Sunday, May 29, 2011

The image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream

Daniel (2:31-33)

"Your Majesty looked, and there before you stood a large statue—an enormous, dazzling statue, awesome in appearance. The head of the statue was made of pure gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of baked clay.

In Chinese translation (但以理书 2)

31 “王啊,你梦见一个大像,这像甚高,极其光耀,站在你面前,形状甚是可怕。
32 这像的头是精金的,胸膛和膀臂是银的,肚腹和腰是铜的,
33 腿是铁的,脚是半铁半泥的。

This is a well-known prophecy in Bible. In general, it tells the four nations that must rise in the history since the time of Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. There is, however, a question. If the purpose of the dream is only to foresee the coming of the four nations that were going to rule the world, there are many other ways God can illustrate it. Instead, however, God had used such an image (or statue) for the illustration. Because of the greatness of HIS wisdom, it is fair for us to guess that the image as total must also contain some message that God wants us to know.

I compare the image to the image in Genesis 1 in which it tells that mankind was made according to the image of God. Thus we get a few interesting and illuminating contrasts between the two images. To make the presentation simpler, we call mankind the God's image and the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream devil's image.

God's image is made by clay and clay only. Clay is the cheapest material in the world. Due to the breath of life, however, the creatures in this image are able to be the master of the world and be loved by all the other creatures of God.

Devil's image, on the other hand, is made by all kinds of precious materials such as gold and silver. Despite of these more "valuable" building materials, the image is terrifying. It stands by cruel power (iron leg), is strengthened by weapons (bronze belly), manages the behaviors using money (silver arms), and eventually intends to grasp all the honors to itself (gold head).

The ultimate goal of God's image is to glorify God. The ultimate goal of devil's image is to glorify Satan.

We can only choose one of the two images to follow. All of us are born in God's image. Before we may follow Jesus Christ, however, all of us live in devil's image. Without power, we feel belonging to the low class and thus are shy to even stand in front of people. Without weapon, we feel no strength to fight. Without money, we do not know how to do a thing. And ultimately, we are eager to holding any pieces of little glory to ourselves. The statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream exactly reveals the real image of people who do not live in Jesus Christ.

LORD Jesus, may I be blessed not following the image in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. I was made in clay and you are the potter. I am not made by gold, silver, bronze, or iron. Without you, I have no value. With you, however, I become invaluable.

May this blessing be with all the other people who follows you, my LORD!

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