2006-07-30 - Daniel
One more point: In much of Daniel, we see God communicating to people through dreams. The question is: does He still do so?
"In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams" (Acts 2:17).
"Does God still use dreams to communicate His will? Certainly He can do so if He pleases, but this isn't His usual approach. God guides His children today by His Holy Spirit as they pray, seek His face, meditate on His Word, and consult with their spiritual leaders. The danger is that our dreams may not come from the Lord. The human subconscious is capable of producing dreams, and Jeremiah 23:25-32 indicates that demonic forces can cause dreams that are Satan's lies and not God's truth. It's dangerous to accept dreams as messengers from the Lord." 1
"have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, 'I had a dream! I had a dream!' How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds? They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name through Baal worship. Let the prophet who has a dream tell his dream, but let the one who has my word speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?" declares the LORD. "Is not my word like fire," declares the LORD, "and like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces?
"Therefore," declares the LORD, "I am against the prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. Yes," declares the LORD, "I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, 'The LORD declares.' Indeed, " I am against those who prophesy false dreams," declares the LORD. "They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least," declares the LORD."
So back to the action ...
Verses 1-3: The young men all moved into governmental service though the actual times and dates are a bit clouded. So, the first section of the book begins with the king having bad nights. The reason was his vivid and intense dreams. The problem wasn't too much rich food. And since most cultures of the day believed in the importance of dreams, the king sent for the government's mystics. Archer introduces the dream this way:
"This remarkable dream, with its disclosure of God's plan for the ages till the final triumph of Christ, was granted Nebuchadnezzar in the second year of his reign (v.1)-i.e., between April 603 and March 602 B.C." 2
Viewing dreams has having great significance wasn't simply superstition. God frequently sent His messages through dreams. This is seen in both the Old and New Testaments. Joseph interpreted dreams for Pharaoh (see Genesis 41). God sent a dream to Joseph regarding the coming birth of Mary's son. What is interesting is that God chooses to speak to unbelievers, when it suits His purposes.
" ... an angel of the Lord appeared to him (Joseph) in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him" (Matthew 1:20-21, 24).
Not only were these dreams vivid, but they were extremely troubling, so much so the king sent for all those who passed themselves off as wise and capable of interpreting them. These included magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers. He probably contacted members of the Babylonian Association of Professional Psychics. In fact it seems the only ones not contacted were Daniel and his friends.
1 Wiersbe, Warren W., The Bible Exposition Commentary, Old Testament,
"The Prophets," Victor Books, Colorado Springs, CO, 1986, p. 257.
To be continued.
Comments or Questions?