|DANIEL - Chapter 4|
DANIEL – CHAPTER 4
Sunday Evening Service
October 23, 2011
By: Pastor Carolyn Sissom
In Chapter 4, Nebuchadnezzar is giving his testimony explaining why he decided to worship the God of a small, conquered, deported nation.
He writes this to acquaint posterity with the providences of God that related to him.
4:1-3: “I thought it good to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has wrought toward me. How great are His signs! And how mighty are His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.”
Unlike his own kingdom, the Lord’s kingdom is an ever lasting kingdom. Other reigns are confined to one generation, and other dynasties to a few generations but God’s dominion is from generation to generation.
Before he relates the judgments of God upon him for his pride, he gives an account of the fair-warning he had of them before they came and the 12-month period, the Lord gave him to repent.
4-7: “Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me interpretation of the dream. Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and he soothsayers; and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known to me the interpretation.”
In the first dream these same wise men promised to give the interpretation if he would tell them the dream. Here he told the dream and they still failed. When all the magicians, astrologers, soothsayers, and Chaldeans had proved powerless to interpret the dream, Daniel made known the true interpretation in one hour.
Dake presents us the possibility that these were followers of Zoroaster, founder of the ancient Persian religion and the wisdom of the Magi. Zoroaster was a false prophet in Iran. They were originally a Median tribe and were invested early with religious rites. They were magicians, studied astrology and astronomy and claimed to be able to do many things beyond human power.
Since we are approaching Halloween, I will list some of the forbidden heathen practices which are still going on in our midst:
All of the above practices were and still are carried on in connection with demons, called familiar spirits. All who forsook God and sought help from these demons were to be destroyed in the Book of the Law given to Moses.
However, at the time of Daniel, there was no national Israel. They were conquered and except for a remnant, were in exile in Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar is recounting the story of the time in his life when he was still an idolater.
Verses 8-9: “At the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and before him I told the dream saying, O Belteshazzar, master f the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you, and no secret troubles you, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation”
Notice the words, “at the last”, when all else fails, people will turn to the prophets and to the Word of God for a true word of the Lord.
Previously he had a dream of a huge metallic man, now a great tree is central. Trees in the bible are symbolic of men. A luxuriant tree symbolized prosperity. Psalm 1:3 “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season; its leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.”
Daniel 4:12 “The leaves were fair, and the fruit much. It was meat for all; the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of heaven dwell in the boughs. All flesh was fed of it.”
(Vs. 13) “I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and behold, a watcher and a holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, saying, Hew down the tree, and cut off its branches, shake off its leaves, and scatter its fruit; let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches. Nevertheless leave the stump of its roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his heart be changed from man’s and let a beast’s heart be given to him, and let seven times (years) pass over him. This matter is by decree of the watchers, and the demand by the holy ones; to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will, and sets up over it the basest of men.”
The word for watchers is a name of angels. These are the angels who guard the souls of men. The term is used in Syriack liturgies of arch-angels, as of Gabriel. The word is “iyr” and is only used three times in the Holy Bible: Daniel 4: 13;17 and 23.
This angel was an agent of the Godhead announcing the decree of the Most High. with power to act upon his observations. The sentence was severe, yet not fatal as a stump remained.
Daniel’s genuine love and compassion for the King is evident in verse 19. He was troubled and grieved for one hour over the dream. The king encouraged him, telling him not to be troubled.
Nebuchadnezzar you are the tree. The decree is: You will become mentally deranged and men will drive you from your kingdom. You will imagine yourself one of the beasts of the field, eating and sleeping with them for 7 years, until you learn that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will. The stump left in the ground with the roots held firm by a band of iron and brass means that your kingdom shall be sure unto you when your lesson is learned.
The mental disease of Nebuchadnezzar is rare. It is called Lycanthropy (from the Greek word lukos, wolf, and anthroposman) because the person imagines himself to be a wolf, a bear or some other animal.
(Verse 27) “O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto you, break off your sins by righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of your tranquility.”
If he repented, it was pure lip service, for his heart was still filled with pride.
Verses 29-31: “At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spoke, and said, Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom by he might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom is departed from you.”
Babylon was a great city. The walls of the square city were 14 miles long on each side, making 56 miles around an area of 196 sq. miles. Around the city was a deep and broad moat full of water, and beyond that a wall about 108 feet thick and 417 ft. high. There were 100 brass gates. The houses were 3 and 4 stories high. Roads criss-crossed the city as in modern times. The city was built on both sides of the Euphrates. The sections were joined by a bridge 3,240 feet long. At each end was a royal palace, the Eastern one being defended by 3 walls. There was also a tunnel under the river. The hangings gardens were 400 ft. sq. riding in terraces planted with trees of various kind. The temple of Bel and other large buildings made Babylon the greatest city in the world.
Nebuchadnezzar claimed all the glory to himself and did not give glory to God. When he spoke thus in pride, it was the downfall of Nebuchadnezzar. It was God who had chosen him and given him his great kingdom. At the height of his glorifying himself, his mind snapped and he remained insane for 7 years.
All men will eventually know from experience that God is the Most High and sovereign in the earth and the heavens.
When the seven years were up, he was suddenly restored to sanity and began blessing the God of heaven for His mercy. His son was regent during his father’s insanity and he no doubt helped preserve the kingdom for him, which made possible the fulfilling of verse 26. “Whereas they (the angel watchers) were commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; your kingdom shall be sure unto you, after that you shall have known that the heavens do rule.
When the voice from Heaven spoke to Nebuchadnezzar, “at that same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar; and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles, feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
(Verse 34) “At the end of the days, I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up my eyes unto heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that lives for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothings; and he does according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What are you doing?”
Verses 36-37: “At the same time my reason returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and brightness returned to me; and my counselors and my lords sought to me; and I was established in my kingdom and excellent majesty was added to me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, extol and honor the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment; and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.
Nebuchadnezzar lived from 605 B.C. to 562 B.C. According to Babylonian tradition he prophesied on his death bed the taking of Babylon by Cyrus.
This is a story of the Lord’s sovereign choice of His elect, His dealings with His elect, and His free Grace to those whom He chooses. It is a witness of the sovereignty of the Lord concerning His Kingdom purposes for His election of Kings and nations.
Taught by: Pastor Carolyn Sissom
Eastgate Ministries, Inc.
Scripture from K.J.V. quotes from Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible.
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