Old Testament Lesson 46 (Daniel 2)


The story of Daniel has many parallels to the story of Joseph in Egypt. Both were able to interpret dreams with the aid of the Spirit, and both interpreted the dreams of their respective kings. As a result, both were elevated to high positions of trust and were able to bless the Lord’s people because of those positions.

This week, we are studying Daniel’s interpretations of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

● The king tested his servants (Daniel 2:1–13).

— The phrase “is gone from me” should read “is certain with me,” since the Persian word azda (“sure”) is used.

— He knew what he had dreamt (v. 9), and if the interpreters could tell him the dream, he would know that he could believe them.

● Daniel interpreted the dream by obtaining revelation from God (Daniel 2:14–19).

— President Wilford Woodruff said: “The Lord does communicate some things of importance to the children of men by means of visions and dreams as well as by the records of divine truth. And what is it all for? It is to teach us a principle. We may never see anything take place exactly as we see it in a dream or a vision, yet it is intended to teach us a principle.”1

— President Harold B. Lee said: “By faith in God you can be attuned to the Infinite and by power and wisdom obtained from your Heavenly Father harness the powers of the universe to serve you in your hour of need in the solution of problems too great for your human strength or intelligence.”2

● Daniel could have taken credit for his gift, but gave the credit to God (Daniel 2:20–30).
— Daniel attributed his seership to God, as did Joseph in Egypt (v. 28; Gen. 41:16).

Daniel Interpreted the King’s Dream

● Daniel revealed the king’s dream and then interpreted it (Daniel 2:31–43).

— The fulfillment of the king’s dream would begin in the immediate future (v. 38).
— The culmination, however, was to take place in the last days (v. 44). The Hebrew word achariyth means “last or end.”

— President Spencer W. Kimball said: “This is 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.”3

— “Nebuchadnezzar represented the king of kings, a world power, representing the head of gold. Another kingdom would arise and take over world dominion [from Babylon]. The interpretation included the domination of other kingdoms. Cyrus the Great, with his Medes and Persians, would be replaced by the Greek or Macedonian kingdom under Philip and Alexander; and that world power would be replaced by the Roman Empire; and Rome would be replaced by a group of nations of Europe represented by the toes of the image.”4

— The golden head represents Nebuchadnezzar (v. 38).
— Each clay or metal part represents a separate kingdom (vv. 37–41).
— The kingdoms that succeed each other differed in strength (vv. 39–42).
— The feet and toes; the divided nature of the various kingdoms (vv. 40–43).

The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven

● The Kingdom of God established in the latter days will stand forever (Daniel 2:44).

— President Brigham Young said: “The Lord God Almighty has set up a kingdom that will sway the sceptre of power and authority over all the kingdoms of the world, and will never be destroyed; it is the kingdom that Daniel saw and wrote of. It may be considered treason to say that the kingdom which that Prophet foretold is actually set up; that we cannot help, but we know it is so, and call upon the nations to believe our testimony. The kingdom will continue to increase, to grow, to spread and prosper more and more. Every time its enemies undertake to overthrow it, it will become more extensive and powerful; instead of its decreasing, it will continue to increase, it will spread the more, become more wonderful and conspicuous to the nations, until it fills the whole earth.”5

— President Wilford Woodruff said: “And I will say, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, that “Mormonism” will live and prosper, Zion will flourish, and the Kingdom of God will stand in power and glory and dominion as Daniel saw it, when this nation is broken to pieces as a potter’s vessel and laid in the dust, and brought to judgment, or God never spoke by my mouth.”6

● The Kingdom of God will consume all the other kingdoms (Daniel 2:34, 45).

● What is the “Kingdom of God” and what is the “Kingdom of Heaven”?
— Jesus Christ prayed for the coming of the “kingdom of heaven (Matt. 6:10).”

— Elder Bruce R. McConkie said: “During the millennium the kingdom of God will continue on earth, but in that day it will be both an ecclesiastical and apolitical kingdom. That is, the Church (which is the kingdom) will have the rule and government of the world given to it.”7

The Stone Cut out of the Mountain Without Hands Is the Church

— “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).

— The stone cut out without hands is the “Kingdom of God.”
— The “Kingdom of God” (the Church) prepares the way for . . .
— The “Kingdom of Heaven” (Christ’s kingdom) which is to come.

— The Prophet Joseph Smith said: “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.”8

— The Prophet Joseph Smith also compared himself to the Daniel’s stone: “I am like a huge rough stone rolling down from a high mountain: and the only polishing I get is when some corner gets rubbed off by coming in contact with something else, striking with accelerated force against religious bigotry, priestcraft, lawyer-craft, doctor-craft, lying editors, suborned judges and jurors, and the authority of perjured executives, backed by mobs, blasphemers, licentious and corrupt men and women–all hell knocking off a corner here and a corner there. Thus will I become a smooth and polished shaft in the quiver of the Almighty, who will give me dominion over all and every one of them, when their refuge of lies shall fail, and their hiding place shall be destroyed, while these smooth-polished stones with which I come in contact become marred.”9


1.  The Discourses of President Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham [1946], 286.
2.  Church News, 15 Aug. 1970, 2.
3.  In Conference Report, April 1976, 10.
4.  In Conference Report, April 1976, 10; or Ensign, May 1976, 8.
5.  In Journal of Discourses, 1:202–203.
6.  The Discourses of President Wilford Woodruff, sel. G. Homer Durham [1946], 508–509.
7.  Mormon Doctrine, 2nd ed. [1966], 416.
8.  Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 366.
9.  History of the Church, 5:401.