A stone was cut out - The fifth monarchy; the spiritual kingdom of the Lord Jesus, which is to last for ever, and diffuse itself over the whole earth.
Thou sawest - Chaldee, “Thou wast seeing;” that is, thou didst continue to behold, implying that the vision was of somewhat long continuance. It did not appear and then suddenly vanish, but it remained so long that he had an opportunity of careful observation.
Till that a stone was cut out without hands - That is, from a mountain or hill, Daniel 2:45. This idea is expressed in the Latin and the Greek version. The vision appears to have been that of a colossal image “standing on a plain” in the vicinity of a mountain, standing firm, until, by some unseen agency, and in an unaccountable manner, a stone became detached from the mountain, and was made to impinge against it. The margin here is, “which was not in his hands.” The more correct rendering of the Chaldee, however, is that in the text, literally, “a stone was cut out which was not by hands” - בידין bı̂ydayı̂n or perhaps still more accurately, “a stone was cut out which was not in hands,” so that the fact that it was not in or by “hands” refers rather to its not being projected by hands than to the manner of its being detached from the mountain. The essential idea is, that the agency of hands did not appear at all in the case. The stone seemed to be self-moved. It became detached from the mountain, and, as if instinct with life, struck the image and demolished it. The word rendered “stone” (אבן 'eben ) determines nothing as to the “size” of the stone, but the whole statement would seem to imply that it was not of large dimensions. It struck upon “the feet” of the image, and it “became” itself a great mountain Daniel 2:35 - all which would seem to imply that it was at first not large. What increased the astonishment of the monarch was, that a stone of such dimensions should have been adequate to overthrow so gigantic a statue, and to grind it to powder. The points on which it was clearly intended to fix the attention of the monarch, and which made the vision so significant and remarkable, were these:
(a) the colossal size and firmness of the image;
(b) the fact that a stone, not of large size, should be seen to be selfdetached from the mountain, and to move against the image;
(c) the fact that it should completely demolish and pulverize the colossal figure; and
(d) the fact that then this stone of inconsiderable size should be itself mysteriously augmented until it filled the world.
It should be added, that the vision appears not to have been that of a stone detached from the side of a hill, and rolling down the mountain by the force of gravitation, but that of a stone detached, and then moving off toward the image as if it had been thrown from a hand, though the hand was unseen. This would very strikingly and appropriately express the idea of something, apparently small in its origin, that was impelled by a cause that was unseen, and that bore with mighty force upon an object of colossal magnitude, by an agency that could not be explained by the causes that usually operate. For the application and pertinency of this, see the notes at Daniel 2:44-45.
Which smote the image upon his feet - The word here used (מחא mechâ' ) means, to “strike,” to “smite,” without reference to the question whether it is a single blow, or whether the blow is often repeated. The Hebrew word (מחא mâchâ' ) is uniformly used as refering to “the clapping of the hands;” that is, smiting them together, Psalm 98:8; Isaiah 55:12; Ezekiel 25:6. The Chaldee word is used only here and in Daniel 2:35, referring to the smiting of the image, and in Daniel 4:35 (32), where it is rendered “stay” - “none can stay his hand.” The connection here, and the whole statement, would seem to demand the sense of a continued or prolonged smiting, or of repeated blows, rather than a single concussion. The great image was not only thrown down, but there was a subsequent process of “comminution,” independent of what would have been produced by the fall. A fall would only have broken it into large blocks or fragments; but this continued smiting reduced it to powder. This would imply, therefore, not only a single shock, or violent blow, but some cause continuing to operate until what had been overthrown was effectually destroyed, like a vast image reduced to impalpable powder. The “first concussion” on the feet made it certain that the colossal frame would fall; but there was a longer process necessary before the whole effect should be accomplished. Compare the notes at Daniel 2:44-45.
