BOOK OF DANIEL – The Decision Maker

Posted by on Sep 13, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – The Decision Maker

The Decision Maker.

As we read Daniel 4:17 notice a shift of intent. The verse says, “This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.” (NASB)

Before we discuss the shift of intent, something catches our attention. It mentions “watchers” and “holy ones” in the plural. You will recall in verse thirteen only one watcher, a holy one, is mentioned. Now we suddenly have more. How do we reconcile this? For the most part, scholars seem to have skipped over giving any explanation of this. In my research, I came across Moses Stuart (1780 – 1852) who was a Biblical scholar, a pastor, and professor of sacred literature. He is known as “The Father of American Biblical Literature”. He was also known by some as the “Father of Exegetical Studies”. In his 1850 Commentary on the Book of Daniel, Stuart makes the point that the implied meaning, as Nebuchadnezzar understood it, was that the “watchers” referred to a council of watchers”. Nebuchadnezzar may have “understood this decree of heaven in language accordant with his own views of theology”. The Chaldeans had their own beliefs of their deities forming a council of watchers. Stuart goes on to say that, “The messenger, although only one of them (v. 10), employs the united authority of all in the present case, in order to strengthen his declaration. The declaration here is, that the whole sentence of humiliation, which had been proclaimed by a single watcher (v. 10), is a matter decreed and fixed upon in the council of heaven”.

How accurate in his assessment of the single versus the plural certainly can be debated. But I understand the point Stuart was making here. Nevertheless, at no time are we told there is more than one watcher who shouted the command to cut down the tree. The fact that several watchers, who are holy ones, decide upon the decree in verse seventeen should not and does not mean a council of angels met to decide upon the decree that was issued. What it does signify is unity of purpose of these holy angels carrying out the commands of God as His messengers. God is the only one who can make such a decree.

The shift of intent is clearly seen in the latter half of verse seventeen. While this experience in Daniel is spoken of referring to one person, it has application for every man. It is a lesson that we are all dependent upon God for anything and everything and that it is He who deserves all the glory and honor. It was/is a message to teach men that God reigns. It is He who sets up kingdoms and allows them to reign and it is He who pulls them down. The entire purpose of the message is so that people will know and recognize the true God and that He is the Most High and to acknowledge His authority and power. He is the ruler of men and can bring even the mightiest person down to the level of a mere beast of the field. It’s a message that completely levels our pride as nothing and meaningless. God is the ONLY decision maker for mankind.

With all the jockeying of government leaders trying to establish their political party as the leaders of government, they have won nothing at all. God has placed them in their respective positions, not themselves. It is their own pride, along with their debased notion that they can rule how they wish or decide to, that is their downfall. Thinking they can “rule” while rejecting God and His rule and commands is mere folly on their part. (See 1 Samuel 2:7-8; Job 5:11; Psalm 113:7-8; Luke 1:52)

The most important thing for you and I to take note of is the decree that says, “In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind”.  That means positive, decisive action on our part while the life and breath is in us.