This lesson focuses on Daniel 2, and the image in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream showing the “stone cut out of the mountain without hands” rolling forth to break a great statue into pieces. The story appears in nearly all of the old Sunday School Old Testament courses. Most simply tell the story; the few that analyze the dream to any extent focus on determining which kingdom is represented by the statue’s gold head, which by its silver chest, and so on. I have been unable to find a single lesson which focuses on the stone itself, representing the latter-day kingdom of God. This surprises me because I know that church members early in this dispensation recognized the establishment of the church as the beginning of the fulfillment of that prophecy, and I’m sure I remember hearing such lessons on multiple occasions. Perhaps they have been part of other Church courses of study, though, other than the Old Testament.
This lesson comes from the Gospel Doctrine course of 1928.
Divine Authority: History of the Priesthood. Daniel
The Book of Daniel.
Doc. and Cov. Section 116.
History of the Church, Vol. 3, pp. 386-7.
1. What commandment did Nebuchadnezzar give concerning certain princes of Israel? (Dan. 1:3-7.) Name four of these who were selected.
2. Discuss the observance of the “word of Wisdom” by Daniel and his companions. (Dan. 1:5, 8-20. Compare Doc. and Cov. 89:17-21.)
3. Relate Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and the interpretation of it. (Dan. 2.) Name the four kingdoms represented b this image.
4. What kingdom was to be established in the days of the ten kingdoms, and what is to be its destiny? (Dan. 2:44-45. Compare Daniel 7:14, 27, 28.)
5. Relate briefly the story of the image of gold and the story of the three Hebrews who refused to worship it. (Dan. 3.)
6. Discuss Daniel’s dream of the four beasts and the coming of the Ancient of Days. (Dan. 7. See History of the Church, Vol. 3:386 and lesson No. 7. Also Doc. and Cov., 116.)
7. What promise did the Lord make through Daniel to the Saints in the last days? (Dan. 7:15-18; 22:27-28.)
8. What did Daniel say about the coming of Michael and the resurrection? (Dan. 12.)
9. What reasons can be given to show that Daniel held the Melchizedek Priesthood?
Daniel, who was of princely lineage, was carried to Babylon when a youth and with other youths was chosen to serve in the king’s court because he and his companions were “skillful in wisdom and cunning in knowledge.” The king appointed these young men to stand in his palace and gave them daily provisions of the king’s meat and wine. They made the request that they be given the privilege of eating pulse (i.e. peas, beans and vegetables) and drinking water instead of wine. In other words they asked for the privilege of obeying what we know as the “Word of Wisdom.” Consent to this was reluctantly given by the governor who was over them and who feared it would impair their health and then he would be blamed and lose his life. It took only ten days to prove that the manner of their living was superior to the way the king provided, and which would have been an abomination to the Hebrews, and they were greatly blessed in health as well as in wisdom.
It was not long after the arrival of Daniel in Babylon that Nebuchadnezzar had his dream which he could not remember but which impressed him very greatly. He demanded that his wise men, known as astrologers, magicians and sorcerers, tell him his forgotten dream and also the interpretation or he would have them cut in pieces. It appears that Daniel and his companions were not called in for this consultation, yet the decree of death included them. When Daniel heard of the demand of the king he asked for time and with his companions laid the matter before the Lord and Daniel received the dream and its interpretation in a night vision. This vision was of great importance and predicted events pertaining to the great kingdoms of the earth down to the end of time. John received a similar dream himself, or one pertaining to the same events in the vision of the four beasts. Having read the words of Jeremiah that the Jews should be in captivity seventy years, Daniel fasted and prayed to know more about this prophecy and the Angel Gabriel was sent to him to instruct him. Not only was this matter made plain to him but more was revealed to him than he asked for. The Lord made it known to him the exact time that Christ should come from the time of the return of the Jews and the building of the Temple and also the length of time of Christ’s ministry before his crucifixion. So plain are Daniel’s words regarding this matter that the Jews rejected his book and refused it a place in the canon of scripture. Not only was this revealed to Daniel but the Lord opened to his vision events of great importance from the time of the return to Jerusalem to the coming of Christ. Moreover, he saw the rise and fall of kingdoms and powers until the coming of the Ancient of Days to sit in judgment and the coming of Christ to receive his place and authority on the earth. The place where Michael, or the Ancient of Days, will sit is Adam-ondi-Ahman (Doc. and Cov. 116.) This will be a very eventful occasion of which the Prophet Joseph Smith has written; ‘He (Michael) will call his children together and hold a council with them to prepare them for the coming of the Son of Man. He (Adam) is the father of the human family, and presides over the spirits of all men, and all that have had the keys must stand before him in this grand council. This may take place before some of us leave this stage of action. The Son of Man stands before him, and there is given him glory and dominion. Adam delivers up his stewardship to Christ.” (History of the Church, 3:386-7.)
The Book of Daniel deals largely with prophecy concerning the nations of the earth, the Priesthood, and the kingdom of God, from the days of his writing down to the present day and, in fact, until the Millennial reign. Some of the things he has written is very clear and we have been given the key by which they may be perfectly understood, but regarding many things pertaining to the last days the matter is not made clear and Daniel was instructed to “shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” And while “many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased,” yet the sealed part of Daniel’s vision shall remain hidden until the Lord shall declare it. The same is true of the vision of John which covers the same events as the vision of Daniel. It is well, then, for us not to speculate in relation to these matters, but to abide the time of the Lord when he will make them clear.