There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty today regarding the future. People wonder what the future holds in store for them and their families. Today Gary Kent looks at an ancient king’s dream that gives clear, reassuring evidence that God is in control of our world and we have a bright and wonderful future ahead of us as He guides history towards one incredible event.
Hear the amazing story and predictions of a famous war hostage, Daniel the Prophet, who lived in Babylon 2,500 years ago, in our new program: DANIEL 2 – KINGS DREAM.
Are you wondering about where things are headed and what the future holds for you and your family? Well, the Bible gives clear and reassuring evidence that God is in control of our world, and we have a bright and wonderful future ahead of us as He guides history towards one incredible event. Find out all about it in our new program: DANIEL 2 – THE KING’S DREAM.
Sydney is the oldest and biggest Australian city. The Gadigal people of the Eora Nation were the traditional owners of the land now called Sydney. It was first settled by the British in 1788 as a colony of exiled convicts and has grown into one of the world’s most multicultural cities. Today it’s home to over 5 million people who speak over 250 languages. There are 658 suburbs in Sydney, and they cover over 2,500 square kms, making it larger in area than both London and New York.
The city is set on one of the world’s deepest and most stunning harbours and is home to world renowned landmarks like the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s nicknamed ‘The Coat Hanger,’ because of its arch-based design and is the tallest steel arch bridge and the widest long-span bridge in the world. It was finished in 1932 and took 272,000 litres of paint to cover – and that was just the first coat.
Then there’s the spectacular Sydney Opera House with its unique series of gleaming white sail-shaped shells as its roof structure. It was completed in 1973, taking 14 years and 10 thousand construction workers to build, with a final total cost of $102 million – more than 14 times the originally intended price.
Millions of Sydneysiders use the iconic Sydney ferries to travel to various locations around the harbour each year. Ferry routes fan out in multiple directions as the 32 ferries in the network transport their passengers around the harbour.
Sydney is home to the renowned Bondi Beach, the core of Sydney’s alluring beach lifestyle and thriving surf culture. It’s one of the most famous patches of sand in Australia and beyond. Sydney is also home to many world-famous celebrities, politicians and sports people. And it’s a city full of colourful stories that cover virtually every aspect of its life – people, places, and events. Along with these moving and fascinating stories come the urban myths, legends and colourful tales. From panthers living on the outskirts of the city to bodies hidden in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, they fascinate and amuse us – just like the story of the man who kept the people of Sydney safe from lion attacks. Although humorous and a bit ridiculous, the story reminds us that we can face the future without fear – and that’s something we can all do with today.
An amusing little story, or urban myth, tells of a man who walked the streets of Sydney always snapping his fingers. Someone asked him why he was doing it and he replied, ‘To keep the lions away.’ He was reminded that there hadn’t been any lions on the streets of Sydney for a long time. And at that he answered triumphantly, ‘Effective, isn’t it?’
We smile at the methods used by this deluded person dealing with his problem. Yet how many of us are using equally foolish methods in dealing with our own problems and fears – all the while kidding ourselves that they’re effective?
Consider, for example, our preoccupation with the future. It would seem that ingrained in the human mind is a fear of the unknown, an intense desire to know what lies ahead. This is demonstrated by the countless millions in our world today who read and follow astrological forecast columns found in our newspapers, magazines and online.
This method of dealing with the problem of fear and uncertainty concerning the future has made the psychics, the astrologers, the clairvoyants and the fortune-tellers the high priests of our day. Recent research shows that 90% of adults know their star sign or zodiac and about 50% of those believe in their star-sign predictions to some extent. But is this the answer to our need to discover what lies ahead? Or are we merely ‘snapping our fingers’ and deluding ourselves that we are effectively dealing with these ‘lions’?
The psychics, astrologers, clairvoyants and fortune-tellers have failed to adequately provide reliable answers regarding the future of our world. I believe there is a better way, a better way that is clearly demonstrated in the experience of one of the greatest kings this world has known.
