Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 4 * BOOK 80
DANIEL – PART I – 4
Daniel 1:1 – 2:39
Okay, good to see everybody back again for another half hour. We’re going to pick right up where we left off in Daniel chapter 2, and we’re going to jump in at verse 31. Again, we want to thank our television audience for all of your prayers, your gifts, your letters, and everything. My, we just can’t do it without you. We just trust that you’re sharing these things with your friends and relatives to get them interested in studying the Word of God on their own. That’s my whole premise. It is to get people into the Book.
All right, we’re going to go right on and pick up where we left off in verse 31of Daniel chapter 2. And again, for a quick review, remember that Daniel is primarily a prophecy concerning the coming Gentile empires beginning with Nebuchadnezzar who was the first real world-empire dictator. Now there were other kingdoms ahead of them, of course. But Nebuchadnezzar was really the first great world empire builder and a total, total despotic dictator.
All right, this Nebuchadnezzar has had a dream. And Daniel has been able, by God’s help, to recover the dream. Now he’s going to explain the interpretation. What did it mean? All right, verse 31, and Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar:
“Thou, O King, sawest, (in his dream) and behold a great image. (in other words, the likeness of a man) This great image, whose brightness was excellent, (or frightening—some translations put) stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.” And again, frightening, beyond human comprehension. Now he’s beginning to explain the dream.
“This image’s head was of fine gold, (Now that’s why we know it’s a depiction of a human likeness.) his breast (or his chest and shoulders) and his arms of silver, his belly (or the abdomen down to the upper thigh) and his thighs of brass, 33. His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay (were made up of a mixture of iron and clay).”
All right, now we’re going to just briefly—and I’ll go back and put it on the board. Here we’ve got a head of gold, a chest of silver, a belly of brass, legs of iron, and feet of iron and clay. Now those of you who know anything about chemistry—what are the specific gravities of these various metals? Well, gold is the heaviest. Silver is the next. Brass is the next. Iron is the next. And iron and the clay is the lightest of all. So right off the bat, if you’ll use your thinking cap, what is the balance of that makeup? It’s top-heavy. Exactly what I wanted to hear. It’s top-heavy. The highest specific gravity, gold, is at the top and the lowest is down here.
All right, now all of this is just sort of an inimical figure that God is showing. And in the progression of these Gentile empires that have already been established by history, they were just exactly that. They were top-heavy. We’re going to see the reason for that—that when Christ returns and destroys these Gentile empires; which, by the way, are already back on the world again tonight.
All these original empires—Babylon is present-day Iraq—the very center of the news. The Medes and the Persians were the next empire. And Iran is in the news and Syria. And then came the Greek Empire, which was, again, predominately by a Syrian general. And then the Roman Empire, which is our Revived European Community. It’s all back in the news every day. But I’m running ahead of myself. Back up now to verse 34. After seeing this likeness of a man with all of these metals, he says in, your dream you looked at that image until:
“Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands,…” Well, now if you remember, about a year or two ago I did a whole series of programs on the Stone of Scripture. Remember those? How that all through Scripture, from Exodus through the Book of Revelation, God the Son, Jesus Christ, is depicted as a Stone of one sort or another. He was the Rock that Moses smote. He was considered the Corner Stone of Israel. He’s considered the Head Stone of the corner. All through Scripture you have these references to Christ as a Stone or a Rock.
Well, in Daniel’s vision then, or in Nebuchadnezzar’s vision, rather. Daniel interrupts it. After he sees this humongous likeness of a man with gold, silver, brass, iron, and so forth, there came something from a non-human concept—without hands. It had nothing to do with man’s power or whatever. So it had to be the Stone of Scripture—God the Son, Jesus Christ.
“…which smote the image upon his feet (Now all of this is pertinent. He doesn’t smite it on the head. He smites it on its feet. So Daniel says–) you saw a stone cut out without hands (which is the Second Coming of Christ) which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces.” Just crushes it. All right, now if you’ve got a little imagination at all, if you can see this top-heavy image suddenly stricken by a rolling boulder that hits it on its feet, what happens to it? Well, it tips over. And as that stone rolls over that tipped-over statue, or likeness of a man, what happens? It’s ground to powder. All right, now get that all in your imagination, because that’s what we’re drawing here. All right, “You saw a stone cut out without hands. It smote the image upon his feet, which were made of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces.” All right, now here’s what happened to the rest of it.
