“As for you, O king, while on your bed your thoughts turned to what would take place in the future; and He who reveals mysteries has made known to you what will take place,” (2:29).
Daniel is a book of mysterious visions. And I find it fascinating that the first vision recorded in Daniel is one that was given to a brutally barbarous and exceedingly egotistical pagan king. Another reminder; God’s ways are so unlike our own. Why God chose to show Nebuchadnezzar His Will for the future escapes me; except that He did use this to elevate His humble and faithful servants who would proclaim the hidden and profound Mysteries of the Only Wise God.
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is troubling and he demands an interpretation from the wisest in his empire. And in order to secure the veracity of his interpreters, he demands they not only interpret the dream, but first recount his dream, costing them their lives and possessions if they are unable to do so. But his wise men know it is an absolute impossibility to carry out the bidding of his ultimatum.
They answered a second time and said, “Let the king tell the dream to his servants, and we will declare the interpretation.” 8 The king replied, “I know for certain that you are bargaining for time, inasmuch as you have seen that the command from me is firm, 9 that if you do not make the dream known to me, there is only one decree for you. For you have agreed together to speak lying and corrupt words before me until the situation is changed; therefore tell me the dream, that I may know that you can declare to me its interpretation.” (2:7-9).
And appealing to reason, they lay out their case for rationality and mercy. No one on earth has ever asked such a thing, and no one on earth could ever satisfy such a request.
The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who could declare the matter for the king, inasmuch as no great king or ruler has ever asked anything like this of any magician, conjurer or Chaldean. 11 Moreover, the thing which the king demands is difficult, and there is no one else who could declare it to the king except gods, whose dwelling place is not with mortal flesh.” (2:10-11).
But Nebuchadnezzar is not much for reason, and in a fit of rage orders that every wise man in Babylon be destroyed. And so they went in search of the four Hebrew youths who had already become known for their wisdom and intelligence.
So the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they looked for Daniel and his friends to kill them, (2:13).
As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams, (Daniel 1:17).
And as we know, Daniel was able to disclose every demand the king ordered, and the king even paid homage to Daniel and seeming deference to Daniel’s God (more on that tomorrow).
Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. 47 The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s court.
And as for the Mystery of the statue interpreted by Daniel, the NIV Study Bible offers further explanation:
“The gold head represents the Neo-Babylonian empire… The silver chest and arms, the Medo-Persian empire established by Cyrus in 539 B.C. … The bronze belly and thighs, the Greek empire established by Alexander the Great c. 330; the iron legs and feet, the Roman empire. The toes (v. 41) are understood by some to represent a latter confederation of states occupying the territory formally controlled by the Roman empire. The diminishing value of the metals from gold to silver to bronze to iron represents the decreasing power and grandeur of the rulers (v. 39) of the successive empires, from the absolute despotism of Nebuchadnezzar to the democratic system of checks and balances that characterized the Roman senates and assemblies. The metals also symbolize a growing degree of toughness and endurance, with each successive empire lasting longer than the preceding one.
The fifth kingdom is the eternal kingdom of God (Rev 11:15), built on the ruins of the sinful empires of the world. Its authority will extend over the whole earth and ultimately over “a new heaven and a new earth (Rev 21:1).”
And as Daniel both conveys and interprets the king’s perplexing vision, he takes no credit; for there is only One Wise God Who Reveals Mysteries.
“However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will take place in the latter days. This was your dream and the visions in your mind while on your bed… 30 But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me for any wisdom residing in me more than in any other living man, but for the purpose of making the interpretation known to the king, and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind,” (2:28, 30).
The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery,” (2:47).
Consider Him, the Only Wise God Who Reveals Mysteries
From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
Mystery: 7328. רַז raz: An Aramaic masculine noun referring to a secret, a mystery. It refers to the meaning of a dream or a vision that is not clear (Dan. 2:18, 19, 27–30). God is recognized as the one who reveals and gives the meaning of mysteries (Dan. 2:47); but may impart that ability to His servants (Dan. 4:9).
Reveal:1541. גְּלָה gelāh, גְּלָא gelāʾ: An Aramaic verb meaning to bring over, to take away (into exile), to reveal. This word is used of those who were deported to Babylonia (Ezra 4:10; 5:12). In the book of Daniel, the meaning is to uncover or to reveal. In the story of the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, God is shown as the One who reveals hidden things, specifically the meanings of dreams (Dan. 2:22, 28, 29, 47).
