BOOK OF DANIEL- The Return of the Motley Crew

Posted by on Aug 3, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL- The Return of the Motley Crew

The Return of the Motley Crew.

Nebuchadnezzar appears to have forgotten whom he could trust to find out about this dream that had terrified him so much. Given the fact that the first dream caused him to lose his sleep and this second one put fear into him, it is hard to understand at first why he summoned the same ones who had failed to interpret the first dream. He tells us in Daniel 4:6-7, “So I gave orders to bring into my presence all the wise men of Babylon, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the conjurers, the Chaldeans and the diviners came in and I related the dream to them, but they could not make its interpretation known to me.” (NASB) Here, Nebuchadnezzar relayed to those whom he had summoned into his court with the same result. Again, they were unable to make known the interpretation to the king.

Why on earth did Nebuchadnezzar choose these foolish unregenerate ones a second time? Due to his agitated state could he have frantically called them without remembering their previous failures? There are a couple of reasons that we could suggest why Nebuchadnezzar acted this way.

First, we should recognize that, despite our own thoughts, summoning such leaders in such a pagan community was the norm. Clearly, by means of the falsehood of their real master, Satan, they had performed spectacles in the past by their magic and conjuring tricks. They were experts in astrology which is meant by the word diviners. That is no different to what we see today in the plethora of avenues of those who claim to read a person’s horoscope. In Exodus 7:8-11 we have the well-known story of Pharaoh ordering Moses to perform a miracle to prove himself to him. Little did Pharaoh know he was simply carrying out God’s orders to Moses. The passage tells us, “Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “When Pharaoh says to you, ‘Prove yourselves by working a miracle,’ then you shall say to Aaron, ‘Take your staff and cast it down before Pharaoh, that it may become a serpent.’” So Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and did just as the Lord commanded. Aaron cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh summoned the wise men and the sorcerers, and they, the magicians of Egypt, also did the same by their secret arts.” (ESV) By secret arts, we should view this as referring to the secret ways in which they could fool a person. Magic tricks many of us have seen are generally done by the sleight of hand. Such secrets or tricks are kept secret by various magician circles who insist that such tricks are kept secret. The British Organization known as the Magic Circle has a motto in Latin, namely, indocilis privata loqui. Roughly translated it means “not apt to disclose secrets”. A more literal meaning is “incapable of speaking of private things”. Failure to maintain such rules can result in being removed from membership.

Whether God actually allowed Pharaoh’s magicians to turn their rods into snakes we are not told. If He did, then no doubt they would have been dumbstruck wondering how they had achieved it. In any event, no such thing occurred in Nebuchadnezzar’s case and here is the point of our study as to why that was the case.

Both dreams had been given to Nebuchadnezzar by God. No one could interpret them but the Almighty Himself. Daniel was the instrument of the first interpretation by God revealing the contents and the meaning of the dream. And Daniel, as we will see, would be the same person to interpret this second dream. But where was he? We will answer that more in our next discussion. Suffice it to say when we read verse eight we are told that Daniel finally entered the court. Either he was late or there was a reason why he arrived after all the supposed experts of the king had failed once more.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Boy, This Guy Has Weird Dreams!

Posted by on Aug 2, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Boy, This Guy Has Weird Dreams!

Boy, this guy has weird dreams!

I was having some fun with today’s title. In isolation, we could think Nebuchadnezzar had some weird dreams. That is what many unbelievers would argue. Or some would say “it’s just a dream”. But such comments ignore the Bible record that Nebuchadnezzar had already had a dream that you and I are likely never to have. His first dream troubled his spirit which caused him the loss of sleep (Daniel 1:1). This dream wasn’t just any dream but one that was specifically given to Nebuchadnezzar as a witness of the history of the Gentile Times and what would happen after. The dream, in fact, stretches from the history of mankind starting at Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian empire to not only the end of man’s rule, but further into eternity when Christ’s kingdom rule is never overthrown. One would think after God gave the interpretation to Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar would know that he could not affect any changes to the divine rule of God. If he knew that or believed it, he still ignored it.

