Daniel 2:2 call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams
"Several instances are recorded in the Bible in which the future was made known by dreams, and the interpretation of dreams was sometimes an important part of the prophet's mission. Dreams in all ages have been believed in as affording indications of the future. In ancient Greece it was believed that dreams came from the great Jupiter, the king of gods. In ancient Egypt and Babylon, the interpretation of the monarch's dreams was an important state office, and was entrusted to a college of wise men. In consulting the Greek and Roman oracles, it was common, after performing sacred rites, to sleep in the temple, so that the information desired might be made known in dreams. Ancient philosophers wrote treatises upon the interpretation of dreams, and even Bacon seems to have believed that something might be learned from them. In modern times, however, very little attention is given to dreams, and they are generally dismissed from the mind with only a passing thought. The popular saying, 'As idle as a dream,' well expresses the sentiment of people generally in regard to this kind of phenomenon. This popular estimate of the nature of dreams is undoubtedly a just one as regards dreams generally. Yet it is possible that there may be exceptions. Some dreams may have a meaning which it is important that the dreamer should interpret aright, and understand its import." (Contributor, vol. 3 (October 1881-September 1882), Vol. Iii. May, 1882. No. 8. 254.)
Daniel 2:28 there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets
Every member of the Church of Christ has a right to knowledge, light and intelligence, and to know that the doctrine of Christ is true, by the revelations of Almighty God. We know that the Lord has established His Church upon the rock of revelation, and we know, as Daniel of old knew, that there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets. We know that the spirit of prophecy is in the Church, because we are continually hearing prophecies and seeing them fulfilled. (Conference Report, April 1902, Morning Session 66 - 67)
Daniel 2:30 this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have
True servants of the Lord are always careful to give credit where credit is due; they wouldn't dare take credit for the Lord's miracles. Daniel understood this and exemplified it perfectly.
Men talk about what has been accomplished under my direction, and attribute it to my wisdom and ability; but it is all by the power of God, and by intelligence received from him. . . .What I know concerning God, concerning the earth, concerning government, I received from the heavens, not alone through my natural ability and I give God the glory and the praise. (Discourses of Brigham Young, 1926 ed., p. 664)
I have always had to give God the glory for everything good that has happened to me; for I have realized by what power it came. (Howard W. Hunter, That We Might Have Joy [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1994], 181)
Joseph F. Smith
I am not praising myself; I am not the one worthy of praise. I am praising the Lord; I am giving him the credit; the credit belongs to him. Let us get that spirit; let us teach it to our children. (James R. Clark, comp., Messages of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1965-75), 5: 93)
Daniel 2:32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver...
Daniel 2:34 a stone was cut out without hands
We should pause to consider the symbolism of Daniel's imagery. He speaks of a stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands. What is the meaning of the phrase, without hands? Apparently, Daniel means that the stone is cut out of the mountain-not by mortal hands-that no earthly power could get such a stone moving in the first place. Elsewhere, Daniel would prophecy of worldly kingdoms (Dan. 2), but this stone is not representative of any earthly power, whether political dynasty or the greatest of the world's empires.
The meaning, then, is that the stone can only get rolling by the power of God. We could even say that the stone is cut out of the mountain without mortal hands but rather by the hand of God. God made the mountain; He cut out the stone; He provided the gravity by which it moves; and He controls its trajectory and velocity according to his will and pleasure. Ultimately, He receives the honor, the power, and the glory when it rolls forth to fill the whole earth.
Gordon B. Hinckley
No mortal man created this kingdom. It came through revelation from its divine head. And since the nineteenth-century days of its inception, it has gone forth like a rolling snowball gathering mass. ("Pillars of Truth," Ensign, Jan. 1994, 4)
Matthias F. Cowley
The language of this prophecy shows: first, that unlike the preceding kingdoms, this last named kingdom was to be set up by God Himself, in other words, the kingdom of God, not of man. Second, unlike the other kingdoms, it should never be destroyed. Third, it should not, like the kingdoms of men, pass from one people to another, but should not be left to other people. Fourth, that it should have power to break in pieces and consume all other kingdoms. (Cowley's Talks on Doctrine [Chattanooga: Ben. E. Rich, 1902], 33)
Daniel 2:35 the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth
The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done. ("Wentworth Letter," History of The Church, 4: 540.)