So many Mysteries are kept secret to our finite understanding. But He is the Only Wise God and He has Revealed Mysteries so that we will be led to obedience of faith.
“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law,” (Deuteronomy 29:29).
Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery which has been kept secret for long ages past, 26 but now is manifested, and by the Scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the eternal God, has been made known to all the nations, leading to obedience of faith; 27 to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, be the glory forever. Amen, (Romans 16:25-27).
The Word of God has Revealed our future through His Mysteries in Jesus Christ:
the Mystery of Israel’s future (Romans 11:25); the Mystery that leads to obedience of the faith (Romans 16:25-27); the Mystery of His hidden wisdom in Christ (1 Corinthians 2:7); the Mystery of the dead being raised to immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50-53); the Mystery of redemption through His blood (Ephesians 1:8-10); the Mystery of being fellow heirs to His promise( Ephesians 3:3-6); the Mystery of Christ and His church (Ephesians 5:31-32); the Mystery of Christ in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:26-27); the Mystery of all the treasures of knowledge and wisdom in Christ (Colossians 2:2-3); the Mystery of godliness revealed in Christ’s birth, death, resurrection and ascension (1 Timothy 3:16).
And at one point in our life, before we trusted Christ, even our need for salvation was a Mystery, until we saw Him in His holiness and recognized the filth of our own sin, and our need for what He alone could do.
For all of us have become like one who is unclean,
And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment;
And all of us wither like a leaf,
And our iniquities, like the wind, take us away, (Isaiah 64:6).
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (Romans 3:23).
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 6:23).
And in His amazing grace, He Revealed the Mystery of His gift of salvation available to all who will place their faith in Jesus Christ and confess Him as our Resurrected Lord and Savior.
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13).
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8).
How do we respond to Him, the Only Wise God Who Reveals Mysteries?
While there remains much that is certainly Mysterious to us, He has Revealed Mysteries of His Eternal Kingdom to strengthen us as we wait for that day.
For the day is coming when Jesus Christ, the Stone the builders rejected, will crush all earthly kingdoms as He establishes His Kingdom in a people who will bear the fruit of His righteousness.
“In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed, and that kingdom will not be left for another people; it will crush and put an end to all these kingdoms, but it will itself endure forever.45 Inasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver and the gold, the great God has made known to the king what will take place in the future; so the dream is true and its interpretation is trustworthy,” (2:44-45).
Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,
‘The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone;
This came about from the Lord,
And it is marvelous in our eyes’?
43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it. 44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust,” (Mathew 21:42-44).
I came away feeling as though we could stay in this chapter for weeks and weeks, and still come up so very short; there is just so very much to consider. But the reasonable response is succinct: holy reverence and fear. For He Reveals Mysteries to those who fear Him.
The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him,
And He will make them know His covenant, (Psalm 25:14).
The Hebrew word fear in this passage in Psalms is actually an adjective form of the noun, fear, describing the overall characteristic of those who are so privileged as to be privy to the secret of the Only Wise God Who Reveals Mysteries.
Today, in our response time, let’s spend some time looking up the verses from references cited regarding His Mysteries as well as verses cited below in the definition of the Hebrew word, fear.
fear: “3374. יִרְאָה yirʾāh: A feminine noun meaning fear. The word usually refers to the fear of God and is viewed as a positive quality. This fear acknowledges God’s good intentions (Ex. 20:20). It will motivate and delight even the Messiah (Isa. 11:2, 3). This fear is produced by God’s Word (Ps. 119:38; Prov. 2:5) and makes a person receptive to wisdom and knowledge (Prov. 1:7; 9:10). It is even identified with wisdom (Job 28:28; Prov. 15:33)… This fear restrains people from sin (Gen. 20:11; Ex. 20:20; Neh. 5:9); gives confidence (Job 4:6; Prov. 14:26); helps rulers and causes judges to act justly (2 Sam. 23:3; 2 Chr. 19:9; Neh. 5:15); results in good sleep (Prov. 19:23); with humility, leads to riches, honor, and life (Prov. 22:4)…” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
Oh, that as we wait for that day when He comes again and fulfills every Mystery of His Kingdom, let us seek to so grow in our holy fear before Him, as those who do not depend upon our own intelligence, but come to Him in faith, knowing Him, the Only Wise God, our Savior, Who Reveals Mysteries to us.
At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. 26 Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight. 27 All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him, (Mathew 11:25-27).