This lesson is a distillation and video vignette of parts of the fifth audio-only Daniel lesson.
Click here for the full audio of Daniel lessons (“listen”) and access to class handouts:

Daniel 2:1 says, “Now, in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams, and his spirit was so troubled that his sleep left him. He became an insomniac because of this dream. I might just point out that Nebuchadnezzar, like all of us, probably dreamed all the time. Some people dream a lot. Some people don’t dream very much. I point this out because this dream was not like any other dream he had ever had. This dream was a divine revelation.

Verse two, “Then the King gave the command to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans.” There are four groups here. I’m not going to delineate each one of them, but they were well-known groups in the ancient world. They basically all had skills and capabilities that caused them to be designated as “the wise men.” Did you know where the wise men came from when Jesus was born? They came from here. Do you know how they knew that He was born? They saw His star. One of the things they did was astrology. How did they know that star would be the star that would tell them? Well, there happened to be, 500 years before Christ came, a guy by the name of Daniel who was put over the Wise Men of Babylon. And he instructed them, and they waited, and they passed down that truth from generation to generation until the reality came true. That proved something to us, by the way, that there were believers in Babylon and in that area—what we might call Persia—from the time of Daniel all the way down to the coming of Jesus Christ. How little we know of how great has been the outreach of God throughout our world!

Well, he calls, what we might call his State Department, “So they came and stood before the king. And the king said to them, ‘I’ve had a dream, and my spirit is anxious …’” This expresses, by the way, a tremendous burden of anxiety. “My spirit is anxious to know the dream.” “The Chaldeans spoke to the king in Aramaic.” You might want to just put a little note here: From chapter two, verse four through the end of chapter seven, the whole book is written in Aramaic. The book of Daniel is in two languages. When it starts out in the first chapter, in the first three verses of chapter two, it’s all in Hebrew because it’s dealing with the Hebrews. As soon as it begins dealing with the Chaldeans, it is written in Aramaic. Get to the end of chapter seven, it’s finished with the historical section. It’s now moving into the prophetic section; it’s written in Hebrew again—an interesting little fact.

“They spoke to the King in Aramaic saying, ‘O king, live forever. Tell your servants the dream, and we’ll give the interpretation.’” Now, one thing I have tell you about Nebuchadnezzar: he was an absolutely brilliant man. He was brilliant in many, many areas. He knew and understood many sciences. He was highly educated. He was a phenomenal tactician on the battlefield. It’s one of the reasons why he rose to prominence so quickly in a world where there were mighty powers: Egypt in the south, Assyria in the north, and he rose up and defeated both—a very unique man in history. And, by the way, a man that you’ll meet in Heaven because , as we’re going to see in chapter four, he came to faith in the coming Messiah. Why did he do that? Because God reached out to him here in chapter two.

Verse five, “The King answered and said to the Chaldeans, ‘My decision is firm. If you do not make known the dream to me and its interpretation, you will be cut in pieces and your houses shall be made an ash heap.’” Basically, what they would do in the ancient world is: if a decree like this was given, the people would be slaughtered and their home or their property would be turned into a public latrine. I’ve seen them in Ephesus. I mean, they had to have public facilities in those days, just like we do. A little bit more crude, obviously, but that would be done to the homes and the properties of these people. They would be turned into a dung heap. Check out Ezra 6:11 if you want to see a parallel passage.

Verse six, “However, if you tell the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts, rewards and great honor.” So, gifts, you know, would include privileges, horses, who knows—armor, whatever you might want. Rewards—possibly financial. Honor would include promotion. They have a great opportunity here, but unfortunately, they can’t claim it. “Therefore, tell me the dream and its interpretation.” Now, I mentioned that Nebuchadnezzar was a brilliant guy, and we see it right here. He inherited these guys from his father, as we saw at the beginning of the chapter. How long has he been ruling? Two years. And he inherited all these guys. He’s showing us that he doesn’t trust them. And what he’s doing is putting them to a test. “If you can foretell the future, you also ought to be able to foretell what the dream was. If you’re genuine, prove it.” So, he’s putting them to the test.

They answered in verse seven and said, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will give its interpretation.” The king answered and said, “I know for certain that you would gain time.” I want you to hang on to this idea of “gaining time” because it shows you how God works when He chooses to surround His servants with His hand and with His protection. They want to gain time. But he (Nebuchanezzar) says, “if you do not make known the dream to me, there is only one decree for you! For you have agreed to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the time has changed. In other words, I’ll forget it. It’ll be too late. Itll no longer matter. Whatever time changes, youre just basically stalling. “Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.” If you can interpret the dream, you can also tell me the dream. If you have the supernatural powers that you claim to have, you can do both, right? Pretty smart move on his part!

