When viewing these first six chapters of Daniel as a foreshadowing, it is important to relate meanings to the places and people to the story being told. In this case, the primary setting is Babylon. It’s where the Israelites were taken as captives after being dragged out of their homeland. Babylon means “chaos” –it represents our mental state. Israel is descriptive of mankind as a whole. And Judah is where Jesus is from. The main characters are: Nebuchadnezzar which means dying –he’s indicative of what we know about our state. Daniel means “God’s judge” –He’s the Holy Spirit. Hananiah means “God is merciful”, Mishael means “Who is God?”, and Azariah means “God is help.” Those three describe the Holy Spirit witnessing to us; Belshazzar –the deeds of our flesh; and Darius –our regenerated soul.
The chapter starts with God turning Israel and its king Jehoakim over to Nebuchadnezzar –a picture of the fall as recorded in Romans 1 where God turned us over to be controlled by our sinful desires. It introduces a cast of characters that will play essential roles in the rest of the story. And ends with a new king over the country. This first chapter is an overview of what will be seen in the next five.
During the first year Nebuchadnezzar (our lost human soul) took over command from Jehoiakim (our spirit –which is now separated from God) as king. This is the picture of the fall of mankind. The chapter starts out in Nebuchadnezzar’s second year in power when God began his appeal through terrifying dreams and visions. The king wanted to understand what he needed to do to bring peace to his troubled mind. He began by trying all of his familiar ways and then took his first step of faith.
“King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.” The image was the most prominent object for miles around. It’s a picture of the things that we make important in life. We can turn anything into an idol –even a Christian ministry!
“King Nebuchadnezzar, To the peoples, nations and men of every language, who live in all the world: May you prosper greatly! It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me. How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.” The king told about what God has worked in him –it’s his testimony!
King Belshazzar gave a great banquet for a thousand of his nobles and drank wine with them. While Belshazzar was drinking his wine, he gave orders to bring in the gold and silver goblets that Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken from the temple in Jerusalem. . . Suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall, near the lampstand in the royal palace. The king watched the hand as it wrote. His face turned pale and he was so frightened that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way.” It’s a picture of the flesh being confronted with God Himself writing the Law of Sin and Death on tablets of stone.
“It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss.” Darius [representing the saved soul] began to take control of the kingdom [our entire being] in an orderly way. Daniel [the Holy Spirit] was given control over a portion of it. That’s what happens with us when we begin to trust the Holy Spirit with part of our lives –a significant part– but it takes time for us to learn how trustworthy He is.