About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 4
4 is not actually written by Daniel. It
is written by Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel has incorporated it into his writings.
It was probably written around 552 B. C..
So ironically, we have a pagan gentile king writing part of our Holy
Bible. That might surprise some of
verse 1 we see the king addressed this comments to everyone living in the world,
or as weíd say it, "the known world in his day".
Nebuchadnezzar addresses his letter this way because he basically was
king over the whole known world at that time. He was addressing his subjects,
those he ruled over.
first statement that he makes is, "May you prosper greatly" which
would have been a normal way to open any public letter.
Heís about to acknowledge "the Most High God" in what he
says. Some feel at this point that
Nebuchadnezzar was a true believer and that they will see him in heaven someday.
I'm not so sure of that.
We must remember that the king viewed the God of the Bible as the highest
god over all gods. He was still a
polytheistic pagan believing in many gods. I
think that disqualifies one from being a true believer in the god of the Bible.
If it doesn't, then the modern
king gives praise to God as any good Jew or Christian would do today by
proclaiming that the Most High is great and mighty in His miraculous signs,
signs that he had experienced first hand. He
also proclaims that Godís kingdom is an eternal kingdom and that His dominion
endures from generation to generation, not like his own kingdom that he knew
would come to an end at some point. Again,
people can say the right words and still have a wrong heart and unscriptural
thinking. The king fits this
verses 4 through 9 the king tells how he was at home in comfort when he had
another dream that bothered him. Once
again, he called in all the wise men and this time told them the dream, but they
couldnít interpret it for him. So
Daniel comes in and is able to interpret the dream.
Why Nebuchadnezzar didnít learn his lesson and ask Daniel in the first
place is beyond me.
of the answer to this might be that although the king is now a believer in the
fact that there is a Most High God, he still believes in his own secondary gods.
He even says so in verse 9. In
verse 9 Nebuchadnezzar says that Daniel is called Belteshazzar, after "the
name of my gods". So you can
clearly see by the words "my gods" that he still believes in other
gods. He can't be a believer in the
true sense of the word.
in verse 9 the king says that "the spirit of the gods" are in Daniel.
Well, that is not correct. It
is the Holy Spirit of the One and Only God that comes upon Daniel and reveals
these mysteries to him. It isnít
even that the Holy Spirit in Daniel because in Old Testament times the Holy
Spirit did not normally reside in people as He does in believers today. Again,
the king isn't a true believer. His
head and heart is still a mess.
would make a good multi-culturalist today, or as I said earlier, a good Emergent
Churchman, because he has his own gods, but incorporates other gods into his
verses 9 through 12 the king explains the vision to Daniel.
He saw a huge tree that could be visible from all over the earth.
There was enough fruit on the tree to feed all mankind and animals alike.
Birds of the air found their homes in its branches and animals found
protection from the sun in its shade.
verses 13 to 15 we see a holy messenger come down from heaven and commanded that
this tree be cut down to its stump. The
stump and the roots would be left and would be tied with iron and bronze.
verses 16 and 17 we see the pronouns "him" and "his" in
reference to this tree. So it is
clear that this tree represents a man. In
the vision the holy messenger states that he will become like an animal in his
thinking and behaviour. He will live
with the animals as if heís an animal himself. The
pronoun "he" refers to the king.
17 tells us the reason why the man in the dream becomes like an animal.
It is actually Godís doing so that everyone of earth knows for a fact
that God Himself is the one who sets up kings and kingdoms, and what He has set
up, He can cause to fall. I've said
this before; we should understand that in whatever kind of political atmosphere
a nation finds itself in, it is God who is ultimately in charge.
The Bible teaches that it is God who works behind the scenes to
accomplish His will in the affairs of men and nations.
verse 19 we see that the dream and the interpretation perplexed Daniel.
It wasnít that he couldnít figure the dream out.
He was simply disturbed by what it meant.
Obviously Nebuchadnezzar saw that Daniel was perplexed.
He told Daniel not to worry about it.
Daniel wished that the dream applied to the kingís enemies but it
obviously didnít and that is why he was so disturbed.
see again here the character of Daniel.
verses 20 to 23 Daniel tells the king that the tree is the king.