“Then was the iron, (the legs) the clay, the brass (the belly area) the silver, (the chest area) and (finally) the gold, (the head) broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors;…”
Now we aren’t as acquainted with threshing floors as we are John Deere combines. Isn’t that right? When you see that old combine going across the wheat field, what trails behind it? A cloud of dust and chaff. Well, where’s the grain? Up in the tank. It’s saved. All right, now the likeness here is that the ancient Jews, or whoever would use the threshing floor, would pour that grain from an elevated place and let the wind take the chaff and the dust away, just like a combine does today. All right, that’s what would happen to the residue of these empires.
Now we’re going to come to that as we go through the afternoon. That as those empires rise and fall, at Christ’s Second Coming they will all be evident. And they are today. My goodness, I’ve gone through this more than once. The Babylonian Empire—what was it known for initiating way back in 600 B.C.? Banking—all of the world’s banking goes back to the Babylonian bankers. That was where it first began, the system of banking.
All right, the next big empire was the Medes and the Persians. Well, to this day what is one of the most high-priced commodities in the Middle East? Well, I can’t even say oil now, the way it dropped. I was going to say except oil. But what’s one of the highest priced commodities that come out of Persia? Rugs! My, if you see a little Persian rug that’s just nothing, it’ll cost several hundred dollars—still today. All right, that’s been their commodity for centuries. They are known of their beautiful Persian rugs and so forth.
All right, then the next empire was Greek. What came predominately out of the Greek empire? Architecture, with their beautiful capitals, you know, and the columns and all that. And literature. That all began in the Greek Empire.
All right, then comes the Roman Empire. And what’s the Roman Empire the precipitator of? Courts of law. Rome was the first empire that declared a man was innocent until he was proven guilty. You didn’t know that, did you?
All right, that was all the beginning, then, of what we now call Western Civilization. And it’s with us full-scale again today. The whole world’s banking system ties right back to Ancient Babylon. The whole carpet industry of the Middle East goes all the way back to the Medes and the Persians. All of our architecture and all of our literature and the classics and so forth go back to the Greek Empire. And our whole system of law and courts and human rights had its beginnings in the Roman Empire. And they are all evident today.
And we’re getting ready, now, for the return of Christ. And again, as they all stand with all of their pomp and their circumstance and their power and their corruption, when Christ returns He’ll destroy every bit of it. Every vestige of it will be blown away like the chaff of a thresher’s floor. That’s the beauty of prophecy.
All right, let’s come back to verse 36, and we’ll detail it even a little closer. Verse 36, now Daniel says to Nebuchadnezzar:
“That’s the dream; (That’s what you saw. You saw this huge likeness of a human being.) and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.” And here it comes, verse 37:
“Thou, O king, art a king of kings:…” Now, like I mentioned earlier, there had been previous little tribal empires. Nimrod, of course, began in that same area way back in Genesis chapter 10. So there have been other little tribal empires, but there had never been a world empire under one man like the Babylonian. It was the first of the great Gentile empires.
In fact, Israel under David and Solomon had a greater empire probably than even Nebuchadnezzar. But of the Gentile world, Nebuchadnezzar was the very first. All right, so reading in verse 37 again:
“Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven (Remember what I said in the last half hour? God puts them in. He takes them out. Even to our present day there is not a head of government that isn’t there by God’s design.) hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.”
Now, how many people realize what a glorious kingdom Nebuchadnezzar had? At 600 years before Christ, the city wall was so wide that four sets of chariots could go side-by-side around the top of that wall. The hanging gardens of Babylon were one of the wonders of the ancient world. There was nothing that ol’ Nebuchadnezzar could not bring into being, because he taxed the masses for everything they had, and he spent it for the beauty of the city of Babylon. So, it was a gorgeous city. Verse 38:
“And wheresoever the children of men dwell,…” Now again, we have to be careful. The then-known world was pretty much centered around Israel, the Mediterranean, and on out beyond the Euphrates, and maybe toward the western fringes of India and China. That was the then-known world. That’s all. Nothing was known yet of the Western Hemisphere. Nothing was really known of the Far East. The then-known world was centered right there.
