When the king of Babylon, named Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem the first time, he took some of the young men from the king's family and other important families as captives back to Babylon. There he educated them in the Babylonians. Now one of these captives was a young man named Daniel,
After a while, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream. It worried him and he couldn't sleep. So he sent for his fortunetellers and magicians to come and explain the dream to him. They said, "Tell us the dream and we will explain it to you." Then the king said, "You tell me the dream and then tell me what it means. If you don't, I will have you killed. But if you do, I will reward you. So tell me what the dream was and what it means." Again they said, "Just tell us the dream and we will explain it." The King answered, "You are trying to gain time by telling me lies. Tell me what the dream was, and then I will know that you can really tell me what it means." They said, "No one can tell you what you want to know. Only the gods know that, and they do not live with people!"
Then the king became very angry and he ordered all of his wise men killed including Daniel. When Daniel heard about it he went to the king's bodyguard, who was supposed to kill the wise men, and asked him why the king had ordered the death of the wise men. When the bodyguard told him, he went to the king and asked for more time, so that he could tell the king what his dream meant. Then Daniel went home and told his friends what had happened. They prayed to God that He would let them know what the dream was. That night God told Daniel about the king's dream in a vision, so Daniel praised God.
Then Daniel went to the bodyguard and said, "Don't kill the wise men. Take me to the king and I will tell him what the dream means." So the bodyguard took him to the king and said, "I have found one of the Jewish captives who can tell you what your dream means." The king said to Daniel, "Can you tell me what I dreamed and what it means?" Daniel answered, "No Fortuneteller or Magician can tell you the secret that you have asked. But there is a God in heaven who knows secrets. He has told you what will happen in the future. I will tell you what you dreamed."
"In your dream you saw a giant statue; its head was made of gold; its chest and arms were made of silver; its waist and hips were made of bronze; its legs were made of iron and its feet were partly iron and partly of clay. While you were looking at it, a stone hit the feet and the whole statue fell apart and turned into dust. The wind blew it away, but the stone grew into a mountain that covered the whole earth. That was the dream. Now this is the meaning. You are the head of gold. And after yours there will be another kingdom, not as great as yours, and then a third kingdom over all the earth. After that there will be a fourth kingdom, as strong as iron, it will destroy the earlier kingdoms, but just as you saw the feet and toes of iron and partly of clay, so this kingdom will be partly strong and partly week. At the time of this kingdom the God of Heaven will make a kingdom that will never end. It will destroy those kingdoms and last forever. This is what you dreamed and what it means." Then the king bowed to the ground before Daniel and said, "Your God is the greatest of all gods." And he gave Daniel many gifts and made him the chief of the wise men and made Daniel's friends rulers over Babylon.
What Daniel said came true. After the Babylonians were destroyed, the Medes and Persians ruled the world. After them, the Greeks were the world rulers and then the Romans, with their strong armies, conquered the known world. It was during the time of the Roman kingdom that God started the Kingdom of Heaven on earth, Christ's church while those other kingdoms have long ago been destroyed, God's Kingdom the church , is still with us today. Daniel had visions and dreams himself that he wrote in the book of Daniel. In one he saw a lion with eagle's wings that stood for the Babylonian kingdom. He saw a bear that stood for the Medo-Persian Kingdom. He saw a Leopard with four bird wings and four heads that stood for the Greek kingdom. Then he saw a terrible animal with iron teeth and ten horns that stood for the Roman kingdom. In this vision he saw a person he called the son of man coming with clouds. Jesus used these words to talk about himself. In another vision, he saw what he called the "abomination of desolation," that is the hated thing that destroys, in the temple. Jesus said that Daniel had been talking about the Roman armies that destroyed the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. So Daniel was a great prophet.