And brake them to pieces - In Daniel 2:35, the idea is, “they became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors.” The meaning is not that the image was broken to “fragments,” but that it was “beaten fine” - reduced to powder - so that it might be scattered by the wind. This is the sense of the Chaldee word (דקק deqaq ), and of the Hebrew word also (דקק dâqaq ). See Exodus 32:20: “And he took the calf which they had made, and burned it in the fire, and ground it to powder.” Deuteronomy 9:21: “and I took your sin, the calf which ye had made, and burnt it with fire, and stamped it, and ground it very small, even until it was as small as dust.” Isaiah 41:15: “thou shalt thresh the mountains and “beat them small,” and shalt make the hills as chaff.” 2 Kings 23:15: “he burnt the high place, and “stamped” it “small” to powder.” 2 Chronicles 34:4: “and they brake down the altars, etc., and “made dust” of them, and strewed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.” Compare Exodus 30:36; 2 Chronicles 34:7; 2 Kings 23:6. From these passages it is clear that the general meaning of the word is that of reducing anything to fine dust or powder, so that it may be easily blown about by the wind.
This chapter is based on Daniel 3.
The dream of the great image, opening before Nebuchadnezzar events reaching to the close of time, had been given that he might understand the part he was to act in the world's history, and the relation that his kingdom should sustain to the kingdom of heaven. In the interpretation of the dream, he had been plainly instructed regarding the establishment of God's everlasting kingdom. “In the days of these kings,” Daniel had declared, “shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.... The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel 2:44, 45. PK 503.1Read in context »
A most interesting and important history is given in Daniel 2. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, dreamed a dream which he could not bring to his remembrance when he awoke. “Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans,” those whom he had exalted and upon whom he depended, and, relating the circumstances, demanded that they should tell him the dream. The wise men stood before the king in terror; for they had no ray of light in regard to his dream. They could only say, “O king, live forever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” “The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses made a dunghill. But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.” Still the wise men returned the same answer, “Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it.” FE 410.1
Nebuchadnezzar began to see that the men whom he trusted to reveal mysteries through their boasted wisdom, failed him in his great perplexity, and he said, “I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation thereof. The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king's matter.... It is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there in none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.” Then was the king “angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.” FE 410.2
Hearing of this decree, “Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: that they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret.” The Spirit of the Lord rested upon Daniel and his fellows, and the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. As he related the facts, the dream came fresh to the king's mind, and the interpretation was given, showing the remarkable events that were to transpire in prophetic history. FE 411.1Read in context »
Bengel's writings have been spread throughout Christendom. His views of prophecy were quite generally received in his own state of Wurttemberg, and to some extent in other parts of Germany. The movement continued after his death, and the advent message was heard in Germany at the same time that it was attracting attention in other lands. At an early date some of the believers went to Russia and there formed colonies, and the faith of Christ's soon coming is still held by the German churches of that country. GC 364.1
The light shone also in France and Switzerland. At Geneva where Farel and Calvin had spread the truth of the Reformation, Gaussen preached the message of the second advent. While a student at school, Gaussen had encountered that spirit of rationalism which pervaded all Europe during the latter part of the eighteenth and the opening of the nineteenth century; and when he entered the ministry he was not only ignorant of true faith, but inclined to skepticism. In his youth he had become interested in the study of prophecy. After reading Rollin's Ancient History, his attention was called to the second chapter of Daniel, and he was struck with the wonderful exactness with which the prophecy had been fulfilled, as seen in the historian's record. Here was a testimony to the inspiration of the Scriptures, which served as an anchor to him amid the perils of later years. He could not rest satisfied with the teachings of rationalism, and in studying the Bible and searching for clearer light he was, after a time, led to a positive faith. GC 364.2
As he pursued his investigation of the prophecies he arrived at the belief that the coming of the Lord was at hand. Impressed with the solemnity and importance of this great truth, he desired to bring it before the people; but the popular belief that the prophecies of Daniel are mysteries and cannot be understood was a serious obstacle in his way. He finally determined—as Farel had done before him in evangelizing Geneva—to begin with the children, through whom he hoped to interest the parents. GC 364.3Read in context »
This chapter is based on Daniel 2.
Soon after Daniel and his companions entered the service of the king of Babylon, events occurred that revealed to an idolatrous nation the power and faithfulness of the God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar had a remarkable dream, by which “his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.” But although the king's mind was deeply impressed, he found it impossible, when he awoke, to recall the particulars. PK 491.1Read in context »