God chastened Nebuchadnezzar till seven times passed. God loved Nebuchadnezzar. Some would say that could not be. Oh yes it is true! For God so loved the world… God has always loved the world and always loved people. The problem was Nebuchadnezzar had become haughty and was attempting to get glory only due God. God did not want people to think Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Israel or Judah. God did it and wanted people to know he did it.
DANIEL AND TROUBLE
B y Delbert Young
NEBUCHADNEZZAR TILL SEVEN TIMES PASS (Daniel chapter 4)
Nebuchadnezzar Till Seven Times Pass
Scriptures: Jeremiah 27:6, Proverbs 16:18, Daniel 4:28-31, Daniel 4:34, Hebrews 12:5-8, Daniel 4:3, Daniel 4:1, Daniel 4:22, Revelation 7:1, Isaiah 11:12, Daniel 4:35, Colossians 3:3, Ephesians 4:27
Pride will cause problems in our lives
In this chapter it was Nebuchadnezzar who found trouble. Before we begin teaching, let’s talk about why Nebuchadnezzar was in trouble? The answer is pride. The chapter ends with a warning . . . and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. The NIV says, Those that walk in pride he is able to humble. Pride would be my taking credit for something that the Lord gave me the ability to accomplish. It had been the Lord who empowered Nebuchadnezzar to accomplish what he would accomplish.
Jeremiah 27:6 And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him.
Nebuchadnezzar had become full of pride. He walked in pride.
He was prideful in what he had accomplished. He said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built.
He was prideful in what he possessed. He constantly referred to . . . my kingdom . . .
He was prideful in his authority. He said he had done all in . . . the might of my power,
He was prideful in who he was . . . the honour of my majesty
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.
SIGNS AND WONDERS THAT GOD WROUGHT TOWARD ME
We find in this chapter Nebuchadnezzar found trouble. One day he was at rest in his house and the next day he was eating grass in the field.
At the time this event happened Nebuchadnezzar was old. Nebuchadnezzar had conquered the known world. He was incredibly wealthy and powerful. He writes he was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace. Though he had conquered the world and felt secure, the God of dreams walked into his bedchamber and into the mind of Nebuchadnezzar. God can trouble, torment, and judge the greatest of men with a single dream.
He had captured Egypt not long prior to Daniel chapter four. He took Egypt historically about the thirty-fifth year of his reign. Not long after this recorded event of Daniel four Nebuchadnezzar would die. We find that his son ruling the empire in chapter five. The events of Daniel chapter four happened late in the life of Nebuchadnezzar.
great signs and mighty wonders that God wrought toward me
Nebuchadnezzar had recently experienced a “life changing” and humbling ordeal. He wrote a writ throughout the empire explaining the ordeal. Surprisingly, he would give honor to the high God. The experience brought the great king into a relationship with the high God. All the nations in his empire had heard of the king’s ordeal. Nebuchadnezzar decided to write of the great signs and mighty wonders of God in his life.
The interesting thing is to Nebuchadnezzar God’s judgment upon him was the great signs and mighty wonders. This happened around 570 B.C. For more than twenty-five hundred years Nebuchadnezzar has acquired glory and honor for the Lord by declaring God’s judgment upon him.
This dream Nebuchadnezzar remembered well. The thing did not go from him as before. Again, in the middle of the night, Nebuchadnezzar summoned the wise men to his palace. Nebuchadnezzar told them the dream, but they could not give the interpretation of it. One would wonder why the wise men were kept up by Nebuchadnezzar. They had assured the king during the dream of chapter 2 that if they were told a dream they could give the interpretation of it (2:4, 7).
At any rate, Daniel came upon the scene and gave Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation. In the visions of his head, Nebuchadnezzar saw a large tree. The tree began to grow in all directions. It grew tall into the heavens and out of sight. The branches spread in all directions until they were out of sight. The tree produced shelter for the fowls of the air and beasts of the field. All were able to feast of the fruit produced by the tree. It was a wonderful tree. At this point in the dream, a watcher (angel) came from heaven and decreed to cut the tree down, strip it of its leaves, scatter its fruit, and chain the stump with iron and brass. Allow the chained stump to be wet with the dew and remain with the beasts of the field. The mind of the stump would be changed from the mind of a man to the mind of an animal. This would last for what is called seven times. The watcher said the matter was for the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.
Daniel was astonied (distressed) by the dream, but gave Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation of the dream. Nebuchadnezzar was the tree that had grown to be great. His empire stretched as far as Nebuchadnezzar could imagine. It had brought prosperity to all the land. However, Nebuchadnezzar would be cut down as the tree. His mind would be removed from him and he would have the mind of an animal. He would live in the open fields eating grass. The dew would come upon him. He would be chained to this decree for seven times.
