Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Saturday, November 5, 2022

What Is the Meaning of Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream?

             As I approached my Come, Follow Me studies for this week, I came across an important statement made by Elder Richard G. Scott. He explained that recording inspiration “shows God that His communications are sacred to us. Recording will also enhance our ability to recall revelation.” (“How to Obtain Revelation and Inspiration for Your Personal Life,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2012, 46).

            This is an important message. I have learned for myself the importance of keeping a written record. As I look back over my journal of personal revelation, important information that had left my memory. This week’s Come, Follow Me lesson comes from Daniel. Daniel was the prophet of God and the companion of five different kings. The reason that we have the stories of Daniel and his friends is because someone kept the record. Without the story of Daniel in the lion’s den and the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego being thrown into a hot furnace, our gospel learning would have a significant loss.

            The Come, Follow Me lesson was titled “There Is No Other God That Can Deliver.” It was introduced by the following information.

Most likely no one will ever threaten to throw you into a fiery furnace or a den of lions because of your faith in Jesus Christ. But none of us gets through this life without a trial of faith. We can all benefit from the example of people like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who were taken captive as young men by the mighty Babylonian Empire (see 2 Kings 24:10-16). These young people were surrounded by an unfamiliar culture with different values, and they faced great temptations to abandon their beliefs and righteous traditions. Yet they remained true to their covenants. Like Joseph in Egypt and Esther in Persia, Daniel and his friends in Babylon kept their faith in God, and God worked miracles that still inspire believers to this day.

How did they find the strength to remain so faithful? They did those small and simple things that God has asked all of us to do—praying, fasting, choosing good friends, trusting in God, and being a light to others. As we are strengthened by doing these same small and simple things, we can face the lions and fiery furnaces in our own lives with faith.


What Is the Principle?

            There are numerous principles found in the six chapters in the book of Daniel. The principle that I will discuss tonight is “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the kingdom of God on earth” found in Daniel 2. As you know, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that bothered him, so he called forth the wise men in his kingdom. He most likely remembered the dream, but he told them that he had forgotten it. He commanded them to tell him the dream and give him the interpretation of it – or be killed.

            As you may not know, Daniel and his friends were among the wise men who would have been killed. When Daniel heard about the problem, he asked Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, to get him an audience with the king. When he went before the king, Daniel asked for more time, and the king granted it. Daniel went to his friends and asked them to fast and pray with him that the dream and the interpretation would be revealed to them. Their prayers were answered by personal revelation to Daniel.

            Daniel first expressed his gratitude to God for revealing the information, and then he went to Arioch and told him that he had the answer. Arioch quickly took Daniel before the king and told him that he knew both the dream and the interpretation. He first explained that none of the wise men could have the answer, but the God in heaven revealed the information.


What Is the Dream and the Interpretation?

            Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he had dreamed about great image whose head was made of fine gold, his breast and arms were made of silver, his belly and thighs were made of brass, his legs were made of iron, and his feet were part iron and part clay. Then the king saw a stone cut out of a mountain with hands that rolled down the mountain and smashed into the image, breaking it into pieces. Then the stone grew until it filled the entire earth.

            Next, Daniel gave the interpretation: the head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar. The kingdom of silver would be inferior to him. The kingdom of brass would rule over all the earth. The kingdom of iron would be strong and subdue all things. The feet and toes made of iron and potters’ clay represented many kingdoms, some strong and some weak.

44 And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45 Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.


What Is the Modern-Day Meaning?

            Modern-day prophets and apostles have given us more information about the dream and the interpretation. President Rudger Clawson gave the following elaboration on Daniel’s interpretation.

The … world of today is witness of the fact that the very things which the great image stood for have occurred so far as time has gone. History certifies to the fact that King Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold. The Medes and Persians, an inferior kingdom to Babylon, were the arms and breast of silver. The Macedonian kingdom, under Alexander the Great, was the belly and thighs of brass; and the Roman kingdom under the Caesars was the legs of iron. For mark you, later on the kingdom, or empire of Rome, was divided. The head of the government in one division was at Rome and the head of the government in the other division was at Constantinople. So these two great divisions represented the legs of iron. Finally, the Roman empire was broken up into smaller kingdoms, represented by the feet and toes of iron and clay. (In Conference Report, Apr. 1930, p. 32, as quoted in the Old Testament Institute Manuel, 2003). 

            Elder Orson Pratt explained that the feet and toes were shown as part iron and part clay because they “were governments more modern to grow out of the iron kingdom [Roman Empire], after it should lose its strength” (In Journal of Discourse, 18:337, as quoted in Old Testament Student Manual, 2003).

            President Spencer W. Kimball further clarified the prophecy with the following explanation:

Rome would be replaced by a group of nations of Europe represented by the toes of the image.

With the history of the world delineated in brief, now came the real revelation. Daniel said:

“And in the days of these kings [that is, the group of European nations] shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed …”

This is a revelation concerning the history of the world, when one world power would supersede another until there would be numerous smaller kingdoms to share the control of the earth.

And it was in the days of these kings that power would not be given to men, but the God of heaven would set up a kingdom—the kingdom of God upon the earth, which should never be destroyed nor left to other people.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was restored in 1830 after numerous revelations from the divine source; and this is the kingdom, set up by the God of heaven, that would never be destroyed nor superseded, and the stone cut out of the mountain without hands that would become a great mountain and would fill the whole earth.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1976, p. 10, as quoted in Old Testament Student Manual, 2003.)

            The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints began with six members. It was organized in the home of Peter Whitmer, Sr. on April 6, 1830, in Fayette, New York. Today the Church of Jesus Christ is organized in more than 160 nations. It has 16,805,400 members in 31,315 congregations. It publishes scriptures and other materials in 188 languages. 

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