His influence over the whole earth had grown just as that tree had grown.
Nebuchadnezzar was the most powerful ruler on the earth. He
was the supreme ruler over the entire known world in his day.
History can clearly backs this up as being factual.
verses 23 to 27 Daniel tells the king that God will send him to the animals and
he will act and live like an animal "until
seven times" had passed. "Seven
times" is understood by most to mean "seven years".
It is also a historical fact that some kind of mental illness overtook
Nebuchadnezzar and he did live and act like an animal for a period of time. We
see this in non-Biblical records.
the dream the king comes back from this state of mental illness and his kingdom
is restored to him. The whole
purpose of the dream and its fulfillment is to make Nebuchadnezzar admit to the
fact that he is not the pre-immanent one in the universe as he thinks.
It is God the Almighty, Danielís God, who sets up and deposes kings and
God did this in Old Testament times I believe we can be assured that he can do
the same today. God is still in
charge of nations and has the ability to put in place those He wants to be in
begs the king to accept his advice in light of this dream.
Daniel tells the king to renounce his sin by doing what is right and
being kind to the oppressed. Nebuchadnezzar
was far from kind to those he oppressed. What
Daniel was telling the king was that he should repent.
Biblical repentance is seen clearly here.
Repentance is more than simply changing your mind about what sin is.
Repentance is leaving your life of sin in the dust as you flee from it.
This is what Daniel was telling the king.
should note a Biblical principle here. Daniel
tells the king to "renounce his sins".
What does this renouncing look like?
Does he merely renounce it with words?
No, Daniel tells the king that the way in which he should renounce his
sins is to do right and to stop oppressing the oppressed.
The renunciation of sin must be seen in concrete actions.
verses 28 to 30 we see Nebuchadnezzar standing on the roof of his palace
admiring his great kingdom that gave glory to himself.
This is the fundamental sin of both the devil and man.
Lucifer once said that "he would ascend", meaning, he would
ascend to be like God. Man says the
same. Both the devil and manís
basic tendency is towards putting himself first and placing himself above all
others, including God. This is what the king was doing and acknowledging as he
was on his roof.
words he spoke twelve months after receiving the dream and immediately he became
like an animal with some kind of mental illness.
took place as a voice came from heaven issuing a decree, just as the king had
issued many a decree. The voice said
that heíd be driven away from people and live like an animal until seven times
had passed by and until he acknowledged that the God of heaven has final
authority over all there is.
not one hundred percent convinced that God installs and uninstalls every elected
official the world, yet if he does, it should take away some of the way many
Christians think about leadership in government.
Many speak very negatively against the world leaders, and for good cause,
yet at the same time, those we speak against might well be there because God
placed them there for His own reasons. We
therefore might want to think carefully how we speak about the ones God puts in
authority over us.
verse 37 Nebuchadnezzar raised his eyes towards the Lord in apparent surrender
and his sanity was restored to him. Then
once again the king gave glory to the God of heaven.
His praise includes the acknowledgement that Godís dominion is eternal,
mankind is but nothing, and God does what He pleases with the powers of heaven
and earth. Note that God does what
He pleases with the authorities in the heavenlies, as well as with the
authorities on earth. This means that even the satanic powers are allowed to
exist because of Godís will. What the king says here is Biblically correct.
closes by saying, "no one can hold back His hand or say, 'what have you
done'". No one can question
what God does. We accept it and give
ourselves to his plans.
chapter ends by the king acknowledging that everything God does is right and
just, and that He is able to humble the proud, just as He humbled
Nebuchadnezzar. We all need to
realize that God is just and all that He does is right, even if it appears to us
as not being so right and just.
we see the king saying here might be though of by some as an acknowledgment of
being a true believer, but again, as I've said before, I'm not so sure of that. Remember,
the king had said things like this before and he still believed as a
polytheistic pagan. He still
believed in many gods. We can't tell
it by this passage, but we don't know if he still believes in many gods.
If he does, he is not a true believer.
tells us that itís likely that Nebuchadnezzar died a year or so after the
events of chapter 4.