Article #19 of the Daniel series

Daniel 4:32-33

32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

There is a condition known as Lycanthropy, coming from the Greek ‘lykos’ meaning ‘wolf’ and ‘anthropos’ meaning ‘man’, from which we identify ‘Wolf-Man’. Very few recorded cases exist yet extensive mythology has originated by the belief that a person could change into a wolf; this has led to legends of werewolf’s etc. that are found around the world.

A variation of this disease is Boanthropy where, rather than believing oneself to be a wolf, one believes oneself to be an ox or cow. It is this illness that most likely fits this situation. Myth and legend aside, there was a case recorded in England just after the Second World War. A man in his early twenties was admitted to a mental institution with all the symptoms consistent with Boanthropy. In his commentary on Daniel, Dr John Walvoord, one with whom I have a great respect, offers the following: “Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience with a modern case similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar which he observed in a British mental institution in 1946. Harrison writes: ‘A great many doctors spend an entire busy professional career without once encountering an incidence of this kind of Boanthropy described in the book of Daniel. Harrison therefore considers him-self particularly fortunate to have actually observed a clinical case of Boanthropy in a British mental institution in 1946.

The patient was in his early twenties, who had reportedly been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well developed on admission and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of average height and weight, with a good physique and he was in excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk outdoors in the grounds of the institution. His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns, of the hospital. And it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of grass all day long.

On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between grass and weeds. On enquiry from the attendant, Harrison was told that the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from the hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with other inmates, and his only drink was water. The writer was able to examine him curiously, and the only physical abnormality noted, consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse thickened condition of the fingernails. Without institutional care the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33. From the foregoing it seems evident that the forth chapter of Daniel was describing an accurate and attestable mental affliction.”

Of course the critics of the Bible say that this could never have happened, however Eusebius refers to a Greek historian called Abydenus who sites a case in 268BC of a man with almost identical symptoms to Nebuchadnezzar. Josephus also quotes Berosus, a Babylonian historian, who documented the case of a Chaldean priest at the time of Alexander the Great, who once again appears to have suffered from this disease. In the East India Company Museum in London there is a cuneiform tablet that has been discovered that is inscribed with details about Nebuchadnezzar’s illness. Yet further evidence to support the Biblical account was the discovery of what has become known as the ‘Prayer of Nabonidus’ found in cave #4 at Qumran (part of the Dead Sea Scrolls found between 1947-1956). There is little doubt that the author is none other than Nebuchadnezzar himself. The scroll reads:

The words of the prayer that (Nabonidus?), the king of Assyria and Babylon, the [great] king, prayed [when he was smitten] with a malignant disease by the decree of the [Most High God] in [the city of] Tema. I was smitten for *seven years and from [men] I was put away. But when I confessed my sins and my faults, He [God] allowed me (to have) a soothsayer. This was a Jewish [man of the exiles in Babylon. He] explained (it) and wrote (me) to render honor and great glory to the name of the [Most High God]…” (JIV NOTE: Soothsayer was most likely Daniel himself.]

*Some bible scholars believe this to be written as 7 seasons or periods of time. In this geographical area there are only two recognized seasons; summer and winter. If this is correct that would mean the translation would then read 3 ½ years.

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 honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:”

How often do we take ‘seven years’ to learn the most basic lesson that God is in control? So often our pride exhibits or unveils itself as worry, which is a declaration that we and not God, are in control. Oswald Chambers said: “If God is the God we know Him to be when we are closest to Him, what an impertinence worry is”. (see Matt 6:25-34 & Phil 4:6-7) Worry is simply a lack of faith in the one whose dominion is an everlasting dominion. What will be will be as “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

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?”

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What makest thou? The post has no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9) In short, we try to make God into something that fits our heart’s desire and will. Genesis 1:1 does not read in any translation…”in the beginning Man created an image of a god to fit his and her wishes in life.”

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me [like] thus?” (Rom 9:20)

Daniel 4:36-37

36 At the same time my reasoning returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Amen!

Nebuchadnezzar lived for about one year after returning to his Babylonian throne. The Jewish Talmud records that Daniel was the one who looked after Nebuchadnezzar throughout the seven years, and then saw him restored to his throne. However this time the king knew that ‘his’ throne was really only on loan! The Bible does not explain or define who cared for him but we do suspect Nebuchadnezzar was kept within the palace grounds.

