Daniel Article #17

CHAPTER 4
Daniel 4:1

Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

The first thing to note is that it appears that it is Nebuchadnezzar who is now doing the writing! It is the ONLY chapter of the Bible written by a Gentile king; be it by his hand or the hand of Daniel we do not know. It may have only been a decree that Daniel is quoting verbatim, but Nebuchadnezzar’s words.

Daniel 4:2

I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.

Something has obviously changed in this man’s life – “What about the life that’s showing I’m undergoing the change?” – Steven Curtis Chapman.

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs! How mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

This is being said by the most powerful ruler on the earth at that time! What a contrast to chapter 3 where Neb’s image of gold suggested that his was an everlasting kingdom; a total misunderstanding of his previous dream as interpreted by Daniel of a statue of gold, silver, bronze, iron and iron with clay mix. This most likely is written by the hand of Daniel by translating what Nebuchadnezzar says in the aftermath of these events.

Daniel 4:4

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

On the surface he was flourishing – like so many in this world, thinking that they have it all, not aware that it can all disappear like that.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I have no room where to store my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21; Matthew 6:19-21)

How challenging is Daniel 4:4 when compared to Luke 12:16-21. What does it mean to “lay up treasures? It does not mean to be foolish and squander. It does not mean to be fruitful. It does not mean to preserve for today but it does mean the future is not in one’s possessions.

Daniel 4:5

I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

God has a way of getting our attention. Even the hardest, most unreachable people in our eyes are never beyond the reach of God. I suspect that Daniel had been praying for his king and friend for some time, believing that God was able to get through to him. If there is no god why do so many atheist, agnostics, cynics, and politically correct societies spend so much time trying to disprove him by their statements, actions, writings, and positions?

Daniel 4:6

Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.

Daniel was well known to the king by now, so why not just call him? I think that Neb realized this dream was not good and wanted to hear a sugar coated interpretation rather than the truth. We see exactly the same with Ahab, king of Israel in 1 Kings 22:6-8 “Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat

said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides these 400 men, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat (King of Judah), There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” So the reason that Ahab didn’t ask is basically because he told the truth – and sometimes the truth is hard to take! I think that is why king Nebuchadnezzar didn’t first call Daniel.

This is why we often go to the wrong places for advice or sympathy. The “Oh woe is me” syndrome, but don’t tell me it is my fault. Just give me some more of my self!

Daniel 4:7

Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

This tells a story! In chapter two the Chaldeans were straight with their ‘dummies guide to interpreting dreams’. This is what they were famous for as we mentioned in chapter two. And this time the king even tells them the dream so it should be easy for them – but then again, they have had their fingers burnt by a certain Daniel too many times by now; even if they did interpret the dream, Daniel was bound to come along and tell them they’d got it wrong! They just were not going to take that chance. Notice they ‘did not make known’ not ‘were not able’. It appears that they didn’t even try!

Daniel 4:8

But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,

So finally king Neb gives up and accepts the inevitable. But who does Neb say came in? Aha moment – DANIEL! – that is his Hebrew name, yet king Neb chooses to use this in telling us the history of these events, adding his Babylonian name just in case anyone else didn’t know who Daniel was. How amazing that after all this time in Babylon (Daniel would have been about 50 years old by now), with so much pressure to blend into their culture (when in Rome do as they do ‘syndrome’) that Daniel retains his Jewish identity and the name that glorifies his God. But also not that Nebuchadnezzar still confesses his god by saying “according to the name of my god”; not the God with whom by now he was well aware.

Daniel 4:9

O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. Neb still gave credit to his gods…

This is an interesting verse because Nebuchadnezzar informs us that Daniel is ‘chief of the Magi’. Now the Magi [Bethlehem? Christmas Maji?] were essentially a Persian religious sect specializing in the mystical; so what was Daniel doing in charge of them? The Magi are a tribe that settled in Mede to the east of Babylon; i.e. Medo-Persia.