Our story unfolds in the land of modern Iraq. Unlike today where the place is in great military and political turmoil, just over 2600 years ago it was firmly under the control of a great warrior-king and powerful leader who ruled an empire known as ancient Babylon. His rule stretched through most of the Middle East and at the time, this was the centre of the world. The king was Nebuchadnezzar, and he reigned from 605BC to 562BC – for 57 years.
One night, King Nebuchadnezzar’s sleep was disturbed by his fears for the future. Nebuchadnezzar was one of the greatest rulers of the ancient world. His power was supreme and unchallenged. His empire covered much of the then-known world, and his capital, Babylon, had become the greatest centre of trade, architecture, art and astronomy of the time. He also built an enormous palace that included the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon which were considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Yet, this night his sleep was troubled as he anxiously contemplated his destiny. As he looked questioningly into the future, he wondered for how long his reign would last, and what the future held in store for him, his family, and his world empire. With his mind preoccupied with the future, the king had a strange dream. When he awoke the next morning, he sensed that the dream had great significance regarding the future, yet he was confused because he couldn’t remember the details of the dream.
As with many people today, astrology and other psychic phenomena dominated the mind and the decisions of King Nebuchadnezzar. Among his court advisers were the world’s leading magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers. The King ‘snapped his fingers’ and these specialists in the field of the occult were summoned to the royal court to recall and interpret the dream. It’s all recorded in the Bible Book of Daniel, chapter 2:
“In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his mind was troubled and he could not sleep. So the king summoned the magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers to tell him what he had dreamed. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, ‘I have a dream that troubles me and I want to know what it means.” Daniel 2:1-3
This fraternity of mystics claimed to have psychic powers and to be in contact with the gods. They claimed to be able to read the stars and to foretell the future. Now the king gave them a unique opportunity to reveal their talents and demonstrate their psychic powers. It was up to them either to prove their claims or expose their deceit.
Well, the hesitant gestures, time wasting, and feeble excuses of these so-called wise men soon indicated to the king that they were frauds. They had to admit that they couldn’t tell the king his dream or its interpretation. They had to confess that astrology didn’t really work.
King Nebuchadnezzar wasn’t used to being messed around. And, furious at being deceived by their claims, he commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be executed.
Now, numbered among the wise and learned elite of the empire was a young Hebrew named Daniel, who worshipped the one true God of heaven. He had been captured by Nebuchadnezzar’s army during his first attack on Jerusalem in 605BC and had been taken as prisoner to Babylon. It was customary for Babylonian kings to select the finest young scholars and the most talented captives and to educate them to serve as advisers in the royal palace.
Although Daniel knew nothing of the events surrounding the king’s dream, the soldiers came for him as well, for he was considered a ‘wise man’. Finding himself under sentence of death, Daniel didn’t despair. He knew that the God of heaven whom he worshipped was well able to reveal both the king’s dream and its meaning.
So, Daniel asked for an audience with the king, and promised him that, given time, he would return with the desired information. Permission was granted, and Daniel and his companions spent much of the night in prayer. God did not fail to hear and answer those prayers. Listen to what the Bible tells us:
“During the night the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision. Then Daniel praised the God of heaven.” Daniel 2:19
Daniel was back at the palace the next morning, prepared to tell the king all that he wanted to know. Immediately Nebuchadnezzar inquired, “Are you able to tell me what I saw in my dream and interpret it?” Daniel 2:26.
Without hesitation, Daniel replied: “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.” Daniel 2:27,28.
