Derek Prince - Nebuchadnezzar's Dream
This is an excerpt from: Why Should We Be Longing for Jesus' Appearing?
I’d like to also just look at a passage in the book of Daniel which describes, I believe, the setting up of Christ’s kingdom. You may remember that in Daniel 2 king Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. His problem was he couldn’t remember his dream. So, he sent for his magicians and soothsayers and wise men and Chaldeans and all the rest who were on his regular payroll. And he said, Now listen fellows, I have a problem. I’ve had a dream and I can’t remember my dream. But I want you to tell me the interpretation. Now they said, That isn’t fair. No king has ever asked that of any Chaldean, magician, soothsayer or astrologer. They said, You tell us the dream and we’ll tell you the interpretation. He said, I know you’re just trying to gain time, but if you can’t tell me the dream you’re all going to be executed. There’s no other sentence. So, amongst the wise men was Daniel.
So the man in charge of the execution squad came to haul off Daniel for execution. And he said, What’s the hurry? They said, The king had a dream and nobody can tell him what his dream was. So everybody is to be executed. Daniel said, Give me a little time, because there is a God in heaven who can answer that. And he said to his three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Pray, brothers. I imagine they spent a pretty fervent night in prayer! And God gave him the answer. And he was able to tell Nebuchadnezzar what he had dreamed. That’s a major miracle, that’s astonishing. He said, In your dream you saw a great image, very high, very impressive. Its head was of gold, its breast and arms were of silver. Its belly and its thighs were of bronze. Its legs were of iron and its feet partly iron and partly clay. And then in your dream you saw something else that came and completely smashed this image to pieces. The language is very strong.
Now, Daniel then interpreted the dream. And the standard interpretation of most Biblical commentators is it was four successive Gentile empires that were to dominate Jerusalem, the land and the people of Israel. And he told Nebuchadnezzar, You’re the head of gold, that's Babylon. After Babylon came the chest and arms of silver, which was Persia. After that came the belly and thighs of bronze which was Alexander the great and the Greek Empire that rose. After him came the empire of iron which undoubtedly was Rome. And then there’s a lot of controversy about the feet, but, it seems to me very clear the feet must be placed at the end of the age because it’s on the feet of the image that destruction comes. And of course, many, many Biblical commentators believe that there will be a ten kingdom confederation in Europe. The ten kings corresponding to the ten toes.
Now that’s speculation, I think it’s reasonable speculation. I’m not saying it’s true. I don’t want to go into that but I just want to read briefly the account of God’s kingdom impacting these Gentile kingdoms. Incidentally, if you think God has a sense of humor, because these are the four great empires that dominated history. For about 500 years, 400 years. And in the sight of man they were tremendously powerful and impressive. But God in His satirical way presented them in the form of a dream. First of all, no reality, just a dream. Second, the man who dreamt about them couldn’t remember his dream. And third, in the dream they were only an image, they weren’t reality. As if God were to say, That’s what I think if Gentile world powers. It’s a dream that he can’t remember and it’s a dream about an image and it’s going to be smashed anyhow. Let’s read this, the little passage where it speaks about what happened.
Chapter 2, verse 31. This is part of Daniel’s interpretation. You, o king, were watching, and behold a great image. This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. You watched while a stone was cut out without hands – this stone is Messiah’s kingdom, you understand? Which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay – that’s the last form of Gentile rule, the feet. And broke them in pieces. It didn’t just gradually adjust the world situation. That’s not the picture, by no means. Nor did they suddenly decide that it would be better to serve the Lord. They’d had their chance and turned it down.
Now listen to the end. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver and the gold – that’s all the material – were crushed together – or crushed at one time and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors. The wind carried them away, so that no trace of them was found: And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. I suggest to you that’s a picture of sudden, total intervention by God that leaves no trace of the existing Gentile world order. It’s totally terminated. And it’s terminated suddenly and violently. Would you agree with that? I don’t think you can interpret that picture any other way.
Now, this is how Daniel continues, just verse 44. This is the end of his interpretation. And in the days of these kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed. And the kingdom shall not be left to other people. It shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms. And it shall stand for ever. That stone that became a mountain is the Messianic kingdom which God is going to set up. Why I’m dwelling on that is, I think we need to see that it’s not the result of some gradual process of Christianizing the world. But it’s going to be a sudden intervention of God that will smash in judgment all the ungodly rulers and kingdoms of the earth. Can you say amen?
You know, it’s important we consent to God’s judgment. Because it’s not going to change Him but it helps us. Now I’ll just turn to one passage in 1 Thessalonians 5. Just after the passage that we read about the Lord coming with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, the trumpet of God. 1 Thessalonians 5:2–3: For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. Unexpected for people who are unprepared, except the children of God. For when they – that’s the people of this world when they say, Peace and safety – or peace and security then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman; and they shall not escape.
So when the world just thinks it’s got everything fixed up nicely, without any nasty interference from God. Or without any obligations to observe His righteous requirements, or to honor His son Jesus Christ. When the world has just got everything fixed, it’s all going to fall apart. Praise God. Then we need to read the next verse. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this day should overtake you as a thief. It shouldn’t catch us unprepared. Let me ask you this. Would it have caught you unprepared before this message tonight? How ready were you, how ready are you?