The Bible Speaks

12. The Metal Man

The prophet Daniel had an amazing dream given by God that foresaw the entire salvation history of mankind.

01. What event began this amazing story?
Daniel 2:1
One night during the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had such disturbing dreams that he couldn’t sleep.

02. What was the king's immediate request as a result of the dream?
Daniel 2:2-3
2 He called in his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers, and astrologers, and he demanded that they tell him what he had dreamed. As they stood before the king,
3 he said, “I have had a dream that deeply troubles me, and I must know what it means.”

03. What was the king's adviser's (natural) response?
Daniel 2:4, 7
4 Then the astrologers answered the king in Aramaic, “Long live the king! Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.
7 They said again, “Please, Your Majesty. Tell us the dream, and we will tell you what it means.”

04. The king makes an impossible request. What was it?
Daniel 2:5-6
5 But the king said to the astrologers, “I am serious about this. If you don’t tell me what my dream was and what it means, you will be torn limb from limb, and your houses will be turned into heaps of rubble!
6 But if you tell me what I dreamed and what the dream means, I will give you many wonderful gifts and honours. Just tell me the dream and what it means!”

05. Why was the king being so unreasonable?
Daniel 2:9
‘If you don’t tell me the dream, you are doomed.’ So you have conspired to tell me lies, hoping I will change my mind. But tell me the dream, and then I’ll know that you can tell me what it means.”

06. How did the king's adviser's respond to this request?
Daniel 2:10-11
10 The astrologers replied to the king, “No one on earth can tell the king his dream! And no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician, enchanter, or astrologer!
11 The king’s demand is impossible. No one except the gods can tell you your dream, and they do not live here among people.”

07. The king became furious and issued a terrible decree. What was it?
Daniel 2:12-13
12 The king was furious when he heard this, and he ordered that all the wise men of Babylon be executed.
13 And because of the king’s decree, men were sent to find and kill Daniel and his friends.

08. When the kings men came to kill Daniel and his friends, what did Daniel say?
Daniel 2:14-17
14 When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, came to kill them, Daniel handled the situation with wisdom and discretion.
15 He asked Arioch, “Why has the king issued such a harsh decree?” So Arioch told him all that had happened.
16 Daniel went at once to see the king and requested more time to tell the king what the dream meant.
17 Then Daniel went home and told his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah what had happened.

09. How did Daniel and his friends wisely use this time the king had granted them?
Daniel 2:18
18 He urged them to ask the God of heaven to show them his mercy by telling them the secret, so they would not be executed along with the other wise men of Babylon.

10. Did God hear Daniels prayer?
Daniel 2:19
19 That night the secret was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.

11. What did Daniel do when he awoke from the vision ?
Daniel 2:20-23
20 He said,
“Praise the name of God forever and ever,
for he has all wisdom and power.
21 He controls the course of world events;
he removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to the scholars.
22 He reveals deep and mysterious things
and knows what lies hidden in darkness,
though he is surrounded by light.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors,
for you have given me wisdom and strength.
You have told me what we asked of you
and revealed to us what the king demanded.”

12. Who did Daniel give the credit to when he told the king he could reveal the dream?
Daniel 2:26-28
26 The king said to Daniel (also known as Belteshazzar), “Is this true? Can you tell me what my dream was and what it means?”
27 Daniel replied, “There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune-tellers who can reveal the king’s secret.
28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future. Now I will tell you your dream and the visions you saw as you lay on your bed.

13. What was the purpose of the dream?
Daniel 2:29
While Your Majesty was sleeping, you dreamed about coming events. He who reveals secrets has shown you what is going to happen.

14. What was the dream that Daniel revealed to the king?
Daniel 2:31-36
31 In your vision, Your Majesty, you saw standing before you a huge, shining statue of a man. It was a frightening sight.
32 The head of the statue was made of fine gold. Its chest and arms were silver, its belly and thighs were bronze,
33 its legs were iron, and its feet were a combination of iron and baked clay.
34 As you watched, a rock was cut from a mountain, but not by human hands. It struck the feet of iron and clay, smashing them to bits.
35 The whole statue was crushed into small pieces of iron, clay, bronze, silver, and gold. Then the wind blew them away without a trace, like chaff on a threshing floor. But the rock that knocked the statue down became a great mountain that covered the whole earth.
36 That was the dream. Now we will tell the king what it means.

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15. What was the meaning of the dream that Daniel revealed to the king?
Daniel 2:37-45
37 Your Majesty, you are the greatest of kings. The God of heaven has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and honour.
38 He has made you the ruler over all the inhabited world and has put even the wild animals and birds under your control. You are the head of gold.
39 But after your kingdom comes to an end, another kingdom, inferior to yours, will rise to take your place. After that kingdom has fallen, yet a third kingdom, represented by bronze, will rise to rule the world.
40 Following that kingdom, there will be a fourth one, as strong as iron. That kingdom will smash and crush all previous empires, just as iron smashes and crushes everything it strikes.
41 The feet and toes you saw were a combination of iron and baked clay, showing that this kingdom will be divided. Like iron mixed with clay, it will have some of the strength of iron.
42 But while some parts of it will be as strong as iron, other parts will be as weak as clay.
43 This mixture of iron and clay also shows that these kingdoms will try to strengthen themselves by forming alliances with each other through intermarriage. But they will not hold together, just as iron and clay do not mix.
44 During the reigns of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed or conquered. It will crush all these kingdoms into nothingness, and it will stand forever.
45 That is the meaning of the rock cut from the mountain, though not by human hands, that crushed to pieces the statue of iron, bronze, clay, silver, and gold. The great God was showing the king what will happen in the future. The dream is true, and its meaning is certain.

Notes on Daniels interpretation of the dream from a historical perspective:
1. (v 38-39) -
Each of the metallic sections (head, chest, belly and thighs, legs, feet) on the statue represents a king or kingdom that will stand and fall during the history of time.
2. (v39) - As each kingdom rises and falls it will be inferior to the previous kingdom, but superior to the kingdom succeeding it as the metals reduce in value as the kingdoms rise and fall.
3. (v40) - The 4th kingdom will be a particularly strong and vicious kingdom.
4. (v41-42) - The feet and toes of the 5th kingdom is made of of elements from the 4th kingdom (Iron) mixed with a new weaker element (clay) meaning this kingdom will be partly strong and partly weak.
5. (v43) - The 5th kingdom will try to bind politically using family relationships and intermarriage. This effort will fail; the kingdom will stay divided.
6. (v44-45) - During the time of the 5th kingdom, God will setup his own kingdom that will do two things:
a. It will destroy all traces of the 5 kingdoms that went before it and
b. Gods kingdom will stand forever and never be destroyed.

The identification of the 5 kingdoms as agreed upon by modern theologians / historians:
1. 1st Kingdom (v37-38) - Babylon (606 - 539BC) Head of Gold
2. 2nd Kingdom (v39) - Medo-Persia (539 - 331BC) Chest and Arms of Silver
3. 3rd Kingdom (v39) - Greece (331 - 168BC) Belly and Thighs of Bronze
4. 4th Kingdom (v40) - Rome (168BC - 476AD) Legs of Iron
5. 5th Kingdom (v41 - 43) Divided Countries Of Europe (476 - Today) Feet and Toes of Iron and Clay

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Concluding Question
In light of this marvellous prophecy written over 2,500 years ago, shouldn't we be continually praising God with prayer and thanksgiving for his mighty salvation?