BOOK OF DANIEL-Nebuchadnezzar’s Letter

Posted by on Jun 14, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL-Nebuchadnezzar’s Letter

Nebuchadnezzar’s Letter

I mentioned recently that many scholars and theologians consider King Nebuchadnezzar came to a saving faith in God. Rather than spend too much time in trying to answer this view let me say this. It is indeed possible that he could have but we simply do not know for certain. To anyone who is concerned with wanting to categorically insist in knowing, I would simply state this. If he was saved, that is wonderful. But if that be the case, does that provide any basis for your own salvation? Of course, it doesn’t. Therefore, my suggestion is to concentrate on ensuring you are doing everything possible by faithfully serving the Lord who has promised that those who believe in Him and are truly born again are members of His household.

To answer the teaser I left with you prior to this blog, as to Nebuchadnezzar writing Daniel chapter four, that is true. It is true in the sense that Daniel chapter four is Nebuchadnezzar’s very own testimony. Daniel 4:1 opens in the style of a letter saying, “Nebuchadnezzar the king to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth: “May your peace abound!” (NASB) Whether this was an actual letter or not, we are not told. If it was, then it was most likely recorded on a clay tablet written in cuneiform script. [Cuneiform script was one of the earliest systems of writing. It is distinguished by its wedge-shaped marks on clay tablets, made by means of a blunt reed for a stylus.] By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Daniel would have written what Nebuchadnezzar had written or said. Given the fact that it appears that what Nebuchadnezzar goes on to describe in Daniel chapter four were events that happened long after what we saw in chapter three,  it is unlikely to be referring to the same event as when Nebuchadnezzar had all the officials present at the worship of the golden image in chapter three. Indeed, what is described in Daniel 4:1 is a letter “to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth” which clearly denotes every person who was under the rule of the Babylonians. It is certainly more logical to assume that Nebuchadnezzar would have ordered such a letter [in the likely form of a clay tablet] to be copied and distributed across the empire of Babylon. Daniel would have had no problem in viewing the content of such a letter in this way. Nebuchadnezzar’s message of “May your peace abound” was not something foreign to the Babylonians nor used only by the Jews. Such greetings were used throughout the ancient world.

Daniel 4:2 contains a key difference in the text which to someone simply glossing over the verse will miss. But its significance is far-reaching. The Scripture reads, “It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which the Most High God has done for me.” (NASB) There it is. At the end of the verse, Nebuchadnezzar says “for me”. Why is that significant, you might ask? If you read the text in the thought that his utterance was the next thing he spoke or wrote after releasing the three young Hebrews from the fiery furnace in chapter three, then that is a mistake. You will recall he does bless the Hebrews’ God for delivering the three young men. Then he warns anyone who speaks against the Hebrews’ God of immediate death and subsequently promotes the three Hebrews to higher office. But he offers no worship to the true God himself at that point.

For my comment to make sense to you I would encourage you to read the entire fourth chapter of Daniel in your own time. By doing so, you will immediately see that Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration (which he repeats at the end of the chapter) is connected to what has already happened to him by the events contained in the chapter. Your reading will not encroach upon the exposition of the chapter, for we will detail the contents of the chapter as usual. But it will give you clarity about Nebuchadnezzar and his response to what happened to him and how he finally submitted to God. Those are the signs and wonders he is talking about, that God had done “for him”. He finally gets it! He has been fighting God all along and God humbles him. Neither do I believe that he is ignoring the events of Daniel interpreting the dream in chapter two nor the sign of God’s supremacy over the protection of the three young Hebrews in chapter three. But what happens to him personally in Daniel chapter four finally brings him to the realization of the one true God and his recognition that the Most High God – hence, his declaration the God has done it “for me”.