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.