I have been meditating on Daniel 2 in recent days. In reading the text, it appears on the surface that this chapter is a story of a crazy king who has a strange dream and, because he doesn’t understand the dream, the king issues an outrageous decree that only Daniel, with divine help, can fulfill. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is well-known, and because it is so unusual and its interpretation is so significant, it seems that the dream is the appropriate focus of the chapter.
But as I considered the context and the circumstances of the chapter in a different light, and as I remembered that the Old Testament often foreshadows the coming of Jesus Christ and gives us illustrations of the salvation that He would bring, I began to see another picture hidden in this chapter, a picture of Jesus rescuing His people from the wrath of God by fulfilling the demands of God’s holy law on their behalf.
You may ask the question, “Where do you see that in this chapter?” Well, begin by understanding that what happens to Daniel in this chapter foreshadows something of Christ. In theological terms, this concept is called a “type.” Thus Daniel is a type of Christ. So I am suggesting that there is a parallel between the events of Daniel 2 and something that Christ accomplishes in His earthly ministry and that the events of this narrative in Daniel 2 are intentionally presented to point us to Christ. If you are following me so far, I invite you to consider the following parallels.
- As Nebuchadnezzar, the sovereign ruler of Babylon, issues his decree of “Tell me my dream or perish,” so the LORD God, the sovereign ruler of the universe, has issued His decree to mankind: “Obey My law or perish.”
- As there was no wise man found in Babylon who could fulfill the demands of Nebuchadnezzar’s decree, so there is no one among the children of Adam who can fulfill the LORD God’s decree.
- And since all the wise men have failed to fulfill Nebuchadnezzar’s decree, all the wise men must perish as a consequence. Just so, since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23) and all people have failed to fulfill the LORD God’s righteous decree, we are all subject to God’s judgment and His righteous condemnation as a consequence. (The soul who sins will die. Ezekiel 18:4, 20)
- So you see that both the wise men of Babylon and all of sinful humanity need a Savior, someone who can rise up from among them and satisfy the king’s decree on their behalf so that they do not perish. In both scenarios there is a need for a Savior who can rescue those who are perishing.
- And as Daniel rises up from among the wise man of Babylon to save them from the king’s fury, just so Jesus Christ was sent from heaven to become Man and to perfectly fulfill the Law of God on our behalf to save His people from the righteous wrath of God.
And so these unusual events which occurred so long ago in Babylon are presented to point us to Christ. Daniel gives us a picture of Christ and foreshadows for us what Jesus Christ will accomplish. Jesus Christ is the Savior that we need to deliver us from God’s holy wrath, for He is the only One who can perfectly fulfill the law’s demands so that, for all who trust in Him, Christ is our righteousness (Jeremiah 23:6; 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Cor. 5:21). SDG rmb 1/28/2017