Daniel told the king that perhaps if he were to break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. It is interesting that Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that perhaps he could lengthen the time before the fulfillment of the dream, but not terminate the fulfillment of the dream. Perhaps Nebuchadnezzar did some of what Daniel said, for one year later we find the fulfillment.
There are some things we can do to postpone the dealings of God in our lives, but we can never stop the dealing of God in our lives.
Daniel 4:28 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.
Daniel 4:29 At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
Daniel 4:30 The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
Daniel 4:31 While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
At that moment Nebuchadnezzar lost his mind and had the mind of an animal. He lived in the fields. He ate grass. His hair grew long like eagles’ feathers. His finger nails grew long like eagles’ claws. The dew fell upon him. At the end of seven times, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his head to heaven.
Daniel 4:34 And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
Nebuchadnezzar, one day was at rest in his house, and flourishing in his palace. The next day he had lost his mind and was eating grass as does an animal. Everything had been cut down in his life. Everything had been stripped from him, even his mind. His mind was chained until he came to the realization that God is the one that rules the kingdom of men.
This judgment is what Nebuchadnezzar called great signs and mighty wonders. This is far different from the way we are taught to express God’s dealings with us today. We only want to declare the “blessing.” Seldom do we hear anyone say how God blistered their fanny. Instead, today we blame every “blistering” event on the devil. Instead of giving the Lord God honor, we give the devil honor. Instead of saying, “I messed up and Daddy chastened me,” we say, “The O devil is after me.” If we would be honest, we would admit that we disobeyed and the Father is dealing with us.
till seven times pass
I am persuaded that the seven times could have been shortened for Nebuchadnezzar had he been able to realize earlier that the God in heaven rules. I believe the time could be shortened for us if we learn that it is the God of heaven and not the devil administering to us. How many times do we go through the same thing, constantly blaming the devil when, if we would recognize that God is wanting us to change, we could get our reasoning and minds back?
We are taught that by saying God is chastising me, we are expressing our lack of faith and that we are not “spiritual.” Maybe not spiritual, but definitely a child of God that God obviously loves!
Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth . . .
Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
God loved Nebuchadnezzar. Some would say that could not be. Oh yes it is true! For God so loved the world . . . God has always loved the world and always loved people. The problem was that Nebuchadnezzar had become haughty and was attempting to get glory that was only due unto God. God did not want people to think Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed Israel or Juda. God had done that and wanted people to know that God did that. So, God chastened Nebuchadnezzar for seven times.
It always touches my heart to watch a child be properly disciplined by a parent. I have a not yet two one-year-old grandson. I have watched his mother spank his hand or swat his fanny. The child would instantly cry, not from the pain, but because the person he loves the most has corrected him. Every time he will immediately turn toward his mother with tears in his little eyes and reach out to her wanting her to pick him up into her arms. How strange this seems to adults and adolescents. We take offence and bow up and become angry. A little child does not. His mother does always pick him up into her arms. She holds him close and once again explains to him what he did wrong in a way that he can understand.
He knew who wacked him. It was not the devil. It was his parent. It was not some demonic stranger that walked in and spanked him. His mother did not disguise herself as someone else and smack him. What a distorted view of life that would give. No, he knew he had done wrong and he knew who disciplined him. We must learn from this. Jesus did say we must become as little children.
Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?
Matthew 18:2 And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them,
Matthew 18:3 And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:4 Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:5 And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
Matthew 18:6 But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
The problem is that we do not want to humble our self. We do not want to admit that we are being disciplined by the person we love the most. We must learn to recognize the dealings of the Lord in our lives, both the rebukes as well as the blessings. We are giving our children a perverted image. Of course, that is what false teachings accomplish. False teaching brings deception. It is not some stranger disciplining me. It is not some demonic person coming into my life and chastening me. It is the Father. Why can’t I admit that? I can bow up and become angry (lots of good that would do). Or I can experience the conversion process and humble myself as a little child and, in my weeping because he had to discipline me, turn with repentance, reach up to Father, and allow him to hold me and explain once again to me why he spanked my hand or swatted my fanny.
I want to pray for people today. Some of us are going through trouble and situations that we have been through time after time after time after time . . . It is not a new problem. It is the same problem. I want to pray that we will be able to lift up our eyes and recognize that the God of heaven rules my kingdom. That he is attempting to teach me something. That we can humble ourselves with repentance and enter the kingdom of heaven and then be great. He so desires that we have our reason and brightness. He so wants us to possess life and that abundantly.
