By J.R. Miller
Dreams have an important place in the Bible. There is no doubt that dreams were really means of divine communication, as in Jacob's ladder, in the dreams of Pharaoh, and in that of Nebuchadnezzar. The account of this dream and its interpretation is very interesting. The king's strange forgetting of it--gave additional opportunity for the glorifying of the true God. Babylon's 'wise men' could not tell the king, what he had forgotten. Then Daniel came.
There is a suggestion in the king's forgetting. Does God never come to us with some revealing, some glimpse of His holiness, some lesson, some vision of truth--which we immediately forget? Some of us forget sermons--before we get home from church! Sometimes we can hardly even remember the minister's text! Sometimes impressions that are vivid and distinct at the time they are made--pass almost entirely from the mind in a little while! The king could not recall any part of the dream which had troubled him so. He demanded of his wise men, that they tell him first what the dream was--and then what it meant. When all his wise men failed to be able to do this, Daniel sent the king word that his God was a revealer of secrets, and that he would make known Nebuchadnezzar's dream. He then told him what the dream was, and afterward made known its message.
Daniel said, "You, O king, are king of kings--unto whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom." The point to be specially noted here--is that all earthly power is from God. He gives it to whoever He will. Kings are appointed to rule for Him and receive their authority from Him. The same is true of all who bear authority, of whatever kind. This gives a sacredness to power, whether it be the parent's, the teacher's, the magistrate's, the overseer's. All human power and authority--is only God's power entrusted. We must use it reverently, in faithfulness, in love.
Napoleon, when he became emperor, took the crown in his own hands and put it on his head, implying that he made himself ruler. Later he learned that power belongs to God; that He puts one down and sets another up.
Daniel proceeded to indicate in detail--the meaning of the vision. "You are the head of gold. And after you shall arise a kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom. And the fourth kingdom shall be as strong as iron, forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things." Thus history ever reads. One kingdom gives place to another. The greatest kingdoms are pushed aside--and thrust down by the less. Not only among nations is this true; we see the same in families and among individuals. The rich of one generation, are the poor of the next. The high in rank today, are forgotten tomorrow. Thrones built by human hands crumble. God can humble the proudest whenever He desires. He can destroy the head of gold; and crush the arms of silver; and break the legs of brass; and demolish the feet of iron and clay! "The snowflakes of Russia humbled Napoleon's pride, and the raindrops at Waterloo sent him into exile!"
Then Daniel went on to describe the element of glory in the vision--the setting up of the kingdom that never should be destroyed. "The God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever!" Right in the midst of the glory of Rome--came Jesus Christ, to set up the kingdom of His Father in this world. This kingdom differed in many ways from those world kingdoms which were pictured in the vision. It was not established by war, by military conquest--but by moral force alone. Christ had no armies of soldiers marching forth with Him to crush opposition. He came not to destroy men's lives--but to save them!
There is a story of an emperor in whose realm, there was a rebellion. Certain of his subjects were in revolt. The emperor was setting out to the scene of the uprising, and said to his nobles, "Come with me and see me destroy those rebels!" But when he reached the province he showed only kindness to those in revolt. He treated them with gentleness and affection. The result was that they laid down their arms--and became his most loyal subjects. His nobles reminded him of his words to them, "Come and see me destroy my enemies!" He replied, "I have destroyed my enemies; I have made them my friends!" This illustrates Christ's conquest--and the way He extends His kingdom. It is set up not by force of arms--but by love; it rules our hearts!
"The God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end--but it will itself endure forever!" Daniel 2:44
There are four things said here about the kingdom of Christ:
First, it never shall be destroyed! The kingdoms of this world have their day--and then cease to be. One destroys another. The strongest earthly kingdom has in it, the elements of decay--clay mingled with its iron--and is thus doomed to destruction! Nothing earthly is indestructible. But the kingdom of Christ shall never be destroyed.
Second, it shall never pass to another king! No one king long occupies any earthly throne. Human life is short, and no hand can long hold the scepter. Even dynasties are short-lived. But Christ is a King out of whose hands the scepter shall never drop; on whose brow the diadem shall never lose its luster!
Third, this kingdom of Christ shall go on conquering--until all earth's kingdom's have submitted to its sway! Unto Christ every knee shall bow--and every tongue shall confess that He is the Lord of all!
Fourth, the kingdom of Christ shall be eternal! When all earth's thrones have crumbled into dust, Christ's throne shall appear in the clouds, shining in glory!
The interpretation of the dream closed in a wonderful picturing of the glorious coming of the kingdom of Christ. "This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands--a rock that broke the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold to pieces. The great God has shown the king what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy!"
The rock was Christ. It came from heaven, from God. Its origin was supernatural, "Not by human hands." It smote the image, and broke in pieces the iron, the clay, the silver, the gold. So shall the kingdom of Christ continue to grow and extend--until it shall fill all the world and absorb all power! Whatever is wrong--shall be broken to pieces; and holiness shall fill all things.
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever!" Revelation 11:15