The Sovereignty of God, The One who Controls the Nations.
Read Daniel 2
“It is he who changes the times and epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings.”
Daniel 2 remains one of the most remarkable prophetic chapters in the Bible. Nebuchadnezzar woke from his sleep deeply troubled by a dream he could not remember. Not being able to recall the dream he summoned all his royal magicians, astrologers and wise men and commanded them to not just tell him the meaning of the dream, but to reveal the dream itself. When they pointed out the impossibility of the task, he only became furious and decreed to have them all torn limb from limb. Although Daniel and his three friends were not present when the demand was made, since they were part of the king’s wise men, they were likewise included in the death sentence.
In a remarkable feat, revealing the genuineness of the God of Israel, God revealed to Daniel not only the dream but also the interpretation. The detail by which Daniel revealed the future events encompassing the Ancient Near East has amazed Biblical scholars and confounded secular historians who reject the notion of prophetic revelation. In the interpretation Daniel outlined with amazing accuracy the history of nations from the time of the Babylonians to the establishment of the Roman Empire culminating in the yet future establishment of the Messianic king that still remains in the prophetic future of God’s redemptive plan. The unfolding of history would encompass four great kingdoms beginning with the Babylonians (vss. 36-38) who would reign until 539 b.c. when the alliance of two nations, the Medes and the Persians, led by Cyrus the Great, would defeat the Babylonians (vs. 39a). The Medo-Persian Empire would dominate the region until 331 b.c.. Then a third nation would arise (vs 39b), rapidly conquering the civilized world of the day. This was accomplished when Alexander the Great swept through the whole region and brought the Ancient Near East under the control of the Greeks from 331 b.c. until 146 b.c.. However, their reign would end when the Roman Empire would defeat them at the battle of Carthage (vss. 40-43), thus the fourth kingdom predicted by Daniel. This final kingdom will be crushed by the Messianic King will establish an eternal kingdom still in the prophetic future (vs. 44-45).
But this great prophecy was not based upon the blind luck of Daniel to predict the future political scene. Nor was it written by some later redactor who would merely record the history of the Ancient Near East and attribute it to Daniel. The prophetic history was orchestrated and revealed by a God who is sovereign over the affairs of the nations. He determines the history the nations and the establishment of political leaders (vs 21). This provides us confidence and hope in an age of political uncertainty and division. We see the conflicts in our nation and the division of our politicians that not only reflect different public policies but different worldviews. We see the turmoil caused by political movements that desire to fundamentally dismantle and reconstruct our nation. But in all this we do not need to fear, for God remains enthroned in heaven and he will move, remove, and alter the leaders, governments, and powers of nations according to his divine purpose. History is neither cyclical nor haphazard, rather it is ultimately linear, controlled and directed by a sovereign God who is moving all nations to his predetermined outcome when Christ will usher in his kingdom and establish his eternal reign. This is why we do not need to fear who is elected or what changes will happen in our society. God is in control and that is sufficient for us.