In Daniel 2:1-14, King Nebuchadnezzar had a bad dream and asked his advisers to tell him: 1.what he dreamed, and 2.what it meant. None of them could, so he ordered them all killed, including Daniel and his friends. After Daniel learns why he had to die (v. 15) he asked the king for time to tell and interpret the dream (v. 16). He then went home and asked his three Hebrew friends to pray with him about this dire situation.
But how come he only calls God “the God of heaven” (v. 18), and not “the God of heaven, and the God of the earth” (Gen. 24:3)? He left that last part off because God used to be known as the God of the earth through Israel. When His people in Israel obeyed Him, they were the head of the earth (Deut. 28:1, 13, 15, 43, 44). But once they got so disobedient God let Nebuchadnezzar conquer them, He made Nebuchadnezzar the “head” of the earth (Dan. 2:37, 38). After that, God didn’t want to be known as the king of the earth, not with an unsaved pagan like that at the helm.
By the way, after Israel became a nation no one nation ruled the world like Egypt did before Israel became a nation. That’s because as far as God was concerned Israel was the head of the nations for 900 years. So he didn’t let any other nation rise over the others for 900 years, until Israel was released from Babylonian captivity. Then God went back to being called “the God of heaven and earth” (Ezra 5:11).
A “night vision” (Dan. 2:19) is a dream (Job 33:14). God gave Daniel a dream to interpret the king’s dream—probably in the same night he was told he must die. And if he was sleeping, that means he was dreaming. Could you sleep if you were about to die? You could if you did what he did. He prayed and then leave it with the Lord (Phil. 4:6, 7). Peace like that, in the dispensation of grace when God isn’t providing miraculous answer to prayer, “passeth all understanding” of unbelievers.
Daniel blessed God that He had the wisdom to know the king’s dream and the might to tell it to Daniel (Dan. 2:20). And he blessed Him before he asked the king if he was right about what he dreamt! That’s like how we can thank God for the Rapture even though it hasn’t happened yet, for God is wise enough to have planned our escape from the Tribulation in the Rapture and mighty enough to accomplish it.
Changing the times (Dan. 2:21) means setting up and removing kings like it says. Antichrist will seek to remove kings and set himself up as king of the world (Dan. 7:25). Daniel’s talking about this because God showed him that the king’s dream had to do with removing and setting up future kings.
When God set up Nebuchadnezzar as the head of the world, “the times of the Gentiles” began (Lu. 21:24), i.e., the times in which Gentile nations rule the world instead of Israel. They will continue until the second coming of Christ (Lu. 21:24, 27) when God will put Israel back in charge of earth.
Would you stick up for the astrologers and soothsayers as Daniel did (Dan. 2:22-24)? His Bible condemned their practices in Israel, but Daniel knew he wasn’t in Israel. He didn’t expect unsaved men to know and do what God said. Think about that the next time you hear a Christian condemn gay marriage and such. We condemn sins like that in believers in church, but we shouldn’t condemn them in unbelievers outside of church. Daniel hoped his lack of condemnation would open their hearts to the gospel, and we should pray the same about homosexuals and other sinners.
The king’s guard falsely claimed credit for finding Daniel (Dan. 2:25-27), but Daniel credited God for interpreting the dream. Notice that he didn’t put God on the spot by mentioning Him before he learned the dream (2:16). He knew God knew the dream, but he didn’t know if God would tell him the dream! That’s how careful we should always be to make sure God always gets all the credit for things, and we get all the blame!
“The latter days” (Dan. 2:28) in this context has to do with the kingdom of heaven on earth (cf. Jer. 30:9). The king went to bed wondering about the future (Dan. 2:29), so God told him about the future!
Video of this sermon is available on YouTube: The Run From the Outhouse – Daniel 2:14-30