BOOK OF DANIEL – The Head of Gold

Posted by on May 4, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – The Head of Gold

The Head of Gold.

Right after Daniel reveals the contents of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream he immediately launches into its interpretation. We will take our time in reviewing the verses that detail each facet of those details, for many people have made wrong assumptions as to their interpretation. In Daniel 2:36-38 we read, “This was the dream; now we will tell its interpretation before the king. You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.” (NASB)

Straight away we are faced with trying to decipher the contents of the first two sentences, specifically who is referred to in the first sentence and how does the person fit the title mentioned at the beginning of the second sentence.

The portion of the first sentence we need to consider [contained in verse thirty-six] is where it says, “now we will tell” the interpretation of the dream. Who is the “we” referring to? Several suggestions have been made as to who Daniel was referring to. Some say he used the word “we” to show him humbly acknowledging it was God who gave him the interpretation. It was indeed God who provided the young Jewish man the interpretation but to use the “we” in this context would still fall way short of acknowledging God as the one and only provider of the dream’s interpretation. A more logical and indeed acceptable thought is that Daniel was referring to his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah who collectively had joined Daniel in prayer for God’s deliverance by receiving the interpretation.

The second sentence [contained in verse thirty-seven] that we need to make comment on is when Daniel addresses Nebuchadnezzar, “You, O king, are the king of kings”. Many have argued and indeed been confused with this title which some suggest means that Jesus isn’t the King of kings. To answer this correctly we should take a close look at the context in Scripture. The phrase “king of kings” is used in Scripture six times. Three of those times are used in the Old Testament. In Ezra 7:12 it is applied to Artaxerxes who was the king of Persia. Ezekiel 26:7 and Daniel 2:37 give the title to Nebuchadnezzar. The other three times the expression occurs are in the New Testament, namely, 1 Timothy 6:15; Revelation 17:14 and Revelation 19:16. The first reference refers to God the Father and the same title in both quotes in Revelation refer to Christ, thus showing the triune God-Head. One other fact we should be aware of is that all three expressions used in the Old Testament say “king of kings” while the three in the New Testament state “King of kings and Lord of lords”. So, we can deduce from the above that the expressions used in the Old Testament speak of a human leader who, by God’s authority, had during their lifetime absolute sovereignty over their respective realms. In this case, Artaxerxes being over Persia and Nebuchadnezzar over Babylon. But the distinction of “Lord of lords” is only applied to God and His Son, Jesus Christ. In fact, proof of this is also shown in Deuteronomy 10:17 and Psalm 136:3 where “Lord of lords” is applied to God the Father. Hence, when we see the title “King of kings and Lord of lords” in its application to Christ it means that ultimately all rulers that have ever lived or will live will be conquered and their kingdoms abolished. This also applies to Satan himself.

Nebuchadnezzar was told by Daniel that it was God who had given him all of his power. His power was during his lifetime and was as the supreme ruler on earth. That can be seen by the expression in verse thirty-eight “wherever the sons of men dwell”. Simply put, this described Nebuchadnezzar as being the ruler of the known world during his reign. Everything, by God’s permission, had been given to him in subjection. One final interesting fact is that during the Babylonian New Year Festivals Babylonians would honor the rebirth of the natural world with a multi-day festival called Akitu. Statues of the Babylonian gods were paraded through the streets and rites were enacted to symbolize their victory over the forces of chaos. The Babylonians believed these rituals symbolically cleansed the world, whereby it was recreated by the gods in preparation for the New Year. During one ritual the king was brought before a statue of the god Marduk. He was then stripped of his royal regalia and forced to swear that he had led the city with honor. A high priest would then slap the monarch and drag him by his ears in the hope of making him cry. If royal tears were shed, it was seen as a sign that Marduk was satisfied and had symbolically extended the king’s rule. Some historians have argued that this suggests the Akitu was used by the king as a way of reaffirming his divine power over the people. I mention this fact only in terms of how Nebuchadnezzar may have later tried to claim his power by means of his false god Marduk rather than the true God of heaven. But we are left in no doubt he knew this not to be the case. To ensure Nebuchadnezzar knew his rule was by the sovereign command of God Himself, Daniel reiterates that it was God who had given all that is described in this passage into the king’s hand and that God had caused him to rule over them. It was an indelibly marked lesson to Nebuchadnezzar that he had no authority without God allowing it to be so. Nebuchadnezzar’s dumb, blind and death false god had no involvement in the proceedings.

Nebuchadnezzar ruled for forty-three years and was never defeated. He died an old man, his kingdom being passed to his son. Babylon would later be conquered but the power, the strength, and the glory of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign remained intact during his tenure on the throne. Because of God’s sovereign choice, Daniel was able to tell Nebuchadnezzar that the head of gold that the king saw in his dream represented none other than himself. Think what that meant for a moment. Nebuchadnezzar is fully aware of the contents of the dream and what happens to it. He sees the entire statue crushed to oblivion by the stone mentioned in verse thirty-five. He had just witnessed his own demise. He must have wondered when that time would be. He had no idea at this point he would rule for another three plus decades. As we will see in the next portions of Scripture he was viewing the entire timeframe of the Gentile times and beyond. Indeed, he was also viewing the kingdom of Christ yet to come!