Gerald N. Lund
Joseph Smith was the instrument God used to launch the building of his kingdom in these latter days. The revelations given through the Prophet, along with the Church he was commanded to organize, are to warn the world and prepare a people for the coming of their Lord (see D&C 1:17-23).
In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph just 18 months after the organization of the Church, the Lord said, "The keys of the kingdom of God are committed unto man on the earth, and from thence shall the gospel roll forth unto the ends of the earth, as the stone which is cut out of the mountain without hands shall roll forth, until it has filled the whole earth" (D&C 65:2). President Ezra Taft Benson noted that "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is extending the heralded message of the restoration of the gospel to every nation which permits us entrance through its borders. This is a fulfillment of the vision and revelation received by Daniel, the prophet" (The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson , 168).
By establishing the Church, Joseph Smith laid the groundwork for the Savior's return to earth. Restoring the truth of God, translating the Book of Mormon, receiving priesthood keys and ordinances, organizing The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sending missionaries to proclaim the gospel worldwide, building temples and starting work for the dead, sealing his testimony with his blood-all these efforts were necessary to prepare Jesus Christ's people for the state of affairs that will be ushered in at his coming.
President Joseph Fielding Smith explained that "the kingdom of God is the Church. After Christ comes, all the peoples of the earth will be subject to him, but there will be multitudes of people on the face of the earth who will not be members of the Church; yet all will have to be obedient to the laws of the kingdom of God, for it will have dominion upon the whole face of the earth. These people will be subject to the political government, even though they are not members of the ecclesiastical kingdom which is the Church" (Doctrines of Salvation, comp. Bruce R. McConkie, 3 vols., [1954-56], 1:229; emphasis in original). ("A Prophet for the Fulness of Times," Ensign, Jan. 1997, 54)
I calculate to be one of the instruments of setting up the kingdom of Daniel by the word of the Lord, and I intend to lay a foundation that will revolutionize the whole world. I once offered my life to the Missouri mob as a sacrifice for my people, and here I am. It will not be by sword or gun that this kingdom will roll on: the power of truth is such that all nations will be under the necessity of obeying the Gospel. (History of the Church, 6:365.)
Daniel 2:38-39 Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another...
I will now relate the substance of the interpretation. This great image which you saw represents the successive kingdoms of the world, down to the setting up of the kingdom of God. The head of gold represents the great kingdom over which you reign; the breast and arms of silver represent another kingdom inferior to thee, that shall succeed thy kingdom, which all commentators agree was the kingdom of the Medes and Persians. The belly and thighs of brass represent another kingdom which shall succeed the Medes and Persians, which all agree in saying was the Macedonian empire. The legs of iron represent the next in succession which shall have universal dominion. All agree that the fourth represents the Roman empire. The feet of iron and clay represent the ten kingdoms which shall spring out from the broken fragments of the Roman empire. Governments in their weak and divided state were to have place on the earth until the kingdom of God should be set up in the last days.
