knew that people didn’t want to hear this and so they prophesied resistance, God would be with them and prosperity. They were listened to and believed but they weren’t right. And so Nebuchadnezzar wanted to be sure that what his prophets were telling him was true and not just made up to please him. So he tells them that he will believe them if they can not only interpret his dream but also tell him what it was. Then he will know that they are not frauds. The problem, they are all frauds. They can’t really tell the future and they could guess at what the dream might mean.
Except, that is Daniel, only he has no more clue what the King’s dream was or what it means than anyone else. However, rather than submitting to despair like the rest of the King’s wisemen he does something that none of them do, he prays. And God answers. Daniel is given told not only the dream but also the interpretation as well. Daniel thanks God. He tells the King and all is well. The wisemen are not killed and Daniel rises to power along with his 3 friends.
Ah, the vision. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed of a statue with a head of gold, upper body of silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron and feet of iron and clay. He is told that each different part of the body represents a different empire or kingdom, with Nebuchadnezzar the head of Gold. We are not told what the other Kingdoms are here. However, based on history and the rest of the book, the silver was the Medes, the Bronze the Persians, the Iron the Greeks and the feet of iron and clay the fractured Greek empire after the death of Alexander the Great. If you want to know the details, we covered that in the Bible study last Wednesday. We will be continuing to look at the visions in Bible studies as we not only look at what they mean but what they don’t mean. If you’ve always thought that the Bible teaches that a confederation of 10 nations with the anti-Christ at its head before Christ returns and even identified this empire with either the EU or the UN, then come along to the Bible study and learn why the Bible doesn’t teach that and what the prophecies about the 10 nations and a little horn really refer to. And if you don’t think this is practical good but you’d be amazed at the effect on US foreign policy that wrong interpretations of the visions of Daniel have had. If you thought that the UN or the EU will be the seat of the antichrist and is to be resisted at all cost while the Jewish temple must be rebuilt on its original location in Jerusalem and daily sacrifices could resumed before Christ returns. Well, lets just say it explains certain actions and attitudes.