Daniel 4:5 now gives us a startling contrast to what we read in verse four. Nebuchadnezzar tells us, “I saw a dream and it made me fearful; and these fantasies as I lay on my bed and the visions in my mind kept alarming me.” (NASB) This dream, many theologians believe, likely occurred toward the end of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The clue for that is verse four as we mentioned earlier in our studies. Notice the contrast between the two verses. You will recall in verse four Nebuchadnezzar is at ease and flourishing in his palace with not a care in the world. Suddenly, without warning, he has a dream that makes him fearful. The Aramaic word for fearful is deh-khal which means to fear or to be fearful. There is something which

is so formidable it gives one the sense of dread that something terrible is about to happen. Nebuchadnezzar was terrified by the dream he had.

Don’t get confused by the word “fantasies” in the verse. Two Aramaic words are used here. One is har-hor’ which refers to a mental conception or thought or to an image or mental picture. The other word is chezev which means an appearance or vision. Both of these words, which the NASB conveys as “fantasies”, are better explained as a mental concept or picture that appears as one dreaming for example. The fact that the word for appearance or vision is specifically used only twelve times in the Old Testament and all of those 12 times they are in the book of Daniel tells us that this dream was, in fact, a vision given to Nebuchadnezzar in the form of a dream. In ancient times, God used this means frequently of communicating a message to those whom He chose. Vision or visions occurs 103 times in the Bible with 86 of those occurrences appearing in the Old Testament. Likewise, the various wordings referring to Dream(s) occurs a total of 122 times with 114 of those also appearing in the Old Testament.

This dream that Nebuchadnezzar had was so lucid that it not only made him fearful but truly alarmed him. He could clearly see the dream. But a combination of what he saw and the fact that he did not know what it meant sent alarm bells off in his head. This word “alarmed” in Aramaic is be-hal’ which means to terrify, causing one to act in haste or hurriedly. It is connected with a similar word, bahal, which has a wider meaning – someone who is so alarmed they tremble and become agitated and vexed. Their heart palpitates rapidly causing them to shake or quiver.

We will learn of this dream in our next reading. Let us try and imagine Nebuchadnezzar’s thoughts when we read the passage insofar as attempting to understand the reasons he initially acted like he did. We have all had nightmares as a child or, at the very least, “a bad dream” as it is called. Our parents or siblings would comfort us until we felt safe to lay down again. Often the safety of mom and dad’s bed with their arm around us finally settled us back to sleep. For Nebuchadnezzar, no respite was coming. We will see why as we continue our reading in Daniel chapter four.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Exposition Resumed

Posted by on Aug 1, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Exposition Resumed

Exposition Resumed

As promised, I said I would exposit each chapter and verse of Daniel. We now resume that format from Daniel 4:4 which are the words of Nebuchadnezzar himself, “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and flourishing in my palace.” (NASB) Before I mention the points of this Scripture and its wider message, several things should be noted.

Remember, this is a narrative of “past tense”. We read in Daniel 4:1-3 of Nebuchadnezzar’s praise of the one true God. We mentioned that it is not surprising that the Babylonian record makes no mention of this. In fact, the Bible stands alone as the only witness to these events. It should be noted, however, that the Babylonian records of Nebuchadnezzar themselves hold little evidence of his entire reign, let alone the daily activities of the king and what befell him. The Babylonian Chronicle that mentions him does not include any mention of the latter part of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. In fact, they extend only to the eleventh year of his reign in 594 BC. So, very few events are recorded by the official records of the Babylonians in relation to Nebuchadnezzar. Some of his military exploits are recorded, many of which are supported by Scripture. His everyday life and later, the peaceful portion of his reign, is not recorded in the Chronicle.  So how do we know more about Nebuchadnezzar apart from the Bible? We read many of those details in the non-Biblical narrative of Berossus et al. Whatever were the sources of these ancient historians is lost to us but that is no reason to ignore or reject them.