The kingdom of God was entirely distinct from this great image. It formed no part of it, but it was represented as a stone cut out of the mountain without hands. That stone smote the image on the feet-not on the head, nor upon any other portion of the body: it was first to commence its operations upon the feet and toes of the great image; and then the feet, toes, legs, breast, arms, and head were to be broken to pieces, and become like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind was to carry away the whole image, and there was to be no place to be found for it, while the little stone was to increase to such a magnitude that it should fill the whole earth; and the dominion, even the greatness of the dominion under the whole heavens was to be given to the Saints of the Most High. This is the true interpretation of this remarkable prophetic dream. (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 7: 217)
Daniel 2:40-43 the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron
"This fourth kingdom, which was the Roman, is described as being stronger than the preceding. As iron breaketh all other metals, and is more obdurate, so the Roman empire broken in pieces the former kingdoms, and exhibited more strength and durability than the preceding one. The legs, feet, and toes of the image must certainly denote the Roman; for there never was any other nation on earth that answered Daniel's description but the Roman. Indeed, he first describes it as being very strong, or powerful; but afterwards becoming more weak and divided: and finally divided into ten different kingdoms, which were represented by the ten toes of the image. The Roman empire was at length divided into ten lesser kingdoms, as we shall see hereafter. These kingdoms retained much of the old Roman strength, and manifested it upon several occasions, so that 'the kingdom was partly strong and partly broken.' They mingle themselves with the seed of men; they made marriages and alliances, one with another, as they do to this day; but no hearty union ensued. The Roman empire, therefore, is represented in a double state: first, with the strength of iron, conquering all before it, 'his legs of iron' and then weakened and divided by the mixture of barbarous nations, 'his feet part of iron and part of clay.' It subdued Syria, and made the kingdom of the Selucidae a Roman province in the year 65 B. C.; it subdued Egypt and made the kingdom of the Lagadae a Roman province in the year 30 B. C.; and in the fourth century after Christ, it began to be torn in pieces by the incursions of the barbarous nations, and at length divided into ten kingdoms. The principle part of the modern kingdoms of Europe are the remains of those ten kingdoms of the Roman empire. ("Nebuchadnezzar's Dream," Times and Seasons, vol. 3 (November 1841-October 1842), Vol. 3 No. 3 December 1, 1841, p. 609-610)
"The two 'legs of iron' point to the Roman Empire, foreshadowing the division between Rome and Constantinople. The feet of the image, 'part of iron and part of clay,' symbolize the European kingdoms that grew out of the dissolving Roman Empire, beginning in the fifth century. Those kingdoms merged the culture of Rome with that of northern and eastern European tribes; hence, the symbolic mixing of iron and clay." (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, 1-4 vols., edited by Daniel H. Ludlow (New York: Macmillan, 1992), 355.)
Parley P. Pratt
In this great view of the subject, we have presented before us in succession, first, the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar; second, the Medes and Persians, who took Babylon from Belshazzar, and reigned over all the earth; third the Greeks, under Alexander, who conquered the world, and reigned in the midst of Babylon; and fourth, the Roman empire, which subdued all things; fifth, its division into eastern and western empires, and its final breaking up or subdivision into the various kingdoms of modern Europe, represented by the feet and toes, part of iron and part of clay. (A Voice of Warning [New York City: Eastern States Mission [189-?], 18 - 19.)
Daniel 2:44 the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed
Gordon B. Hinckley
After centuries of darkness and pain and struggle, the time was ripe for the restoration of the gospel. Ancient prophets had spoken of this long-awaited day.
All of the history of the past had pointed to this season. The centuries with all of their suffering and all their hope had come and gone. The Almighty Judge of the nations, the Living God, determined that the times of which the prophets had spoken had arrived. Daniel had foreseen a stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands and which became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
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 (Dan. 2:44).
Isaiah and Micah had spoken long before when with prophetic vision they saw our time:
And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it.
And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem (Isa. 2:2-3; see also Micah 4:2).
Paul had written of the whole procession of time, the parade of the centuries, saying, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first" (2 Thes. 2:3).
He had further said of this day, "That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" (Eph. 1:10).
Peter foresaw the whole grand panorama of the centuries when he declared with prophetic vision:
Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;
And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:
Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-21).
All of these and others pointed to this glorious season, this most wonderful season in all the annals of human history, when there should come a day of restitution of true doctrine and true practice.
That glorious day dawned in the year 1820, when a boy, earnest and with faith, walked into a grove of trees and lifted his voice in prayer, seeking that wisdom which he felt he so much needed.
There came in response a glorious manifestation. God the Eternal Father and the risen Lord Jesus Christ appeared and spoke with him. The curtains which had been closed for much of two millennia were parted to usher in the dispensation of the fulness of times. There followed the restoration of the holy priesthood, first the Aaronic, and then the Melchizedek, under the hands of those who had held it anciently. Another testament, speaking as a voice from the dust, came forth as a second witness to the reality and the divinity of the Son of God, the great Redeemer of the world.
Keys of divine authority were restored, including those keys which were necessary to bind together families for time and eternity in a covenant which death could not destroy.