We will find out in chapter 6 that it was not something that was happily accepted by some of his contemporaries; but it appears that Daniel had converted this group (Tribe of the Magi) and told them about the prophecies regarding the coming Jewish Messiah. How do we know this? Because just over 500 years later, a group of these Magi travelled for miles across the middle eastern deserts to Israel to celebrate the birth of a baby that had been born King of the Jews! These Magi didn’t go to the stable but to Joseph and Mary’s house in Nazareth – we have been duped by tradition into thinking that there were 3 wise men, or 3 kings and they went to the stable. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! [Mark 7:13].

Also in this verse we have confirmed that king Neb knew that Daniel could and would be able to interpret the dream. What a testimony Daniel has: ‘no secret troubleth thee’, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

The Dream – Daniel 4:10-17

10 Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great.

11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

12 The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it.

13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;

14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:

16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to 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 4:18

This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

So Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to interpret the dream to him, and reiterates that the best of Babylon were unable to answer. It is interesting to note that even before Daniel has spoken on this occasion, Nebuchadnezzar concedes that ‘the spirit of the holy gods’ is in Daniel. Obviously he remembers the events of chapter two but has forgotten or refuses to admit he acknowledge “the God of Daniel”.

Revelation Study

A studyRevelation Study: Chapter 4jStark3

Link to additional PowerPoint Notes                               Revelation 4 & beyond

Chapter 1 of Revelation is about the past; chapters 2 and 3 are about the present. (John’s Day) From Revelation chapter 4 through 22 it is all about the future; the Tribulation and the 2nd advent of Christ. Recall that the seven churches in chapter 2 and 3 are Messianic churches of John’s time. The guidance offered in each letter also is for one wanting to live a Christ-like life; one that is approved of God.

We have completed our in-depth study of the seven churches, now we see the door of heaven opened (4:1). Some believe and I can appreciate their view that this verse is also a parallel to the Rapture. If this is so, we will see or live through chapters 1 to 4:1 then taken up to meet Jesus in the clouds in the rapture.

When a Christian dies, his or her soul and spirit goes to be with Christ, that is, in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:8; also see Revelation 21:3-4). Our body remains in the grave until the resurrection of those who died in Christ (rapture). Later, those who die(d) without Christ will stand judgment at the Great White Throne after the Millennial Reign of Jesus in Jerusalem. For the Christian, judgment is at the end of the Church/gentile age, just before the Tribulation… the *Bema Seat Judgment of rewards. This is one reason I suggest locating events like the Rapture at this spot in the book of Revelation (4:1-2). There are at least 4 or 5 reasons for identifying it here.

*Bema Seat Judgment is often referred to as Christ’s Judgment Seat of Christians. This is the judgment of “the good and the bad done in the body”. This includes our promised rewards (II Thessalonians 2:19-20; Revelation 22:12; II Corinthians 5:9-10)

  1. The location or timing of this event as recorded in Revelation 4 is right for the Rapture. Chapters 4 & 5 present a vision in Heaven. Chapter 6 introduces the Tribulation period. John, the last of the 12 disciple of Jesus who was still alive, is a fitting symbol of the Church being taken out of the world just before the Tribulation begins. “Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth“. (Rev. 3 v.10)
  2. The absence of any mention of the Church in the rest of Revelation indicates that it is no longer on earth during the Tribulation. There are 16 references to the Church in Rev. 1-3, whereas chapters 6-18, which cover the Tribulation, do not mention the Church once. Chapters 4 and perhaps 5 are departure chapters.
  3. The extensive use of *Old Testament language and symbols in Chapters 4-18 is an indication of Israel issues, not Church concerns or issues. This is understandable since the Church Age is the time of the Gentiles and that ends with the rapture. The Great Tribulation is the time of Jacob’s trouble also called the seventieth week of Daniel. Our Daniel bible study pointed this out. End Time is reserved by God for His final dealings with Israel. Some of these Old Testament symbols found in Revelation include the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, the altar, elders, censers, cherubim, seals, trumpets, and *plagues. *just as it was so of Israel in Egypt prior to their exodus from bondage and headed to their Promised Land so it will be at the rapture when Christians are taken to their Promised Land… Heaven.
  4. There is similarity between the events of Revelation 4 v.1-2 and other scriptural teaching on the Rapture, such as 1 Thess. 4 v.13-18.
  5. Perhaps another connection with the rapture is the fact that there are similarities with it and John’s many identities: A son of Thunder (God’s wrath poured out), John the beloved of Christ (as is His Church), and John was a part of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples plus, his name in Greek means “Jehovah is gracious.” So will Jesus be gracious by the rapture of His church BEFORE the Great Tribulation.

