Lesson 3

Daniel 2

(Daniel 2, Matthew 24:15)
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Introduction: Last week we discussed the final judgment and how we need to take it seriously. One reason we don't take it seriously is that "judgment" gets lost in reality. What is happening all around us every day is real. We have no doubt about it. The "pleasures of sin" ( Hebrews 11:25) are real, if short-lived. How can we know the final judgment is real? What reason do we have to trust that God has set a time for my judgment and yours? Let's dive into a central prophetic chapter of the Bible to prove to ourselves that God's word about judgment is as real as what happened to you this week!

  1. The Dream


    1. Read Daniel 2:1-4. How important is this dream to King Nebuchadnezzar?


      1. Notice that verse 4 says that they answered "in Aramaic." Were the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers using a "sophisticated language" to make themselves sound more intelligent? Wiser? (It does not appear to be anything like that. At this point in the book of Daniel, the original language changes from Hebrew to Aramaic. Daniel is just signaling us that he is now going to tell the story in the language of the royal court.)


    2. Read Daniel 2:5-7. Now we know why they paid the astrologers the "big bucks" - it is a high risk job! In your opinion, is the King being fair?


      1. What logic is there behind the King's requirement to first tell him the dream? (If you can tell the future, you should be able to tell the past.)


      2. What logic is there to the astrologer's position? (This is beyond our area of expertise - we are interpreters, not dream re-creators. Much different job descriptions.)


  2. The Interpretation Problem


    1. Read Daniel 2:8-9. Does the King sound flexible?


      1. What reason does he give for his requirement? (He thinks they have been making up stuff in the past, and this will reveal who truly can tell the future.)


    2. Read Daniel 2:10-11. What arguments do the astrologers make? (This is an unprecedented, if not illegal requirement (no king has ever asked such a thing), and it is impossible (no human can do this).


      1. If the astrologers are right about this being impossible, what will killing them do for the King? (I think this is part of the point. No human can do this. Kill us, and where are you in learning about your dream?)


    3. Read Daniel 2:12-13. Does this seem fair to you? How would you like to be Daniel and his buddies? How does this compare to the problems in your life?


    4. Read Daniel 2:17-18. What does Daniel do first when he faces a serious problem? (Turns to God.)


      1. How about you?


    5. Read Daniel 2:19-28. Was Daniel tempted to be the only man alive who could tell the King his dream and interpret it? (I'll bet it crossed his mind, but Daniel not only turns to God in time of trouble, he gives God the praise and the credit.)


  3. The Image


    1. Read Daniel 2:31-33. If you were the architect of this image, would you make it this way? What is wrong about the image from an engineering point of view? (The heaviest metals are at the top, not the bottom.)


      1. Last week we discussed having a rock solid foundation. How does this image fare in that regard? (It fails. The "foundation" is a mixture of iron and clay. It is the weakest part of the entire structure.)


    2. Read Daniel 2:34-35. What are the differences between the image and the rock? The image is logically man-made, the rock is not. Humans created the features of the image. Except for the clay in the feet, the image is made of metal - a material assembled by humans. Rocks do not need to be "assembled" and this specific rock was not cut by human hands.)


    3. What do you think all of this means?


      1. What does the rock hitting the feet of the image mean? (This is obviously another judgment story. The design and inventions of humans are destroyed by God who ( Daniel 2:35) becomes a huge mountain and fills the entire earth.)


      2. Why does the rock hit the feet of the image? (Like the house built on the sand, the weak foundation of the image is the target of the rock. It also gives us a sense of the timing of the judgment.)


        1. What significance do you see in the wind (Daniel 2:35) sweeping away the dust of the image "without leaving a trace?" (Everything humans have created on earth will be dust. When you think about the direction and purpose of your life, consider that.)


    4. Let's explore what God says about the dream. Read Daniel 2:36-38. What does the head of gold represent? (Nebuchadnezzar, the King of the Babylonian empire.)


      1. We decided earlier that the image was a human creation. Who does this text say created the power of the King? (God.)


    5. Read Daniel 2:39-40. What does the rest of the image represent? (Succeeding world kingdoms.)


      1. Does this square with our understanding of history? (Yes. After Babylon lost its world dominion, it was followed by the Medo-Persian empire, the Grecian empire and the Roman empire. These essentially dominated the known world during their time.)


    6. Read Daniel 2:41-43. After the Roman empire, has any empire arisen which dominated the world? (Even the extraordinary power of the United States today does not dominate the nations of the world. In major part this is because none of the powerful nations of the world have "empire" ambitions.)


    7. Read Daniel 2:44-45. Do you agree with the conclusion reached by Daniel in the last part of verse 45? (We are obviously living in the "feet and toes" part of the image. We can confirm that God's dream to Nebuchadnezzar accurately forecast world history from Daniel's day (sixth century, B.C.) to our day.)


      1. If we can confirm that all but the very end of the dream has come true, why should we doubt the future "rock and mountain" part of the dream?


    8. A popular view among "Bible scholars" today is that the book of Daniel was written during the days of Antiochus Epiphanes (the 160s B.C.). These scholars, according to the New Bible Commentary, have adopted a view which was first argued by Porphyry, a third century opponent of the Christian faith.)


      1. Arguing that Daniel was written "after the fact" for a great deal (but no all) of the history it predicts (and we can now confirm was correct)is widespread among "Bible scholars." Why is it appropriate for me to challenge the term by putting quotation marks around "Bible scholars?" (Read Matthew 24:15. These so-called "Bible scholars" obviously do not believe Jesus. Jesus attributes the prophecies of the book of Daniel to Daniel, not some pretender who lived 400 years later. Either you believe the Bible or you do not. If you do not believe the Bible then you suffer from "Eve complex" - you have decided that you will be equal to God and you will determine which of God's statements are true for your life.)


    9. If Daniel was correct in his prediction of history up to the present time, what does that logically tell us about the reliability of his prediction of the judgment?


    10. Friend, can you trust the Bible? Are you ready for a coming judgment?


  4. Next week: Daniel 7

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