Also we should remember the admonition by Paul: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all
godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
Who will [wills that] have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

(1 Tim 2:1-5)

Do not misunderstand this verse. ALL MANKIND will not be forgiven at the end of time, but all mankind will be judged. God wills that all mankind would follow him and be saved but man has a free will to choose.

Belshazzar.

JIV NOTE: In our next article (#20; chapter 5) we jump forward several years into the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar. Some translations identify him as “the son of Nebuchadnezzar.” However we know two other kings ruled for some time in Babylon. One of those short term rulers was a son-in-law, Nabonidus, from whom came Belshazzar. Belshazzar never was the actual king but was left to rule Babylon while his father, King Nabonides, ventured around the Middle East and Egypt with his armies. Odd as it may seem, Nabonides was defeated by the Medo-Persians and allowed to live. Very shortly thereafter, his son Belshazzar was killed in his palace in Babylon by the Medes.

Ruler Reigned Comments
Nabu-apla-usur (Nabopolassar) 626 – 605 BC Took control of Babylonia from Sinsharishkun of Assyria, ejected Assyrian armies from Babylonia in 616 BC. Entered into alliance with Cyaxares and destroyed the Assyrian empire.
Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar II) 605 – 562 BC Chaldean king. Defeated the Egyptians and Assyrians at Carchemish. Is associated with Daniel in the Bible.
Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) 562 – 560 BC Released Jeconiah after 37 years in captivity.
Nergal-shar-usur (Nergal-sharezer/Neriglissar) 560 – 556 BC Son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II. Murdered Amel-Marduk.
Labashi-Marduk 556 BC Son of Neriglissar. Murdered after being deemed unfit to rule.
Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus/Belshazzar) 556 – 539 BC Last Mesopotamian king of Babylon, originated in Harran in Assyria. Was not a Chaldean, often left rule to his son Belshazzar in a co-regency arrangement. He married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

Paul and Silas

The Bible often mentions earthquakes. If they are so, they are also a matter of secular records making these Bible records the same history as found in secular records. This series is designed to explore secular history, archeological digs [discoveries] and scriptural records of Biblical Earthquakes. This series will end with an article or two  on End-Time earthquakes. This is article number five in the series.


The Earthquake of Paul and Silas – Acts 16; Philippians; A Prison Letter

When we read the Book of Philippians, written from prison by the Apostle Paul, of an event recorded even in secular history. Many Bible teachers and scholars refer to the Book of Philippians as one of the “Prison Letters. [The other “prison letters” include Ephesians, Colossians, and Philemon] Acts 16:16-39 records the same Bible history. We find Paul and Silas in chains due to the fact that they had cast out an evil spirit in a young girl, slave, who was able to predict (foretell) the future. In the Greek it means a μαντεύομαι, manteuomai: a prophet, soothsayer, one who utters spells.

SPECIAL NOTE: It is only fair to inform the reader of this article that the time period of this imprisonment is debatable. Many Bible scholars and well-meaning researchers have affixed multiple dates and places to this particular event. Some suggest it was around 52 A.D. and some go as far as to suggest it to be around 61 B.C. My personal approach in historical research is to look up major earthquakes in this region and connect the dots with Acts 16:26…[NIV] “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken.” Secular historians and modern seismologist report such an earthquake around 58 to 61 A.D. in western Turkey near Ephesus.

We should keep in mind that Luke (supposed author of the Book of Acts) writes in Acts 16:16: “Once when we were going to the place of worship…” Note this is not at all specific to where this place of worship is and when it is. It is like telling a friend or group of people who are discussing particular life events that one of the participants simply starts in with the same introduction to the event s/he is going to explain; i.e. “Once when we (I) did such-and-such…”. It isn’t sequential, but it did happen sometime within his or her lifetime; perhaps as a teen, when just married, as an employee of whomever, while on a hunting trip or vacation, etc.
(Acts 16:20, 21) Paul and Silas’s accusers claimed “These men are Jews and are throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs unlawful for us as Romans.” The fact that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens was unknown to their accusers and the magistrates who gave them a quick and speedy kangaroo trial (read the event in the Acts 16:37, 38 and see the terror that came over their accusers once this fact was revealed to them).