In fact, I just drew it on a map for one of my Oklahoma classes the other night. When we speak of these kingdoms in the Middle East, it was just that area within a few miles of the Mediterranean Sea and then on out past present day Iran and Iraq. That was the then-known world. And at this time, ol’ Nebuchadnezzar was in control of all of it. He had the then-known world under his thumb. All right, you have everything.
“And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made (Watch the language. Who made him? God did. God gave to Nebuchadnezzar the wherewithal to be–) thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.” Everything in that then-known world was under one man’s control. Consequently, he was that head of gold of the statue. He was the first great Gentile Empire. Verse 39:
“And after thee…” Because we know the Babylonian Empire didn’t last all that long. I think if I remember right, about 150 years. That’s not long in terms of history. And what happened? Well, at the drunken feast of his grandson, which was a generation or two later, the Medes and Persians, with a little more technology, dammed up the Euphrates River that ran through Babylon. They dammed it up, bypassed the city, and their armies walked in on the dry riverbed and caught the Babylonians totally by surprise. So their great big city wall was all for nothing. All right, so Daniel tells Nebuchadnezzar that after you have come and gone–
“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee,…” Now doesn’t that shock you? How can an inferior kingdom defeat a superior one? Well, they weren’t inferior militarily. They had to be superior. But in which way were they inferior? Politically. Because now we know from history that the Medes and the Persians were two kingdoms that came together, but they kept their authority divided.
Now what’s more inept than a committee? Isn’t that about right? What can one man do that a committee can never get done? All he has to do is speak it, and it’s done. A committee can sit there and argue for months on end. All right, now that’s the progress, then, of these various metals. Even though militarily each succeeding empire is far superior, or they wouldn’t have been able to whip them, politically they got weaker—because more and more people got involved in government. That’s the whole concept here.
Now keep that in mind as we come down. If I was a good artist, I’d go to the blackboard. But you know, I keep thinking all the time—I’ve got to share this with my whole T.V. audience. Way back in the late ‘80s I was teaching this to one of my classes in Oklahoma, and I was using the blackboard. Well, I knew that I couldn’t draw. But I wanted to put something up there that at least had some kind of a concept of a man. So I just used a stick-man. Just a stick with a head, legs, you know—as simple as I could make it.
Well, don’t you know, that was a night that one of my regular attendees brought a friend who had never ever heard anything from the Book. He told me about it years later after he’d become a believer and one of my best students, even to this day. And he said, “Les, do you remember the first time I came to your class?” And I said, “Well, vaguely, but why?” He said, “You remember you had that stupid stick man on the board? We got to the car and I said to my friend. Pat, what in the world did you drag me into? I never heard of anything so stupid in all my life.” And she said, “Just settle down and come back with me next week, and in a few weeks you’ll understand.” He said, “I did. And I did.”
And he has become an avid, avid student and testimony of God’s Grace. So I kind of cringe from going to the board and doing something like that, because I’m afraid someone else will happen to tune in and think, what in the world is he talking about? But anyway, for now I’m just going to do it verbally, and maybe I’ll get to the board if I get a lot of courage.
“And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, (Which we now know from history was the Medes and the Persians, or the silver part of the image.) and another third kingdom of brass, (the belly area) which shall bear rule over all the earth.”
Now as time goes by—each one of these empires lasts from 150 or 200 years, leading all the way up to the Roman Empire at about 50 or 60 B.C. going on into A.D. 300—each succeeding empire conquered more territory. In other words, the Medes and the Persians not only took over what Nebuchadnezzar had, but they expanded, especially to the west. Now here again, all of this is indicative that God, in the foreordained plan of things, went from the Middle East west rather than east.