At the point of Nebuchadnezzar being at ease in his house and flourishing in his palace is NOT the point or moment that he has been subjected to God. That occurs later in the narrative of Daniel chapter four. So, can we glean anything from verse four that is pertinent to our study? Indeed we can. We see God’s mercy. You will recall that God had spoken to Nebuchadnezzar first when He gave the king the dream of the image that represented the Gentile Times. God then spoke to Nebuchadnezzar a second time when He revealed what many theologians believe to have been the Son of God, in the midst of the fire in the furnace where Nebuchadnezzar had ordered Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to be thrown for not bowing to the golden image. Daniel chapter four and the narrative of Nebuchadnezzar’s own words become the third and final time God speaks to Nebuchadnezzar which, we will see, finally crushes him into submission.

Here is the point of Daniel 4:4. Nebuchadnezzar felt he was fine and dandy. He didn’t have a care in the world. He was enjoying the peaceful portion of his reign with wars ceasing. Nothing was troubling him. We learned that he devoted himself to building the city of Babylon even greater and that it was pleasing to the eye and had everything there to enjoy oneself. The Aramaic word for ease is shalah (the corresponding Hebrew word is sheleh). At ease infers to be at rest or feel secure. Likewise, both the Aramaic and Hebrew word for flourishing is ra’anan and it literally means flourishing or prosperous.


Can you relate to those scenes? Are you enjoying the “spoils” of your life? Do you look at your life through “rose colored glasses”? Do you feel at rest and secure? Are you enjoying a certain level of prosperity? With these questions, I am not condemning or even talking of the events we see on the news that startle us for a few moments and then we return to our everyday lives. Or the political turmoil many nations, including our own, face. But rather, I am talking about where your life is at.  I’m talking about our own little world that many of us create without a care in the world. We feel at ease and flourish in personal activities we choose. But in pursuing these things do we forget or, worse, ignore that unless Christ is central to our lives we may still be in our sins and a stranger to God. In the Western World, many people strive to have the best of everything. The best house. The best car. The best TV. The latest and greatest cell phone. The most money etc. A blind person may be walking along a road and feel at ease not knowing ahead there is an open manhole that he will fall into. His secure footing is gone in an instant!  This is where Nebuchadnezzar was at. He was at ease, resting in his perceived security. His prosperity meant he didn’t have a care in the world. How wrong he was. He had not subjected himself to the Almighty and likely had no intention to. But God had different ideas. He would show this mighty king of the Gentiles that there is only one ruler of heaven and earth and that He was the one to be praised. God could have left this king in his false ease of life. Not only is it a lesson of God’s majesty and His mercy but it is a stark lesson for all of us to acknowledge God as ruler of our lives for the mercy He extends to us.

Let this verse we have discussed today sink in and let us reflect if our lives show any facet of the attitude that Nebuchadnezzar had. If it does then we need to seek God’s help and ask for His grace and mercy in our lives. Only by our subjecting to God and accepting Christ as our Savior can we truly be at ease and flourish in the kingdom of the Almighty.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – God Humbles Everyone

Posted by on Jul 25, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – God Humbles Everyone

God Humbles Everyone

Prior to the non-biblical narrative that we have spent time discussing, we had read Daniel 4:1-2. Let’s remind ourselves of what is said. “Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth: “May your peace abound! It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me.” (NASB) In Daniel 4:3 we see why Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration seemed good for him to declare. He told everyone in his declaration, “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.” (NASB) Nebuchadnezzar is praising God here. Before we go on, we need to understand the structure of this particular chapter.