The documented record from the Bible and in Roman and Biblical history states that these men were put in prison with leg stocks; something usually reserved for only the most dangerous law breakers. In case the reader does not recall this recorded history, Paul and Silas were accused of anything but the truth. They had cast out an evil spirit that dwelt within this slave girl. This evil spirit recognized, as is stated in Acts 16:17, “these men are servants of the *Most High God.” She followed Paul and Silas around town with the spirit shouting out this fact.

*The Greek for “Most High” is hupsistos. It means the “Supreme God.” This fallen angel (evil spirit) and agent of Satan had to acknowledge the fact of God being supreme even above its boss, ol’ Satan/Lucifer.

We should also understand that during this time in history the Romans who occupied almost the entire Mediterranean area allowed Judaism and its offshoot of Christianity as Romans thought it to be, to be practiced (and protected). Romans viewed it as just another cult or religion within the massive Roman Empire.

The Romans had many gods including one to “the unknown god” (see Acts 17). Some of the Roman authorities saw the God of Judaism as possibly the unknown god for which the Romans even had a statue. This means from the onset, Paul and Silas were accused of something the Romans did NOT object to AT THIS TIME. The Emperor Nero soon changed all of this.
Historical Note: The Romans and The Romans , during the time of the Maccabees, had made an alliance and agreement to cooperate in most of life’s matters. This secular history can be read in 1 Maccabees 8:19-21, 29. The conclusion… since the Romans initially saw Christianity as an offshoot of Judaism, what Paul and Silas were doing was within the law.

Back to the real reason for Paul and Silas’s kangaroo trial: Acts 16: 17-19… Once the evil spirit was cast out, she (the slave girl) was no longer influenced by the evil spirit therefore incapable of foretelling the future; i.e. the money-making business of her owners and the real reason for bringing charges against Paul and Silas. Consequently these owners of the slave girl were put out of business. This fact was never mentioned in the kangaroo trial of Paul and Silas.

A Reader’s Note: The reader should take a few minutes to examine the scripture surrounding this point in history. It is directly relevant to recorded secular history and the earthquake mentioned in Acts 16:26.

EarthquakeThe short of it (the earthquake; v26)… shook the foundations of the prison opening the doors of not only the inner prison room in which Paul and Silas were chained, but all of the surrounding prison cells. In Roman times, this would mean death to the jailor if the prisoners escaped.

The aha-moment in secular and Biblical history…

In all likelihood, Philippi was not the epicenter of this earthquake and it is probable that Paul and Silas were not in prison in Philippi. After all, Paul was writing a letter to them. It may only be a coincident of timing but secular records and historians write that a very significant earthquake sometime around 59 to 61 A.D., the time in history when Paul and Silas were in prison, destroyed Laodicea, Colossus, and Hierapolis. These three cities were totaled as they lay within a natural fault between them and the Aegean Sea; the Northern and Western Anatolia Faults; the Lycus River Valley (http://www.padfield.com/2005/laodicea.html). A look at a map would also tell us that Ephesus was well within the tremors of this devastating earthquake recorded in both secular and Biblical history. After all, they are not separate histories. There is only one history and these coincide.

Scientist and seismologists tell us that tremors can travel thousands of miles and up to speeds of 500 plus miles per hour. The destroyed cities of Laodicea, Colossus, and Hierapolis were only a 90 to 100 miles, or so, from the eastern shores of the Aegean Sea where Philippi is/was almost on the western shores of this same Sea. Ephesus was next door to these cities within Turkey.

Secular records from Pliny, Eusebius, as do the Annuls of Tacitus record the same event within a few years [plus or minus] the earthquake record in the Book of Acts.

Coincidence… perhaps? But the records of the Bible and secularists match quite well. But, don’t take my word for it. Study it yourself. Secular history and Biblical history are not two unconnected stories. They are one history (not a story) recorded as a slice of the same historical pie.

Also see links:
1. http://religiouslyincorrect.com/Articles/TriCityAreaEarthquake.shtml
2. http://www.padfield.com/acrobat/history/laodicea.pdf
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seismic_wave
4. http://www.friendsandheroes.tv/episode19_paul_and_silas.html
5. http://www.gotquestions.org/Book-of-Philippians.html

a) Author: Philippians 1:1 identifies the author of the Book of Philippians as the apostle Paul, likely along with the help of Timothy.
b) Date of Writing: The Book of Philippians was written in approximately A.D. 61.

jStark3