There was no hint of boasting in Daniel’s voice as he revealed what God had shown him. He started by pointing out the failure of the astrologers and psychics. He told the king that a knowledge of future events is not to be found in astrology, or in mystic arts of the occult. “But, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” This is the only source of dependable information about the future – the God of heaven. Daniel then proceeded to outline the entire dream. Here it is:
“As you were lying there, O King, your mind turned to things to come, and the revealer of mysteries showed you what is going to happen… You looked, O King, and there before you stood a large statue – an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.” Daniel 2:31
So, Daniel tells the king that his dream centered around a huge statue. Then he proceeds to provide all of the details about this statue:
“The head of the statue was made of pure 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 baked clay.” Daniel 2:32,33
Next, Daniel continues and describes exactly what happens to the statue:
“While you were watching, a rock was cut out, but not by human hands. It struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and smashed them. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, and the silver and gold were broken to pieces … and became like chaff on a threshing-floor. … The wind swept them away without leaving a trace. But the rock that struck the statue became a huge mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:34,35
That’s it. That’s what the king dreamed. The king could hardly contain his excitement as he relived the scene of his dream that only a few hours ago had flooded his mind. That’s exactly what he’d dreamed. It was a giant statue, made of different metals. It had a golden head, and silver arms, and brass thighs, and iron legs and clay feet mixed with iron – and then a giant rock flew out of the sky and smashed it to pieces. And then the wind blew the pieces away and the rock grew until it filled the whole earth.
The king is amazed at the accurate description of his dream. But, now he wants to know what it all means. He impatiently waited for the interpretation.
Daniel began, “This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king… You are that head of gold.” Daniel 2:36, 38
Daniel identified the head of gold as representing Nebuchadnezzar’s magnificent kingdom of Babylon. But the interpretation does not end there, for by this dream God is not only answering Nebuchadnezzar ‘s questions about the future, but yours and mine as well. We will soon learn that this dream, given by God, speaks in a very dramatic way to each of us.
God is here unveiling the future, giving history in advance, by tracing the rise and fall of world powers from Nebuchadnezzar’s day to our time and beyond. Yes, the dream reaches right down through history and finds its climax in the days in which we are living.
Daniel continued, “After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours.” Daniel 2:39 Courageously Daniel informs the king that his golden kingdom is not to last forever, but would one day be overthrown. And so it turned out, for the Medes and Persians, represented in the dream by the chest and arms of silver, defeated the Babylonians in 539 BC and dominated the world political scene for two centuries.
At its height, it encompassed the areas of modern-day Iran, Egypt, Turkey, and parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Persians were the first people to establish regular routes of communication between three continents—Africa, Asia and Europe. They built many new roads and developed the world’s first postal service. But the Persian empire wasn’t to last forever.
Continuing on, Daniel told of a “third kingdom, one of bronze [that would] rule over the whole earth.” Daniel 2:39. The Greeks under the brilliant leadership of Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in the battle of Arbella in 331 BC. Alexander the Great was one of the greatest military geniuses of all time. He managed to conquer, on foot, 20 million subjects in over 3 million square kilometers in something like just 4 years, all by the time he was 32 years old. He appeared completely unstoppable.
The ancient Jewish historian Josephus documented how Alexander the Great knew his destiny as a result of being shown these prophecies of Daniel (Josephus, Antiquities, p244).
However, this third kingdom, represented in the king’s dream by the “belly and thighs of bronze,” was to end and be followed by a fourth kingdom. For Daniel said,
“Finally, there will be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron- for iron breaks and smashes everything- and as iron breaks things to pieces, so it will crush and break all the others.” Daniel 2:40
The Greek empire eventually fell into decline. In 168 BC, the iron monarchy of Rome, a new and rising world power, defeated the Greeks at the Battle of Pydna, and grasped the scepter of world control. This fourth kingdom, represented in the dream by the legs of iron, was the most enduring and extensive of the four world empires.
It was the Romans who ruled the world when Jesus Christ was born. They were indeed an iron empire, more ferocious than any army the world had ever seen, and literally stomped all over Europe and the Middle East, subjecting everything in their path. But even Rome wouldn’t last forever, and it too, would fall.
