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.