First, this is the last time we read anything on Nebuchadnezzar. His part in history and the Biblical narrative ends in this chapter. I mention this so you can understand the structure more readily. Some scholars (wrongly) assume that the first three verses of Daniel chapter four, which are contained as the last three Scriptures in chapter three in the Aramaic version, are correct. They suggest that it was the final declaration by Nebuchadnezzar after God saved Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (perhaps known better to us by the names Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuch gave them: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). But this is incorrect. At the end of chapter three Nebuchadnezzar praises the Israelites’ God (Daniel 3:28). In verse twenty-nine he makes a decree to those in attendance not to speak anything against the God of the three men. Finally, in verse thirty, he promotes them. These scholars conclude that Daniel 4:1 refers to the same people mentioned in Daniel 3:7, but it does not. They inadvertently take Daniel 3:7 out of context. You can see why when you look at Daniel 3:1-2. This passage details who Nebuchadnezzar ordered to be present to bow down to the image of gold. Daniel 3:7 is referring to this same group of people. Daniel 4:1 is a declaration to ALL the people who were under the rule of Babylon. Hence, the majority of theologians and scholars believe, as do I, that the first three verses of Daniel chapter four are correctly placed.

Secondly, while these verses are correctly placed, you must read them in the correct context. Nebuchadnezzar is relating the story of all that had already happened to him, which we read in Daniel 4:4-37. Before he relays the events that occurred and befell him, he is stating right at the start of his declaration (so none of the people misunderstand him in any way) that he is giving all praise and honor to God (Daniel 4:1-3). Some suggest he should have left his praise until the end of Daniel chapter four. But he already does, as can be seen in Daniel 4:34-37. I am persuaded that Nebuchadnezzar meant to, and insisted on, giving all praise and honor to God both at the end and the beginning of the contents of chapter four. The readers of this chapter should note that it is written after the events had already happened. When we recognize that, it will make more sense of how it is presented to us.

We have no idea as to the timeframe of this writing by Nebuchadnezzar and to whether it was written immediately after all of the events or a little time later, just prior to Nebuchadnezzar dying. It certainly was written close to the end of his reign. The contents at the end of the chapter prove this to be the case. When we move into Chapter Five Nebuchadnezzar has been dead for several years, which also supports the timeline of Chapter Four detailing the end of his reign.

What is apparent as we go through each verse is that God can, and will, humble all men. God can, does, and will establish whom He sees fit to appoint as rulers during this period of Gentile rule. Emperors, Kings, Queens, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Dictators have ruled and continue to rule by the order of God for the simple fact to fulfill His plans and purposes. Some may find it hard to acknowledge this fact in seeing how many of these leaders in the past or present have conducted themselves. But such thinking does not recognize the state of fallen man. There is not one person who has ever lived who has not been stained with the corruption of sin. Men have elevated themselves to where they believe there is no God. Some have even suggested that they, themselves, are gods and demand such worship. But every one of them is there for a purpose and plan of God. And every one of them, whether in their earthly life or the life to come, will answer and humble themselves to God in acknowledgment of His authority over all things. Nebuchadnezzar is a wonderful example of how God deals with the stubbornness of man. Rejecting God not once, not twice, but three times resulted in him finally submitting to God. Babylonian history does not record any of this record and we should not be surprised. They would hardly record a world empire and their monarch submitting to a higher authority. But there is coming a time as Paul told us in Romans 14:11,


As we continue our reading we will learn just how God humbled Nebuchadnezzar.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – The Final Analysis

Posted by on Jul 23, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – The Final Analysis

The Final Analysis.

We were left with two questions from our last blog. Did Nebuchadnezzar’s madness cause him to disappear for seven years? And did he die soon after he was restored to the throne?

For a direct answer to these questions, we are wholly dependent upon God’s word. When we get to the specific passages in our study we will see all that Daniel foretold, by the interpretation of the dream, came to pass. However, we do have some clues as to the time period when all of these things occurred. If you took my suggestion and read the entire contents of Daniel chapter four, you will have seen that Nebuchadnezzar is relating the dream to Daniel this time and not insisting that Daniel tells him the content of the dream. Thereafter, Daniel interprets the dream which identifies Nebuchadnezzar as the tree, his downfall, and sickness as well as his restoration to power. Some scholars postulate that this event may have occurred more than thirty years after Daniel’s three friends were thrown into the furnace. If this dating is correct then it would certainly be in the latter part of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign.