The king listened spellbound as Daniel opened up the last section of the dream. Here the whole complexion of the dream changed. Amazingly no fifth world empire emerged from the ruins of the Roman Empire, rather,
“Just as you saw that the feet and toes were partly of baked clay and partly of iron, so this will be a divided kingdom . . . so the people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.” Daniel 2:41-43.
Daniel stressed the point of division. Even as iron and clay cannot and will not bind or unite, so the Roman Empire would disintegrate into ten nations which would never be united into a universal empire as Rome once was. The mighty empire of Rome finally collapsed in AD 476, when the Germanic leader Odoacer staged a revolt and deposed the Emperor Romulus Augustulus. The Empire was divided among the Barbarian tribes which developed into the nations of modern Europe – some strong as iron, some weak as clay; but hopelessly divided.
Numerous military leaders, including Napoleon, Kaiser Wilhelm and Hitler, have attempted to unify these nations into a single mighty empire again. However, all these attempts have met with failure, for as the prophecy predicted long ago,
“The people will be a mixture and will not remain united, any more than iron mixes with clay.” Daniel 2:43
God said that nobody would reunite Europe, the Western Roman Empire. And that’s exactly what’s happened and continues to hold true even today. We see a divided and unstable Europe. In 2016, the British people voted to leave the European Union. For the first time ever one of the 28 member nations of the European Union voted to leave. The British decision has unsettled the EU and raised uncertainty about its future. It’s a reminder of how uncertain and divided Europe is.
Daniel then proceeded to the climax of the dream, to the most important part of the prophecy for those of us living in the 2020’s. Here’s what he said,
“In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed… It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever.” Daniel 2:44
God says that in the days of the kings represented by the ten toes of the image – the nations of modern Europe today – He will set up an eternal kingdom to end all earthly kingdoms. This eternal kingdom was represented in the dream by the rock that struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, thus destroying it.
And so, the next great drama on the stage of human history is the second coming of Jesus Christ. “The great God has shown … what will take place in the future. The dream is true and the interpretation is trustworthy.” Daniel 2:45
Here is the true source of knowledge and hope concerning the future. This world is in God’s hands. He is in control. He orders world events. There is a plan and it will not fail, for history proved that “the dream is true and the interpretation trustworthy.”
Four world empires – Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. Every one of them has already come and gone. Then a divided Europe, which is still with us today. You and I are living under the last human governments described in the prophecy. We are living in the toenails of the image. The next great event in this prophecy is the setting up of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus Christ is soon to establish His eternal kingdom – a kingdom that has been made possible through Calvary. Now is the time to pray with the thief who accepted Jesus on the cross, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Why not decide right now to apply that simple method for citizenship in Christ’s everlasting kingdom? Let’s stop ‘snapping our fingers’ and turn to the better way – to Him who is “the way and the truth and the life“. John 14:6.
If you would like to know more about Bible prophecy and what the future holds in store for you and your family, and how to become a citizen in God’s Kingdom, then I would like to recommend the free gift we have for all our viewers today. It’s a booklet called, ‘A King, A Dream, and You.’
This booklet is our gift to you and is absolutely free. I guarantee there are no costs or obligations whatsoever. This booklet will give you a fresh understanding of Bible prophecy and provide you with a new insight into your future, one that is filled with hope. So, don’t miss this wonderful opportunity to receive the gift we have for you today.
If you’ve enjoyed today‘s journey from the streets of Sydney back through the centuries to ancient Babylon, then be sure to join us again next week when we will share another of life’s journeys together. Until then, let’s ask God to guide and direct our future and prepare us for citizenship in His Kingdom. Let’s pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, we thank You for the great prophecies of the Bible that reveal the future and clearly tell us that Jesus is coming soon to establish Your eternal Kingdom. And I thank You that, because of Jesus, all who choose to accept You and follow You can be citizens in that Kingdom as well. We all want to be ready when Jesus comes. Please grant each of us a place in Your Kingdom. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.