Read Daniel 1 -- 3
Soon after their capture, Daniel and other selected Israelite captives were given new names which would identify them as citizens of Babylon. This was an attempt to remove their identities as children of God. Because they remained loyal to the God of Abraham, they would live as His servants. The king's intent was that these select men be taught to think and live like Babylonians. Their new names would be a constant reminder of the Babylonian gods. Daniel means "God is my Judge," but his Babylonian name Belteshazzar means "Prince of Baal." As Daniel heard his name called day after day, it was intended to remind him that the good times, comfort, self-esteem, and high position he enjoyed in his new society were all the results of him being "the Prince of Baal."
These select Israelites were separated from fellowship with the people of God and given a three-year training course in the customs and language of their new country. Thus Satan attempted to seduce them into the lifestyle of the world. Then, in time, they too would eventually serve in the king's palace (Daniel 1:4). But, the people of God think differently than the people of the world because their lives are God-centered.
In the second year of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, by which his spirit was troubled. . . . the king commanded . . . the Chaldeans, to tell the king (what) his dreams (were). . . . The Chaldeans answered . . . There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's dream (2:1-2,10). But, after Daniel and his friends prayed concerning this secret, he said to the king: Blessed be the Name of God for ever and ever . . . There is a God in Heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known . . . what shall be in the latter days (2:18,20,28).
Daniel revealed to Nebuchadnezzar that the giant image in his dream represented kingdoms that would rule the world during the times of the Gentiles (Luke 21:24). Nebuchadnezzar was represented by the head . . . of fine gold (Daniel 2:32). His breast and his arms of silver symbolized the Medo-Persian Empire, which would become the next dominating world power; this was followed by the Grecian Empire, which was represented by his belly and his thighs of brass. The fourth Empire, his legs of iron, and his feet part of iron and part of clay (2:33), depicted the Roman Empire. It will be revived as the one-world government ruled by the Antichrist. He will be destroyed at the return of Christ, whose Kingdom shall never be destroyed (2:44). Jesus was portrayed as a Stone . . . cut out without (human) hands. . . . and the Stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth (2:34-35).
Babylon and Jerusalem symbolize two diverse loyalties of which Scripture speaks -- two gates, two ways, and two masters. Are we living according to God's Word or the ways of this world? As Jesus said: No man can serve two masters: for . . . he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve (both) God and mammon (material wealth) (Matthew 6:24).
Christ Revealed: As the Stone that smote the image (Daniel 2:35). The Stone is Jesus Christ (Acts 4:11; Eph. 2:20; I Pet. 2:4-8).
Word Studies: 1:4 Children means Young men; 2:1 sleep brake from him means he was unable to sleep; 2:31 terrible means awesome; 3:19 the form of his visage was changed means his facial expression was changed; 3:21 hosen means tunic or undergarments.
Government Officials: Rep. Joe Barton (TX) and Rep. Mark Kirk (IL) · Pray for Gilbert Lindsay, World Wide Printing, printers of Bible Pathway in Russia · Pray for the Bible Pathway International Radio broadcast sponsored by Two to the Lord's Apostles · Country: Algeria (31 million) in North Africa · Major languages: Arabic and French · Authorities have virtually ended all open mission work · 99% Muslim; .5% Roman Catholic/Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Pray that Christ will be seen through you (Philippians 1:20-21).
Optional Reading: Revelation 20
Memory Verse for the Week: II Thessalonians 1:8,10