Now think about that. Everything that has been taking place since ancient Babylon, the big push of civilization and technology and all these things, has been to the west. Not to the east. The East is still steeped in the pagan ancient religions. They have very little. Now China, of course, has the underground church. I’ll never take that away from them. But by-and-large, India, Pakistan, China, where are they? They’re still under those ancient eastern religions which all had their roots back at the Tower of Babel.
But beginning with these empires, the big push was to the west. First Syria, and then when Alexander the Great came on the scene, it became the Greek Empire. And then what was the fourth one? Rome, further west yet. And then Rome, of course, extended their empire as far west as Great Britain and Ireland and so forth. So always remember that God in His design of things saw fit to send Christianity to the west rather than to the east.
In fact, I’ve got another of that very same thing. I hope I can find it. I didn’t plan to do this, but come back with me to the Book of Acts. As Paul and Barnabas began their work leaving Antioch in Syria, they went west. First, of course, over to Cyprus, and then they went on up into what is present day Turkey. And then we find that on the Second Missionary Journey they had again gone through Turkey and had gone all the way to the Aegean Sea. And then we come to the place where—did you find it? Sixteen, okay, I’m not quite there yet. All right, in chapter 16, yeah, chapter 16, they’re on the western coast of Turkey. They’re on the shore of the Aegean Sea. Greece is just across to the west. All right, now as he had made that trek the length of Turkey, he was going to go up north a little ways and then swing back through Northern Turkey, through the shores of the Black Sea and go back to Antioch in Syria.
But, a miracle happened. Now let’s pick it up. I’ve got time. Acts chapter 16—I still haven’t got it, Jerry. No. I want it where the Holy Spirit told them they had to go back across the Sea to Europe. Okay, okay, now we’ve finally got it. Sorry about that for all of you on television, but that’s part of Les Feldick’s teaching. All right, Acts 16 verse 6.
“Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, (Now that’s up in central Turkey.) and were forbidden of the Holy Spirit to preach the word (Where?) in Asia.” Now of course, Asia in Scripture is pretty much the whole land of Turkey, but we can also go on back to the Middle East and so forth. All right, the Holy Spirit forbade Paul from turning and going back to the east; but instead, now come to verse 7.
“After they had come to Mysia, (Which is out there in the Aegean Sea.) they intended to go into Bithynia: (Which is over there on the north part of Turkey, next to the Black Sea. They had intended to make a U-turn and go back east along the shore of the Black Sea.) but the Holy Spirit permitted them not.”
Now, you see, it wasn’t Paul’s idea. It wasn’t anybody else’s idea. It was God’s idea. Paul – you’re not going to go back east. You’re going to go west. All right, verse 8:
“And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. (Which is the same place as the ancient city of Troy.) 9. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, (Now that’s Greece—west across the Aegean Sea from where they were in ancient Troy.) a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed (or begged) him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, (Greece) and help us.” Paul had no intentions of going to Greece, but the Holy Spirit in a vision gave him this instruction not to go back to the east, but to continue on west across the Aegean and go into Macedonia.
Now in verse 10 we see the obedience of the man. He had no intention of traveling on across to Europe. That was almost like barbarian territory to the man. But he doesn’t argue—verse 10:
“And after he had seen the vision, (Luke is writing. Luke says–) immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, (Exactly as the Holy Spirit had instructed.) assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them.” Now what does that mean? That meant that God was going to keep moving west with the Christian message instead of letting Paul take it back to the east.
And you know, I have stressed that in my 30 years of teaching. The Euphrates River has always been a boundary line between western civilization and the Oriental religions of idolatry and opium dens and you name it to the east. And the western world has been blessed because of it.
I mentioned, I think on the program this morning. When did the female of the species really enjoy their liberty? With the advent of Christianity. They were nothing but chattel for the first 4,000 years of human history. They had no rights. No education. Nothing. But, you see, Paul’s Gospel opened up the rights of not only women, but everyone. And the same way with some of our minorities—you would never have experienced the freedoms and the privileges that you do in Western Civilization, because the Orient has always made slaves of any of what we call the minority.
So again, I just can’t emphasize it enough. Thank God that the Gospel went west instead of east!