A. Three kingdoms
1. Kingdom of God (4:3)
2. Kingdom of men (4:17, 25, 32)
3. Personal kingdom – my kingdom (4:18, 26, 36), kingdom of Babylon (4:29)
Also three dominions – God’s (4:3); men; personal (4:22). However, the heavens do rule (4:26) supreme. The Lord God most high maintains the privilege to step into the kingdom of men, or any personal kingdom, and adjust it according to his kingdom.
B. Eternal kingdom
Daniel 4:3 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.
(NIV) Daniel 4:3 How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an eternal kingdom; his dominion endures from generation to generation.
Daniel 4:34 . . . whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
The kingdom of God is eternal (NIV). The kingdom of God endures. We do not need to wait for the kingdom. Jesus continually said the kingdom of God is likened to . . . The kingdom of God will affect every generation.
Daniel 4:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth . . .
Daniel 4:22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.
What was the earth to Nebuchadnezzar? What was the earth to the Bible writers? Was it a global planet as we think when we say earth? This is important because if the Bible writers did not mean earth as in global planet, then much of today’s eschatology is in error (that is a nice way to say “false teaching”). We can answer that by determining to whom it was that Nebuchadnezzar sent the letter and by determining where the great tree of his dream actually reached.
The event we read about in Daniel chapter four took place about 570 B.C. There were at that time civilizations in India, South America, North America, Canada, as well as Asia. There were Eskimos living in igloos in the Arctic killing wales in 1500 B.C. In 1000 BC people of the Adena American Indians were building great Indian (burial) mounds in the Ohio Valley. The Aztec Indians in Mexico had developed their own empire and civilization dating thousands of years back. The point is none of these people received Nebuchadnezzar’s letter. None of these were affected by the Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion that he said went to the end of the earth. The birds in Brazil did not land in the branches of the great tree. The buffalo in North America did not find shelter under the great tree. The essence is that when Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel and all the writers of the Bible wrote about the earth, they were speaking of their known earth. The Biblical earth has four corners and this is both Old and New Testaments.
Revelation 7:1 And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
Isaiah 11:12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
Why is this so important? Our modern day eschatology is always talking about the end of the earth meaning “global planet.” The Bible never speaks of the earth as a global planet. The earth was not thought of as global or round until the 1500’s A.D. The Book of Revelation King James Version uses the term earth eighty one times and world one time. Every use is the same Greek word ge. Never, not one time, is John speaking about the globe. If so, then his globe has four corners.
Nebuchadnezzar’s earth was the same area that his letter went. That would be his empire which reached north to Harran, south to Arabia, east to Babylon, and west to Egypt. It had four corners. Using this identical form of interpretation to the book of Revelation, we find that the absolute area that could be included into what John called the earth would be the Roman Empire. That would be Rome to Babylon and Turkey to Egypt. Actually John was writing of an area from the Euphrates north to Idumia south, from the Jordan east to the Mediterranean Sea west. That would be the land of Judah. Biblical interpretation is different from contemporary interpretation.
D. Powers of heaven
Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
(NIV) Daniel 4:35 All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: “What have you done?”
We are constantly told by today’s theology about a large devil who will develop his antichrist and will cause all manner of devastations upon the earth. So we fall for what is termed “spiritual warfare.” I believe that we have an adversary (1Pe 5:8). I believe we wrestle with we wrestle against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. But there is a tremendous contradiction with the thoughts that we have about this and what the scriptures say about this.
The Bible teaches that the devil cannot get to me unless one of two things happens. The Bible says,
Colossians 3:3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.
What does that mean? It means for the devil to get to me he must first find me because I am hid. After he finds me, he must get through the Father. I am a father and I am not going to allow anyone to walk into my house and attack my child. Neither is Father God. If the devil did get through God, he must then wade through or swim through the blood of Jesus. How deep is the blood? How wide is the blood? The devil cannot attack me except in two situations. One, the devil can attack me if I give him place.
Ephesians 4:27 Neither give place to the devil.
I must walk out of the protection that is provided for me. Two, I could be selected to be sifted, but that only happens by permission. The devil can do nothing except he receives permission. Satan had to ask to sift Peter (Luk 22:31). Satan needed to receive permission to even come close to Job (Job 1:7-11). We are hid (Col 3:3) in Christ in God. Do we see what Satan must pass through to get to us? So, where does all this trouble I have come from? The answer is found in Romans 8:6, 7.
The Lord rules the powers of heaven.
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