Verse 10, “The Chaldeans answered the king and said, ‘There is not a man on earth who can tell the king’s matter.’” Now this is true and not true. It’s true in the sense that no man, unaided, could ever do it. They’re recognizing something here, and it’s a point that I want to make to us tonight. When you try to meet spiritual warfare, spiritual conflict, spiritual issues with human wisdom, intelligence, and strength, you will fail. As a matter of fact, I’ll go one step further. If we try to deal with the spiritual issues of life in the strength of the flesh, there’s only one result. You know what it is? It’s death. We’re going to see it down here in verse 13. So, verse 10, “Theres not a man on earth that can tell the matter; therefore no king, lord, or ruler has ever asked such things of any magician, astrologer, or Chaldean. You’re asking something unreasonable.

Verse 11, “It is a difficult thing that the king requests, and there is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods.” Is that true? There’s no other that can tell it except the true God. Nebuchadnezzar believed in many gods. By chapter four, we’re going to find Nebuchadnezzar believing in the one true God. “There is no other who can tell it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Do you know what these guys have essentially said in verses 10 and 11 without really knowing it? Unless God becomes a man, we will never fully understand it. Can you see that? Is that amazing? They’re talking in terms of “gods.” They’re talking in terms of gods working through men. But in essence, they’ve actually hit on the solution to the whole problem.

Verse 12 says, “For this reason the king was angry and very furious, and gave the command to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. Why is this a problem? Because this includes Daniel and his friends. Why were they not consulted? Probably because they had not finished their training. They’re still just in training. They’re not yet even recognized as being fully educated. And so, “the decree went out, verse 13 says, “and they began killing the wise men. I mean, people are already dying—not just them, but their families are dying. You know, the ancient world was very brutal. So, when they began to kill the wise men, they sought Daniel and his companions to put them to death.

This is as far as were going to get tonight. But I want us to get this: Nothing can touch you, but by the permission of Jesus Christ. Daniel and his friends are going to face death over and over again. And it’s one of the reasons that I decided to study Daniel—not only because it follows our study of the Book of Revelation, but because there is no other book in the Bible that can give you and I the instruction that we need, living right now in the days and the time in which we live. Things are becoming exceedingly perilous in our world. This book can give us the answers. And one of the first answers we saw in chapter one is: just be faithful to the Word of God. Just be faithful. If it brings you to the point of threat, better to die faithful than to die unfaithful. But God brought them through in the first chapter. Now we find once again they’re under a death edict. And we’re going to watch Daniel next week as he navigates dealing with a guy who has orders. This is Arioch. We’re going to see Arioch—he’s the head executioner, and he’s come to kill him. He’s under orders from the king. Now, you would think Arioch, being under orders from the king to go out and kill them all, would just say, “Look, no argument. Put your heads on the block and we’re going to chop them off.” Why would he listen to Daniel?

I told you to hold on to the fact that the wise men asked for more time. You know what Daniel does? You can read on from verse 14. Daniel, in verse 16, is the key. “Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time.” Do you know what the king did? He did it! When the wise men asked for it, he said, “No, you’re just stalling.” Daniel and his friends are praying, seeking God’s guidance, trusting that He’s in control and he walks boldly into the king, and says, “Give me time and I’ll solve your problem.” Trusting that God would not let him down, trusting that the God whose promises he knew, which he learned, I believe, at the feet of Jeremiah. You know, Jeremiah was teaching all the way up to that first deportation and even afterwards. There’s no doubt in my mind that Daniel and his three friends had been his top students. They had learned at his feet. They had learned to trust God. They had learned that the promises of God were sure. They knew that God would not allow anything to come into their life that was not for His glory. And, therefore, they were calm. They were in control. They had confidence.

Wouldn’t you like to be able to face this year that’s ahead—which I predict is going to be pretty turbulent—wouldn’t you like to be able to go into this year striding with hope, with confidence, with assurance, with the knowledge that you are here because God chose to put you in this time? He chose to create you, to send you into the world for such a time as this. We don’t need to be recognized; we don’t need to try to get people to look at us or know who we are. It’s far better to be obscure, run under the radar, exercise covert evangelism and covert ministry. You can have that confidence. You can know as a child of God that you can trust the God you serve. You can know that you don’t have to feel up to it, because I can tell you right now, you’re not. You don’t have to wonder if you’re smart enough, because all the intellect in the world—these guys had it, these Chaldeans, these astrologers—they were highly trained, very intelligent. I mean people like this built pyramids. We can’t even replicate such an act today—they were very intelligent people. Human intellect, human strength, human endurance will never, ever be enough to meet the demands of the time in which you and I live.

But you know what? The weakest believer, standing on the firm foundation of the crucifixion of Christ, standing on the promises of the Word of God—if you know one promise, you have enough. If you know Romans 8:28, if you know First Corinthians 10:13 (we could go on and on), you have enough, because it’s not you, it’s Who you believe in. And He is the one who has the wisdom; He is the one who has the power; and He is the one who has the know-how. All we have to do is live in fellowship with Him and let the Spirit of God lead us step by step. Just keep moving forward. Just keep trusting. Keep in prayer. Stay close to those who are fellow believers. They’re your fellow soldiers. Let’s support one another. We will come through just fine!