There is a God in heaven - To distinguish him from those idols, the works of men's hands; and from the false gods in which the Chaldeans trusted.
In the latter days - A phrase which, in the prophets, generally means the times of the Messiah. God is about to show what shall take place from this time to the latest ages of the world. And the vision most certainly contains a very extensive and consecutive prophecy; which I shall treat more largely at the close of the chapter, giving in the mean time a short exposition.
But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets - One of the principal objects contemplated in all that occurred respecting this dream and its interpretation was, to direct the mind of the monarch to the true God, and to secure the acknowledgment of his supremacy. Hence, it was so ordered that those who were most eminent for wisdom, and who were regarded as the favorites of heaven, were constrained to confess their entire inability to explain the mystery. The way was thus prepared to show that he who “could” do this must be the true God, and must be worthy of adoration and praise. Thus prepared, the mind of the monarch was now directed by this pious Hebrew youth, though a captive, to a truth so momentous and important. His whole training, his modesty and his piety, all were combined to lead him to attribute whatever skill he might evince in so difficult a matter to the true God alone: and we can scarcely conceive of a more sublime object of contemplation than this young man, in the most magnificent court of the world, directing the thoughts of the most mighty monarch that then occupied a throne, to the existence and the perfections of the true God.
And maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar - Margin, “hath made.” The translation in the text is more correct, for it was not true that he had as yet actually made these things known to the king. He had furnished intimations of what was to occur, but he had not yet been permitted to understand their signification.
What shall be in the latter days - Greek ἐπ ̓ ἐσχάτων τῶν ἡμερῶν ep' eschatōn tōn hēmerōn - “in the last days.” Vulgate, in novissimis temporibus - “in the last times.” Chaldee, יומיא באחרית be'achărı̂yth yômayâ' - “in the after days;” or, as Faber expresses it, “in the afterhood of days.” The phrase means what we should express by saying, “hereafter - in future times - in time to come.” This phrase often has special reference to the times of the Messiah, as the last dispensation of things on the earth, or as that under which the affairs of the world will be wound up. Compare the notes at Isaiah 2:2. It does not appear, however, to be used in that sense here, but it denotes merely “future” times. The phrase “the latter days,” therefore, does not exactly convey the sense of the original. It is “future” days rather than “latter” days.
Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed - The phrase “visions of thy head” means conceptions or notions formed by the brain. It would seem from this, that, even in the time of Daniel, the brain was regarded as, in some sense, the organ of thinking, or that “thought” had its seat in the head. We are not to suppose that by the use of these different expressions Daniel meant to describe two things, or to intimate that Nebuchadnezzar had had visions which were distinct. What he saw might be described as a dream or a vision; it, in fact, had the nature of both.
Are these - “These which I now proceed to describe.”
The close application of those Hebrew students under the training of God was richly rewarded. While they made diligent effort to secure knowledge, the Lord gave them heavenly wisdom. The knowledge they gained was of great service to them when brought into strait places. The Lord God of heaven will not supply the deficiencies that result from mental and spiritual indolence. When the human agents shall exercise their faculties to acquire knowledge, to become deep-thinking men; when they, as the greatest witnesses for God and the truth, shall have won in the field of investigation of vital doctrines concerning the salvation of the soul, that glory may be given to the God of heaven as supreme, then even judges and kings will be brought to acknowledge, in the courts of justice, in parliaments and councils, that the God who made the heavens and the earth is the only true and living God, the author of Christianity, the author of all truth, who instituted the seventh-day Sabbath when the foundations of the world were laid, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted together for joy. All nature will bear testimony, as designed, for the illustration of the word of God. FE 374.1
The natural and the spiritual are to be combined in the studies of our schools. The operations of agriculture illustrate the Bible lessons. The laws obeyed by the earth reveal the fact that it is under the masterly power of an infinite God. The same principles run through the spiritual and the natural world. Divorce God and His wisdom from the acquisition of knowledge, and you have a lame, one-sided education, dead to all the saving qualities which give power to man, so that he is incapable of acquiring immortality through faith in Christ. The author of nature is the author of the Bible. Creation and Christianity have one God. All who engage in the acquisition of knowledge should aim to reach the highest round of progress. Let them advance as fast and as far as they can; let their field of study be as broad as their powers can compass, making God their wisdom, clinging to Him who is infinite in knowledge, who can reveal the secrets hidden for ages, who can solve the most difficult problems for minds that believe in Him who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light that no man can approach unto. The living witness for Christ, following on to know the Lord, shall know that his goings forth are prepared as the morning. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” By honesty and industry, with a proper care of the body, applying every power of the mind to the acquisition of knowledge and wisdom in spiritual things, every soul may be complete in Christ, who is the perfect pattern of a complete man. FE 375.1
He who chooses a course of disobedience to God's law is deciding his future destiny; he is sowing to the flesh, earning the wages of sin, even eternal destruction, the opposite of life eternal. Submission to God and obedience to His holy law bring the sure result. “This is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent.” This is a knowledge of such value that no language can describe it; it is of highest worth in this world, and is far-reaching as eternity. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” FE 376.1Read in context »
“The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; but there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days” (Daniel 2:27, 28). The king listens with solemn attention as every particular of the dream is reproduced; and when the interpretation is faithfully given, he feels that he can rely upon it as a divine revelation. SL 36.1
The solemn truths conveyed in this vision of the night made a deep impression on the sovereign's mind, and in humility and awe he fell down and worshiped, saying, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets” (verse 47). SL 36.2Read 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 »