* JIV, the church age ends in chapter 3 with the messages to the 7 churches. It is now all Jewish (ick) history yet to happen.

None of the above reasons is sufficient in and of their individual selves to suggest that Revelation 4 v.1-2 refers to the Rapture of the Church. When, however, all of them are considered together, I am inclined to believe that this inference is possible if not probable. The Rapture of the Church is not explicitly taught in Rev. 4 but definitely appears logically and chronologically correct being at the end of the Church Age and before the Tribulation.

The 7 churches were ALL Messianic-Christians; established by former Judaism followers via Paul and Peter. From chapter 4 forward, the intent of Revelation is to explain and inform God’s chosen of the Tribulation i.e. Jesus revealed. It is not far-fetched to accept that this is a Rapture passage for the church then comes a time when the Israelites will finally recognize their messiah.

John is the seer and is writing about future events even in his day. What better way to allude to the Rapture at this specific time, particularly since it is located right after the description of the Church Age and just prior to the revelation of the Antichrist. Remember that John is called to heaven to witness these things, just as the church rapture will call believers to heaven and ‘perhaps’ witness these things yet to come.

I find it both comforting and definitive doctrine when I read Matthew 24:31 that the Book of Revelation is in reference to the reunited Nation of Israel and not the church: And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect (Eklektos: by implication; his favorite, chosen, elect; Israel) from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other (ESV). This may be the very same trumpet blast that calls Christians home to Heaven; rapture. Israelis will gather in Israel so that prophecy can be fulfilled when the nations of the world align themselves against *Jerusalem (*symbolic name for Israel and Israelis). To be fair, this verse could also mean the Christians from the four corners of the earth. I question this conclusion though because we are called to meet Christ in the clouds at the twinkling of an eye. No call goes out… just a meeting in the sky. (1 Thessalonians 4:16 & 17. Also see 1 Corinthians 15:52)

JIV: 4:17b states, “…and so ‘we will be with the Lord forever.’” If the Lord here is referring to Jesus Christ, this highly suggests we will return to earth with Him during His 1,000 year reign. We will be WITH HIM forever!

Also, look again at the opening words in verse 17. “After that, we who are still alive AND LEFT….” This specifically identifies those Christians who are left; i.e. those in Christ, not the entire world’s population. If it only read, “those who are still alive” it becomes a universal rapture of everyone. This just isn’t true. The Great White Throne judgment is their destiny.

On a third JIV (Jim’s Introspective View) note, the use of the word “behold” in Revelation 4:1 is an imperative. As a noun it would mean an essential or urgent thing. As an adjective it would be vitally important; crucial. This means Revelation 4:1 is a crucial turning point in what John sees. The Rapture???? The Tribulation!!!!! This is not a ‘behold’ that simply means to observe or look.

Might it also be feasible that the words “come up here for I have things to show you that are yet and must happen” will be true of the immediate 7 years after the rapture, things that are yet and must happen? Will we be able to see the rest of Revelation played out prior to the millennial reign but from the safety of heaven? This is something to think about, right? Don’t be too quick to conclude.

In Revelation 4:2 we read “in the spirit”. In the Greek this is πνεῦμα/pneuma. At first glance one might assume in the spirit means ‘apart from the body’. However, pneuma can also mean a mental disposition; a current of air. ONLY figuratively it means a spirit as one might conclude at first glance.