The stone was small in the beginning. It was hardly noticeable. But it has grown steadily and is rolling forth to fill the earth. ("At the Summit of the Ages," Ensign, Nov. 1999, 73-74)
Gordon B. Hinckley
I believe that the cause we have the honor to represent is that kingdom which shall stand forever.
I am not engaging in unrealistic dreams when I think of its future, for every day I see the miracle of its strength and of its growing influence in the lives of millions across the earth. Yet it is not a great impersonal juggernaut of power. It finds its best expression in the quiet of the lives of those who have embraced it. ("Be Not Afraid, Only Believe," Ensign, Feb. 1996, 4)
Gordon B. Hinckley
We have nothing to fear. God is at the helm. He will overrule for the good of this work. He will shower down blessings upon those who walk in obedience to His commandments. Such has been His promise. Of His ability to keep that promise none of us can doubt.
The little stone which was cut out of the mountain without hands as seen in Daniel's vision is rolling forth to fill the whole earth (see Dan. 2:44-45). No force under the heavens can stop it if we will walk in righteousness and be faithful and true. ("This Is the Work of the Master," Ensign, May 1995, 71)
When I was president of the Southern States Mission, one of our missionaries down in Florida preached on that particular passage of scripture one night. At the close of the meeting I stood at the door, and a man came up and introduced himself as a minister of the gospel. He said, "You don't expect us to believe that the Mormon church is that kingdom, do you?" And I said, "Yes, sir. Why not?" He said, "It couldn't be." I said, "Why couldn't it?" "Well," he said, "we can't have a kingdom without a king, and we don't have a king, so we haven't a kingdom. Oh, I said, "my friend, you didn't read quite far enough. You just read the seventh chapter of Daniel and you will see where Daniel saw one like the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven, and unto him was given the kingdom that all other kingdoms, powers, and dominions under the whole heavens should serve him." (See Dan. 7:13-14.)
Then I said to this minister, "My friend, tell me, how can the kingdom be given to him when he comes in the clouds of heaven, if there is no kingdom prepared for him? That is what this church is, the preparation, the restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets." Then I said, "Probably you would like to know what is going to become of that kingdom, and if you will read just a little further in that seventh chapter, you will see where Daniel said, `But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever.'" (Dan. 7:18.) And as if that were not quite long enough, Daniel adds, "even for ever and ever." (Conference Report, April 1970, Afternoon Meeting 147 - 148.)
The establishment of his kingdom by the God of heaven was to be the greatest event in the latter days. Though small and insignificant as its beginning would be, its ultimate destiny is to fill the whole earth, with Christ our Lord at its head. The kingdom was to be given to the saints of the Most High that they might possess it forever.
With all our present latter-day developments and progress, scientific and otherwise, why should we not be concerned with the promised spiritual development? Daniel gave us the sure word of prophecy:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever. (Daniel 7:13-14, Dan. 7:18.)
In a revelation to the Prophet Joseph Smith February 24, 1834, the Lord said:
But verily I say unto you, that I have decreed a decree which my people shall realize, inasmuch as they hearken from this very hour unto the counsel which I, the Lord their God, shall give unto them.
Behold they shall, for I have decreed it, begin to prevail against mine enemies from this very hour.
And by hearkening to observe all the words which I, the Lord their God, shall speak unto them, they shall never cease to prevail until the kingdoms of the world are subdued under my feet, and the earth is given unto the saints, to possess it forever and ever. (D&C 103:5-7.) (A Marvelous Work and a Wonder [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1950], 36)
Daniel 2:44 the kingdom shall not be left to other people
James E. Faust
The dispensation of divine truth in which we now live, in distinction from previous dispensations, will not be destroyed by apostasy. This is in fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy that "the God of heaven would set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed" nor "left to other people." President John Taylor affirmed this also when he said: "There is one thing very certain, ... and that is, whatever men may think, and however they may plot and contrive, that this Kingdom will never be given into the hands of another people. It will grow and spread and increase, and no man living can stop its progress." ("The Prophetic Voice," Ensign, May 1996, 5)