In our history lesson, you may recall that Megasthenes tells us that Nebuchadnezzar built the walls of Babylon in a triple circuit, diverting portions of the river Euphrates and installing a complex series of irrigation channels to provide water to the city. The walls were vast with some reports suggesting the entire length was more than forty-one miles. Estimates to its width vary from thirty-two to eighty-five feet. Likewise, the height has also been called into question stating it stood between 150 feet to well over 300. The specific measurements are immaterial. Whatever they were, the point is that they were huge. It is said that four-horsed chariots were able to travel past each other on the top of the wall structure.  Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar installed trees in the palaces which he called hanging gardens that were irrigated by water by a chain mechanism that took water up to the different levels of the palace. We know that during the early part of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign he was constantly fighting other nations and conquering them, thus adding to his empire. During the later period of his reign, it seems he paid close attention to erecting enormous structures and building in the hope of a lasting legacy. It appears what Megasthenes is describing is, indeed, the latter part of the king’s reign.

Josephus repeats the same narrative that Nebuchadnezzar “fortified the city with walls, after an excellent manner, and had adorned the gates magnificently, he added a new palace to that which his father had dwelt in, and this close by it also, and that more eminent in its height, and in its great splendor. ….. Now in this palace, he erected very high walks, supported by stone pillars, and by planting what was called a pensile paradise, and replenishing it with all sorts of trees, he rendered the prospect an exact resemblance of a mountainous country. This he did to please his queen, because she had been brought up in Media, and was fond of a mountainous situation.” Josephus tells us that, “Berosus……says in his third book: “Nabuchodonosor, after he had begun to build the aforementioned wall, fell sick, and departed this life, when he had reigned forty-three years; whereupon his son Evilmerodach obtained the kingdom.” (Flavious Josephus against Apion, Book 1, chapters 19-20)

Again, as I have said before, Josephus and others were reading writings (many that were fragments) which does not necessarily mean each event occurred one after the other. In other words, there are likely periods of time between each project. But what does this all have to do with the two questions posed at the beginning of this blog? Simply this. Daniel 4:28-29 reads, “All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king. Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon.” (NASB) We will discuss the following verses of what happened when we exposit those specific passages. Suffice it to say that this vast palace, adorned with a thriving plantation, was to please the eye of Nebuchadnezzar. Twelve months had passed since Daniel had interpreted the dream. Nebuchadnezzar had learned nothing. He was just as arrogant as ever. Reflecting on his majestic works he began to boast about all that he had done. Before he could finish his sentence his sovereignty was removed and he became like a beast in the field. If the aforementioned scholars are correct in their timing, then we are reading possibly anywhere between the thirty-third or thirty-fifth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. If the seven times were seasons then this may have been a period of three and a half years (the Babylonians considers “times” to mean seasons. As they only acknowledged two seasons in their calendar this meant three and a half years or seven times). However, Daniel speaks of times in Daniel 7:25. As we will see, this Scripture is talking about the future three and a half years of the Antichrist’s power during the Great Tribulation. It is, therefore, more likely that the seven times in Daniel 4 refer to seven actual years.

So, now to the two questions posed. Yes, he did disappear. And he may have died not very long after he was restored to power but still in time to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. In the possible time frame, his final portion of reign could have been as little as one year or as much as three or more. Scripture is silent as to the direct answer to this puzzle. It is sufficient to know what God tells us through the prophet Daniel. We have no need to know the exact time frame. While this has been an intense and difficult task I set myself (that has literally taken over a month to research) and while it may seem academic, there is, I believe, sufficient evidence to believe all of these events occurred. The ultimate proof is God’s word itself.

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