In Revelation 4:3 we once again see support for the Israel specificity of this book. It can easily be missed. John describes, in part, 4:3a “And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone…”

 

Look at the two stones; jasper and sardine. What is their significance? They are the first and last stones in the breastplate of the High Priest. Why they are listed in reverse order, jasper (last stone) then sardine/odem/ruby (first stone), I do not quite grasp. Its significance may have something to do with ‘the last will be first and the first last’ (Matthew 19:30; 20:16). It may have something to do with reading Hebrew right to left. PS: Odem is also identified as sardine or ruby. Each name identifies the same stone. Also, Reuben (Sardine stone) was the first born and Benjamin (Jasper stone) the last born. Another symbolism: God is the alpha and the omega. Possibly in that the jasper is the last stone, this is significant in that this is also “the last straw” in God’s timetable for His created earth. The End of Time is then upon us? Remember that “time” itself is a creation of God (Trinity) back in Genesis 1:4.
breastplate stones

 

Read right to left, top to bottom:
Reuben or the sardine stone is 1st. Benjamin or the jasper stone is listed last.

 

 

It would be easy to get lost in discussing the meanings of the different parts of the High Priest’s garb, but I will fight the temptation and stay in Revelation… (for now:).

Per the rainbow identified in Rev 4:3 we should be reminded of the covenants between God and Israel (his elect and chosen people; O.T.) and the Church (New Testament time of the gentile). After the deluge of Genesis 6-9, God made a covenant with ALL MANKIND; the rainbow covenant/promise. We find God beneath the rainbow council of elders John sees is seated in a semi-circle around the Great Throne in Heaven.

I hasten to take us back to the study of Bible Codes in a previous study and the meaning of each name within the Tribes of Israel; Reuben to Benjamin in birth order:

J.I.V. Reuben: Behold, a son will be born; He will love me but he will be unloved. Simeon: He has looked upon my affliction; He has seen my sin. Listen and obey him. Levi: Be joined together; share the Word of God over a great distance. Judah: Give praise to Yhwh, give thanks and confess sin [or] Dan: be judged of God. Naphtali: To struggle within [brings] self-inflicted wounds. Be swift. Gad: As a troop HE will come and prevail. Asher: [Be] blessed, happy in your good fortune. Dan: Be discerning in judgment, Issachar: There is a reward from God; Zebulon: a gift (zebed) or position of honor from God; (yizbeleni), redemption. [You will] Be paid your wage, be exalted. Your sins will be forgotten; Joseph’s two sons… Manasseh: forgetting the past; Ephraim: double will be your fruitfulness in this land of affliction; Benjamin: you will be on the right side of the Most High.

WOW! How much more direct need God be in His Holy Word and the direction he gave to His chosen people (and the church) via their very names put together as HIS statement and how things on earth will eventually end up. Note that there are 13 tribes as Joseph’s two sons added to the 11 brothers of Joseph equals 13.

JIV HUH moment. Might I be venturing too far off the coast of reality and the safe haven of the beach to think about the 13 original colonies; the 13 stars and stripes on our original flag; the war of separation between the North and the South with a President in both territories; the dollar bill with a pyramid on the left and a faint Star of David with 13 stars within it on the right; the fact that the eagle holds 12 arrows in its left claw and an olive branch in its right claw; the fact that the original colonies were semi-independent with State powers (confederacy) just as were the tribal territories of Israel under the judges; the fact that manifest destiny; i.e. predestination was the undercurrent driving American policy and philosophy per settlement of this land; that America was founded upon Christian principles and has now drifted far away?

Again, after chapter 3, the Book of Revelation is a pronouncement and revelation for and warning to the Nation of Israel, not the church. Perhaps the above possible bible code using the definitions, meanings and expressions of the 13 Tribes of Israel nails it as Revelation being about and for Israel AND the church.