What do you think about faith? Is it something for the present, that we use in our live on this earth, or is it something for the "afterlife"? Observe the results of the faith and the prayer of Daniel and his friends:
"Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him. The king said to Daniel, “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery”
"Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Moreover, at Daniel’s request the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego administrators over the province of Babylon, while Daniel himself remained at the royal court"
AUDIO (free download)
If you compared with the Aramaic in the Interlinear Bible, you can see that in spite of minor adaptations to get a fluent English, the translation of NIV is a very good one. No, you have not read wrong. The king "fell postrate" and "paid honor" to the prophet. The ruler of the most powerful empire by that time honored a Jewish prophet that was in Babylonia as slave. If I understand correctly, it is the other ones who "paid honors" to Nebuchadnessar that way. Both the actions, and the words of the king, show us the difference between the true God (the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of Israel, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ) and the "gods" of the pagan nations (which didn't reveal the interpretation to their servants) The testimony of the God of Israel, made known among those "gentiles" through Daniel and his friends, was in God's plan, because He would deliver Israel from captivity in Babylonia using a Persian king, Cyrus the Great.
We can read in the history of Rome about the Battle of the Milvian Bridge, which took place in 312 AD, between emperors Maxentius and Constantine I (Rome was a tetrarchy then) Constantine I (ruler from 306 to 337 AD) saw a cross in heaven, the symbol of Christianity - by then, a persecuted and rejected religious "sect" - and with it, the words "in this sign you will conquer". It is said that he ordered to paint Christian symbols in the shields of hos soldiers, and he won the battle, which resulted in a greater control for him (he reigned over the whole Western Roman Empire, with his brother-in-law Licinius as emperor in the East part) Because of his victory, it is said that Constantine converted to Christianity. As a matter of fact, he gave a legal status to Christianity, but he didn't rejected or prohibited pagan religions in Rome. An interesting detail in his "conversion" is that he get baptized almost by his death, many years later (believing that in the baptism "he would receive pardon for his sins")
What is "salvation" for you? Maybe the same thing that is was for Constantine, or any else? Answer to yourself first, and then compare with that which the Word of God says.
In Matthew 1:21 Joseph receives a prophetic revelation in a dream. The angel says to him that the son of Mary, who was pregnant of the Holy Spirit, should be called "Jesus", because "he would save the people from their sins". The name "Jesus" in English comes from the Greek "Iesús", and that one from the OT Hebrew "Yeshúa", "salvation".
What is then, this "salvation" which the Scriptures mention?
It was a very literal issue for Daniel. He and his friends were sentenced to be put to death, and they prayed to God in order to get a revelation, which they communicated to the king and, in return, their lives were saved and they were considerably prospered, from slaves to Babylonian officials.
This word "yeshúa", "salvation", is the one which king David uses in Psalms 3:2, when he tells us about his enemies, saying that "God would not deliver him", and in Ps 3:8, when he proclaims that "from the Lord comes deliverance" (NIV renders it as "deliverance", another form of "salvation") This Psalm was written when Absalom, David's son, rebelled against him, and many people with him. David's confidence i God, and his unquenchable faith, gave him victory over the rebellious ones. Absalom died, the insurrection was crushed and David went back to the throne.
The basic meaning of the word is "to save your life", to escape death. But there is more. When we talk about "salvation" in the context of eternity, then we are talking about another "life" to be saved, the "eternal life". This comparison can be seen in Acts 16:16-34. The apostle Paul had set free a young slave girl from a demon, and her owners, who usually got incomes from her divination, denounced Paul and Silas as "troublemakers" and they were put in prison. But they remained firm in their faith, and they were even singing hymns to God. The Lord cause an earthquake which shaked the fundations of the prision, opening the doors and setting the prisoners free. The jailer thought that the prisoners were escaping, and he intended to commit suicide (he was a Roman soldier who could be executed if the prisoners would escape) But Paul called him and told him, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”. When he, fearing for his life, asked Paul and Silas, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”, he was most probably talking about his physical life, which he could lose because of his fail. But Paul took the opportunity to preach the gospel to him. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved - you and your household”, he said, and the jailer received Jesus, together with his whole family.
This meaning of "salvation", to escape from "eternal death" and to obtain "eternal life", is the most spiritually important (physical life is about some decades, but eternal life, about eternity) In 1st Peter 1:9, the apostle calls the "salvation of our soul" as "end result of our faith". BUT to "live by faith" has not ONLY this "end result", to "go to heaven". If it were so, Constantine would be right in becoming a baptized Christian only right before his death, and David could have said, "OK, keep the kingdom. I am save and I'm going to heaven anyway, in spite of losing the throne because of that coup". But the Scriptures do not exhort to adopt Constantine's attitude in any verse of the Old or the New Testament. And David didn't remained defeated by the rebels.
When we haven't got "salvation", then we are "sinners". "Sinners" don't live according to God's purpose, they live in an "unrighteous" way, and because of their sin and their "unrighteousness" they go to hell. Salvation works DELIVERANCE from that sin (or sins) which keeps us bound to that destination (in eternity but even here on earth) and makes us "righteous" (even when we are still sinners) because of the faith in Jesus, so that we can be "saved".
"Sinners" don't live according to God's requirements, but according to their "sinful nature". This causes them to be entangled in Satan's manipulations (God's adversary uses every possible deception in order to keep us apart from our Creator) Salvation brings VICTORY over the evil one, because we can seek God's help every day - as David did in Psalm 3 - so that He rescues us from evil and makes us victorious.
The word "yeshúa", "salvation", includes then both meanings in adition to "saving our life": "deliverance" (from sins) and "victory" (over sin) And even more, "salvation" means "health" and "prosperity". The Scriptures include many examples of persons who were miraculously healed by God (blind, crippled, demon possesed and many others) and who were prospered because they believed in God, as Daniel in this second chapter of the book. Observe that not only Daniel, but his friends, who prayed together with him, got their reward, too.
God's purpose for our lives is not that we would live bound because of our sins, defeated, in poverty or infirmity. If you are under any of those conditions, let me tell you that this "salvation" which Jesus Christ offers, through the blood that was shed on the cross of Calvary, has power to deliver you from those evils. Receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and with Him, not only eternal life "after this", but results of your FAITH here on earth!
May the Lord bless you. In the love of Christ, your brother
PS Jesus is coming soon!
A FINAL NOTE TO DANIEL 2
With this passage we are finishing the second chapter of the book of Daniel. In this awesome story are both keywords of this book, "testimony" and "prophecy", put together. The first chapter and the chapters 3-6 point mainly to the testimony that the Jewish young men gave before Babylonians and Persians (even when you can read there also about prophecies and interpretation of dreams, but these are mainly connected to the persons which received them) From chapter 7 to 12 we can read about the great prophecy that God gave Daniel about the things that would happen from the times of Babylonia to eternity (in the interpretation of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar we've got a summary of it) If you want to know God more and more, keep reading!