The Lord had protected Daniel through many trying times. Would the God of Israel now save him from certain death at the hands of an angry king? Daniel was not certain, but he at least wanted enough time to pray and ask the Lord to intervene; perhaps God would reveal the dream and its interpretation and let him live. Nebuchadnezzar also wanted it revealed, so he relented and allowed a temporary reprieve. After all, a dead prophet couldn’t tell him anything, but maybe this live one could—if he was given enough time.
Daniel immediately went back to his companions, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, and together they began to pray for God’s mercy. The Lord’s answer didn’t take long, for the Bible tells us in the very next verse that
“…then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision”.
The Lord actually caused Daniel that very night to dream the same dream that Nebuchadnezzar had experienced several nights before. With this, he could return to the king and not only describe the details of his vision, but also tell him exactly what it meant. This is what Daniel said to Nebuchadnezzar the following day:
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee, and the form of it was terrible.
“This image’s head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of bronze,
“Its legs of iron, its feet part of iron and part of clay.
“Thou sawest until a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces.
“Then were the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; 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.”
The First Three Great Empires
Dreams have always held a place of wonder and curiosity in the thoughts of man. The number of books that have been written, and the amount of money that has been made on the significance of dreams must be enormous. However, if any dream is important enough to demand our full attention it is this one. Believe it or not, in one short paragraph Daniel literally revealed the secrets of present and future world history! Not only did he put his own generation on the map of God’s master plan, but he also plotted the rise and fall of every major empire that would affect the Jews from his day up until the time of the Second Coming. In the symbolic terms of a nightmarish dream, the Lord caused Daniel to figuratively see the consecutive rise of four major world powers. Some of these empires were not going to come on the scene for centuries after Daniel’s death, yet the Lord knew how important this information would be for his people to understand in future generations…[more]