The book of Daniel is a book meant for the time of the end. (Daniel 12:9) In this book we find a remarkable dream in Daniel chapter 2. I encourage you to go read the whole chapter. The short version is this. At the time of this dream, the world’s most powerful kingdom was Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of this kingdom who had conquered much of the known world of the time. Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan king, a pagan being someone who doesn’t believe in the one true biblical God. He gets this dream and wants to know its interpretation. He calls for all of his wisest men and asks them to tell him his dream and then give him the interpretation. None of them can do it and so, in typical fashion for ancient kings, orders them all to be killed.
Now Daniel is one of the wise men. The head of the king’s army comes to Daniel’s house to take him away to be killed. After hearing from him the reason, Daniel asks the king for a little time to get the answer from God and the king agrees. After asking his friends to pray, Daniel goes to sleep and God gives him the same dream! The next day, Daniel presents himself to the king, tells him the dream, then gives him the interpretation starting with Daniel 2:36.
Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that he, Nebuchadnezzar, is the head of gold. He describes Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:37 as a king of kings. Babylon was the greatest of ancient kingdoms according to the book of Daniel. The prophet predicted that a kingdom inferior to Babylon would come along and conquer Babylon. In chapter 5 of Daniel we see that the kingdom of Medo-Persia conquers Babylon not through military conquest but through stealth and deception.
The issue throughout the book of Daniel is worship. Who do we worship? Will we worship the one true God or will we compromise with the world? The whole book of Daniel deals with this issue. I also believe that this is the central issue in the book of Revelation as well. I will even go further and say that worship is the main issue in the universe and especially for us who live at the end of earth’s history. Will we worship God exclusively? Will we recognize His sovereignty over us and over the kingdoms of the world? Are we willing to die rather than go against God Almighty?
Consider the following. Daniel 1 has Daniel and his friends refusing to eat impure foods found on the kings table. They risk their life by asking to eat only vegetables and yet God honors their devotion with good health. Daniel 2 has the king receiving this special dream and when the wise men of Babylon are ordered to be killed because they can’t tell the king the dream and give the interpretation. God is glorified when Daniel is given the dream and its interpretation. Daniel 3 has Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego threatened with death in a fiery furnace unless they worship the statue set up by the king. They are willing to die rather than worship another god and God dramatically saves them and testifies to His power over the king. Daniel 4 has Nebuchadnezzar being humbled for seven years, eating grass like a beast of the field and for all intents and purposes having what today we would call a severe mental illness and yet, at the end of seven years when he decides to humble himself before God, gets back into his right mind and has his kingdom restored to him. Again all about worship. Will we worship ourselves or the one true God? Who has ownership over us? God ultimately does but we must also recognize it.
Daniel 6 features Daniel being so blessed by God that the king is thinking of making him number two in the kingdom. Out of jealousy, the other officials try to trap him by using his devotion to God against him. They trick the king into issuing a decree to ban all worship for 30 days except worship directed towards the king. When Daniel is faced with the decision to either worship God and face death or worship the king and go against God and his commandments, Daniel doesn’t even hesitate. Like in Daniel 3, Daniel is saved in a remarkable fashion from the Lions where he had spent the night among them.
I could go on but you get the point. The central issue in Daniel is worship. Who will you worship? The book of Revelation relies heavily on the book of Daniel. There are numerous references to the book of Daniel in Revelation. Revelation also makes it clear what will happen to those who worship the beast and its image… They will ultimately face the second death. Those who remain faithful to God to the end receive eternal life.
Let’s not make the mistake the ancients made. It isn’t a little thing to have divided loyalties. God expects our full allegiance even to the point of death. How committed are you to God?