Ahh. Daniel. He is a character that shines in the darkness. Daniel was among the first group from Judah to be exiled to Jerusalem. He lived during the time of Jeremiah and Ezekiel’s ministry. These prophets didn’t have too many encouraging words about the people of their time! But Daniel and his friends stand in stark contrast. They were faithful, and similar to the way God showed favor to Joseph (Gen 39-41), God showed great favor to Daniel and his friends.
The story recorded in Daniel 1-2 is probably familiar. But don’t let the familiarity steal its wonder! First, God greatly rewarded Daniel’s faithfulness to the law. God wasn’t honoring Daniel’s religious works, God was exalting a heart that strived to stay faithful in and amongst a foreign culture.
But the highlight of this story is God’s revelation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Somehow Nebuchadnezzar realized this wasn’t any ordinary dream, and Daniel’s trust in God’s faithfulness paved the way for God to use Daniel as His ambassador to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon!
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed the future destruction of Babylon and the rise and fall of three subsequent earthly kingdoms. But on a deeper level, the dream revealed the sovereignty and power of God.
This God gave the tyrant-king, Nebuchadnezzar, the dream.
This God gave the faithful, Daniel, the interpretation.
This God would destroy the Babylonian kingdom and all future kingdoms – so that HIS KINGDOM would grow to fill the whole earth and endure forever!
Listen to Daniel’s interpretation…
And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever (Daniel 2:44).
Paul speaks of this same eternal kingdom in today’s reading from 1 Corinthians! Paul cites Jesus’ resurrection as the proof of this eternal kingdom. His resurrection represents the firstfruits (1 Cor. 15:23) – or the first of many others who would one day be raised from the dead. At the end of the age, when all have been resurrected into new life, Paul says…
Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power (1 Corinthians 15:24).
This is the fulfillment of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream! Christ is the stone which destroys all other kingdoms to pieces and grows into a strong mountain which fills the whole earth (Daniel 2:35)! And we are a part of that mountain! Thanks be to God!