Daniel Interprets the Dream
Open Your Bible
Daniel 2:25-49, Luke 12:8-12, 1 Corinthians 15:24-27
BY Jen Yokel
It was a matter of life and death. A recurring dream disturbed King Nebuchadnezzar’s sleep night after night. He called for the Babylonian magicians and wise men to explain it, threatening them with execution if no one succeeded, but Daniel, a Judean exile known for his wisdom and dream interpretation, prayed until God revealed the answer. And one day, he made his appointment with the king.
It wasn’t exactly good news.
Each night, the king dreamed of a colossal statue made of various materials, from a solid gold head to iron and clay feet. Suddenly, a stone breaks from a nearby mountain and collides with the statue’s feet, causing it to crumble. The stone then grows into “a great mountain [that] filled the whole earth” (Daniel 2:35).
“Your Majesty, you are king of kings,” Daniel truthfully tells the emperor. “The God of the heavens has given you sovereignty, power, strength, and glory” (Daniel 2:37). But the statue is a grim prediction. Babylon is the head of gold. Other, lesser kingdoms will rise and fall. But God, the heavenly “revealer of mysteries” (v.47), doesn’t leave this kind of power in human hands forever. “The God of the heavens will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed” (v.44).
Daniel is a book full of mysteries and symbolism, politics and miracles. Yet the core truth is hope for an indestructible kingdom built on justice and mercy. Over and over, Daniel’s humility and loyalty to the God of his forefathers is contrasted with the arrogance of kings. Though his gifts made him influential, we don’t see a man tempted to play the power game. You can imagine him walking through the palace, serving royalty, and telling the truth with a homesickness and hope in his heart that whispers, “Someday… Someday, God will make this right.”
Centuries later, Paul, another gifted exile, wrote this from the shadow of the Roman empire: “Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, when he abolishes all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign until he puts all his enemies under his feet” (1Corinthians 15:24–25).
Paul paints a vision of God abolishing any authority that isn’t His, even death’s. Every empire that rises will someday fall. A reign built on violence and power can never truly last before a new ruler comes and tears it apart. But we can trust that God is building a mountain to fill the earth. God’s kingdom has been inaugurated by Jesus’s death and resurrection, because after all, “The last enemy to be abolished is death” (1Corinthians 15:26).
God, revealer of mysteries, shares the kingdom’s secret through Jesus’s life and resurrection. Daniel only had part of the picture, but he still carried confidence in an eternal kingdom—one of peace, laying down your life for your friends, and pledging allegiance to the only King who will reign forever.