"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).

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The Prophecy of Daniel

Lesson Number 9

By Given O. Blakely

Part 2

THE GREAT IMAGE

“ 31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. 32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, 33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.”            

Daniel will first declare the dream itself – the dream the king could by no means remember. God, who had hidden the dream from the king, will cause him to recognize that a true prophet is standing before him. No part of the dream itself will be left out, and no part of it will be obscure. The precision with which Daniel speaks will assure the heart and mind of the king that the meaning he gives is also true.

IMPRESSIVE IN APPEARANCE

“Thou, O king, sawest . . . ”

Intense Interest

There is a certain boldness evident in Daniel’s words. He does not venture an opinion, or suggest what the king might possibly have seen. Something had caught the attention of the king – something in his dream. Other visions read, “You, O king, were watching,” NKJV “You, O king, were looking,” NASB “You looked, O king.” NIV This was not an ordinary dream, but one that had captured the attention of the king. He surveyed the vision God gave to him, looking upon it with interest and intrigue. His consideration was extended, and not brief. Thus Daniel reveals the attitude of the king – how he had regarded the dream. Like the angels, he desired to “look into” what God had made known (1 Pet 1:12). The idea of the text is that Nebuchadnezzar was not passive in his dream, as though something was simply coming to him. He was attempting to go to what he saw, scanning the vision and looking for its details. Daniel will now make known the details that had so intrigued the king, but which he could by no means remember.

A Great Image

“ . . . and behold a great image . . . ” Other versions read, “a single great statue,” NASB “a large statue,” NIV “huge,” NLT and “very large.” NAB The king had not seen a body of people, or a panoramic view of nature. He had seen an exceedingly large statue – the sculpture of a man. It was very large, pulling the attention of the king to itself, rather than its surroundings, being of gigantic dimensions.

Excellent in Brightness

“ . . . This great image, whose brightness was excellent, Other versions read, “whose splendor was excellent,” NKJV “of extraordinary splendor,” NASB and “dazzling statue, awesome in appearance.” NIV The impressive image glistened, and was dazzling in appearance. It was not only large, but awesome in its details. From the standpoint of a man, it was an obvious piece of excellent workmanship. There was a certain beauty and majesty that characterized the statue. The reason for this remarkable brightness will be seen when the various materials of the statue are described. At the first, everything about this image is impressive.

It Stood Before Thee

“ . . . stood before thee . . . ” The image was brought to the king – he did not go to it. It became obvious that God was not showing the king something that was disassociated from his own person. It stood before him, in full view, so he could survey its intricacies.           

In this vivid description, you must remember that this is what the king saw. At this point, Daniel is describing the experience of the king. This is not yet the interpretation. Many of us have heard this account from our youth, and have never been able to forget it. Yet, Nebuchadnezzar, who personally had the dream, and entered zealously into it, could not remember a single detail of that remarkable dream.

The Form Was Terrible

“ . . . and the form thereof was terrible.” Other versions read “its form was awesome,” NKJV “its appearance was frightening,” NRSV “terrifying in appearance,” NAB and “its form sent fear into the heart.” BBE           

The word “terrible” means the image was so large and formidable that it made Nebuchadnezzar afraid. He saw an imposing image that dwarfed his own person. The statue was dominating, and demanded the king’s attention. The terror that fell upon him did not make him try and get away from the statute, but demanded that he peruse it, giving it his whole attention. The sudden appearance of this vast statue – standing before the king by Divine appointment – seized his attention. He did not dare to ignore it.

IMPRESSIVE IN ITS BEGINNING

“This image's head was of fine gold ...” Keep in mind, Daniel is now recounting what the king had already seen in a dream, but was not able to recall. This part of Daniel’s presentation is not new, but will confirm the validity of the revealed interpretation he will also give to the king.           

The image was that of a man, and obviously stands for something that has been, and will be, accomplished by man. The head of this massive statue was made of “fine gold” – that is, pure and unalloyed gold. Other versions read “pure gold,” NIV “the best gold,” BBE and “good gold.” YLT Scripture mentions “fine gold” several times, referring to the purest and very best gold.           

When the tabernacle was build, much of its furniture was overlaid with “pure gold” (Ex 25:11,24; 30:3). The mercy seat, covering the ark of the covenant, was made of “pure gold” – about 3-3/4 by 2-1/4 feet in size (Ex 25:17). The dishes, spoons, covers, and bowls associated with the table of showbread, were also made of “pure gold” (Ex 25:29). The candlestick inside the holy place was made of one solid piece of “pure gold” (Ex 25:31-36), as well as its “tongs and snuffdishes” (Ex 25:38). But these, and other tabernacle items, were very small compared to what Nebuchadnezzar saw.           

When Solomon built the temple, he made its main room “with cypress wood and overlaid it with fine gold” NASB (2 Chron 3:5). He also made the “Most Holy Place,” thirty feet by thirty feet (twenty cubits), and overlaid it with “about twenty-three tons of pure (fine) gold” NLT (2 Chron 23:8). But Nebuchadnezzar did not see a statue with a head “overlaid” with fine gold. Rather the whole head of this massive statue was a solid mass of “fine gold” – something beyond human comprehension.           

We will see that this stands for an unusually impressive beginning.

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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).

 

 

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