God the Rock – Daniel’s Vision

God the Rock – Daniel’s Vision

God the Rock – Daniel’s Vision.

Around 600 BC, Nebuchadnezzar and his huge Babylonian army laid siege to Jerusalem. They surrounded the capital city of Judah and had a stranglehold on everything in Jerusalem… no food, no transportation, no military help. God’s punishment to His Chosen People for their unfaithfulness was to have the Babylonians defeat the people of Jerusalem. The enemy then quickly deported those young men who would serve the king’s court in Babylon. “Only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men, all versed in every branch of learning, gifted with knowledge and good judgment, suited to serve in the royal palace.” (Daniel 1:4). Among these exiled young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.

Upon arrival in Babylon, these faithful Hebrew young men were challenged to fit into the Babylonian culture. The king changed their names to make them change their loyalties. Daniel (“God is my judge”) was changed to Belteshazzar (“Bel, protect my life”); Hananiah (“Yahweh shows grace”) became Shadrach (“Under the command of Aku”); Mishael ((“who is like God?”) was changed to Meshach (“who is like Aku?”); and Azariah (“Yahweh helps”) became Abednego (“servant of Nebo”). The royal palace also tried to change their diets, and they schooled the Hebrews in the Babylonian education. None of these efforts were successful, the four exiles remained faithful to Yahweh. Nothing would make these young men compromise their faith in God. Despite their resistance, their excellence in their work (“ten times more competent” (1:20), these four men rose to prominent places of leadership in Babylon.

Daniel is a central figure in Hebrew history. Deported from Jerusalem to Babylon, he was a young man of high ability, and he kept rising in Babylon’s ladder of success. After interpreting a troubling dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s, Daniel gave all the credit to God in a powerful tribute to the Lord: “Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power. He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though He is surrounded by light. I thank you and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me the wisdom and strength. You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.” (2:20-23, NLT). 

Soon after the arrival of these outstanding Jewish boys, King Nebuchadnezzar started having dreams that troubled his spirit so that he couldn’t sleep at night. These dreams mystified him, and he desperately wanted to understand their meaning. So he brought in all his supposed wise men, his magicians and sorcerers and counselors to interpret this particular dream. They couldn’t help him, and he flew into a rage. Finally the king thought of Daniel, and asked him to come to the king and interpret the dream. There was a lot riding on this assignment… the king declared that he would execute all those who couldn’t interpret the dream. So Daniel asked his three friends to pray for Daniel as he approached the king, that “they request compassion from the God of heaven.” (Dan. 2:17-18).

God answered their prayers, and gave Daniel a vision in the night that solved the mystery of the king’s dream. After giving God all the credit, Daniel immediately was taken to see the king and interpret the troubling dream, saying to the king, “He who reveals mysteries has made known to you now what will take place.” (2:29).

The king’s dream looked like this: There was a gigantic statue, impressive in size and splendor, a truly extraordinary stature that drew the king’s fixed attention. The statue was made of various metals such as gold, silver, bronze, iron and a little clay mixed in. All the statue’s body parts were composed of different metals. And then in the dream, the king continues staring at this statue until a rock, cut out of a mountain, a rock that had no human origin, that was cut out “without human hands,” struck the statue and crushed its feet of iron and clay. And then all at the same time, the statue was completely crushed by this rock, the wind carried away the remining pieces, and there was no trace of the statue that could be found. This rock of destruction then became a great mountain that filled the whole earth.

Through God’s inspiration, Daniel had no trouble interpreting the dream for the king. The statue represented four succeeding powerful earthly kingdoms in all their glory. Each of the four metals represented a different empire, each kingdom that would have its time that would enjoy earthly power and influence: Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. The rock cut out of the mountain represented God, who will establish His eternal kingdom after He leaves these other kingdoms in ruins. The rock will then become a huge mountain that will cover the earth. God’s kingdom on earth, unlike the other kingdoms, will never be destroyed, never dominated by any other earthly power. Daniel tells the king that God is in fact more powerful than any other king on earth. The king had to hear the humbling words that he is not invincible. Despite the current power of the king’s domain, ultimately God’s kingdom will be triumphant over all other kingdoms. Rabbinic tradition states that the triumphant rock in the dream is a picture of the coming Messiah, that the mountain is the messianic rule he will establish over all the earth. It is fascinating to see that God inspired Daniel to speak of events that will occur several centuries beyond his time. Daniel’s interpretation has been accepted as inspired prophetic foreknowledge of future events, and indeed messianic in its message.

Christians believe that the Rock was indeed the Messiah Jesus. Jesus Christ, the “living stone” (1 Peter 2:4), who overpowered all earthly powers through His death and resurrection. After crushing the statue, The Rock has become a mountain of God that is spreading over the world right now. The Christian Chruch, the kingdom of God, has grown into a mighty mountain that fills the earth, just as Daniel predicted 600 years before Christ.