Article #21 of the Daniel Series

JIV NOTE: This article is rather long and for which I must ask the reader’s persistence. This section of Daniel is or has no natural break-point without breaking the context of verses 9 – 30. The website editor of this webpage article may opt to break it into two articles. We now pick up at the point King Belshazzar sees the writing on the wall; a phrase we often use in our modern culture. This is even true of agnostics and bible critics. They too use this phrase.

Daniel 5:9

Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

In verse 6 Belshazzar was troubled and his countenance changed. Now he is really worried (Aramaic = exceedingly terrified) and it is obvious. It would appear from the word ‘astonied’ = shebash (Aramaic), that his lords were ‘perplexed’ because of the king’s reactions. Wasn’t this the king who had thrown a party to demonstrate his invincibility? Now he has not only wet his pants in public, but has turned white as a sheet because no one can explain what this writing means.

We have seen the king make four major mistakes:

  1. Overconfidence Pride (verse 1)
  2. Open defiance of the God of Heaven (verse 2)
  3. Drinking to excess (verse 3)
  4. Worshipping false gods (verse 4)

Seldom do people in such open rebellion not know why judgment has come upon them. The king’s conscience had already convicted him before a word had been spoken. People are wise after the event, but arrogant before; thinking to avoid being caught is their only real concern. Just like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:15 “and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands” all of Belshazzar’s actions were an open taunt to God. We see that same incredible attitude with Antichrist in Rev 13 where he blasphemes the God of Heaven (Rev 13:6). There is HUGE parallels between Daniel and End Time.

Daniel 5:10

Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

The person referred to here as the queen is what we would understand as the queen mother, and from the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus, it would appear to be Nitocris, wife of Nabonidus and daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, whom Herodotus mentions as a woman of extraordinary prudence. However, this could have been Neb’s now elderly and widowed wife.

Daniel 5:11

There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

Having heard of the king’s problem she makes her way to the banquet hall and suggests Daniel as the man to interpret the writing. As Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter [grandmother?] either would have been well acquainted with Daniel and his exploits during her father’s reign, and seems to put in a public ‘dig’ saying that Nebuchadnezzar had learned his lesson late in life. You never listened to him in ‘your’ life yet alone learn the lesson he did.

LEARN

Daniel 5:12

Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

Maybe because Daniel cared for her father for the seven years of chapter 4, she seems to be fond of Daniel and presents a brief resume´ that is bound to impress. She acknowledges (in verse 11) that the spirit of the ‘holy gods’ is in him and boldly declares that he will shew the interpretation. This shows her faith not only in Daniel but in his ‘Gods’ – plural: Father, Son & Spirit, OR, perhaps she herself had not learned the same lesson of ONE GOD.

Daniel 5:13

Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

Daniel would have been around 80 plus years old by now, and it is clear from this verse that his reputation had preceded him. JIV: He also had not returned to Judah/Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, Ezra, or Nehemiah. The few Judeans that left Babylon upon being released was less than one percent. There are millions of their descendants remaining in Iran and Iraq today but most of them have since intermarried and forgotten their DNA.

Daniel 5:14

I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

Notice the pride once more of Belshazzar “even I have heard of you, so you must be something!” The question could well be asked, why Daniel wasn’t called to start with if he had such a reputation. My guess? Possibly for the same reason that is mentioned in the comments on Daniel 4:6, 7 – see also Ephesians 5:13.

Daniel 5:15-16

15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

So the king explains the predicament that the other ‘wise’ men couldn’t solve and offers Daniel rewards including to be made third ruler in the kingdom. The reason that third ruler in the kingdom was offered is that, as we have noted, Nabonidus was king, Belshazzer was appointed king of Babylon while Nabonidus was away, thus the #1 and #2 spots were already filled. This is additional evidence that this is a historically accurate record. Critics and ‘so-called (Wikipedia) scholars’ scoffed for years claiming that Daniel was wrong and must have been written many years after this time because no record had been found of Belshazzar being king of Babylon. However, competent research and archaeological discoveries have now completely vindicated Daniel and in fact have demonstrated that Daniel had to be an eyewitness of these events.

Daniel 5:17

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.”

Daniel, now much older and less concerned about political correctness, basically tells the king where to put his gifts! He will explain the writing and give the interpretation anyway. All through the book Daniel demonstrates that he doesn’t work for man but for God.

Daniel 5:18-19

18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy [grand] father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:

19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would, he put down.

Before Daniel starts to read the writing and interpret the message, he gives this self-edifying little king a history lesson about a real king who had real authority! Read on….

Daniel 5:20-21

20 (…) But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointed over it whomsoever he will.

Daniel explains to Belshazzar what happens to those who are proud before God and underlines the ultimate lesson: that the most high God rules in the kingdom of men, and he appoints over it whomsoever he will. Either Belshazzar already knew of the happenings to Nebuchadnezzar or he missed the history lesson per his family passing it on.

Daniel 5:22

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

The stage is set. Daniel knows by this time tomorrow all would end but feared not for his own life. Daniel already knew this was not about him but the end of this kingdom to which he had been brought as a captive teenager.

Daniel 5:23

But hast lifted up thyself against the LORD of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

Just picture this situation: In the middle of his big party, with a thousand of his lords present, a hand ‘out of nowhere’ writes on the wall. The king has an ‘accident’ and turns as white as a sheet. The best men of the land are unable to help him. By now word was out about what has happened. His mother hears about it, comes in and embarrasses him yet further; eventually an 81-year-old man is called who, in front of a thousand lords, criticizes him openly. We haven’t even gotten to the interpretation of the writing yet!

This is a classic case of God resisting the proud, and should serve as a graphic example that pride is an abomination to the Lord (see Proverbs 16:5).

Daniel 5:24

Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

Daniel now interprets the writing no longer delaying the preponderance of evidence. Time is short and even shorter for Belshazzar.

Daniel 5:25

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Rabbinic tradition says that this writing was in the form of an encrypted Hebrew code called ‘Atbash’.

This is not the only time that encrypted words are found in the Bible. In Jeremiah 25:26 there is another example of Atbash (the word Sheshach is an encrypted form of ‘Babylon’), and in Isaiah 7:6 there is an example of another form of encryption called Albam (there the word Tabeel is an encryption of Remaliah). Both of these forms of encryption are fairly simple forms of transposition, where one letter is consistently used to replace another.

JIV SPECIAL NOTE: Hebrew & Aramaic reads right to left – all languages flow toward Jerusalem! If we look at a globe with Jerusalem in the center, countries west of it write left to right, those east write right to left; this may be a coincidence, but then again..(?).

It would appear that Daniel was familiar with this form of encryption, as he has no difficulty in interpreting it before the king: (of course, he also had the eyes and help of God)

Note: Initially this may strike us as simply interesting, however when we stop to consider who the author of scripture actually is, the fact that God has placed hidden codes in the Bible is staggering. This is what the ancient Rabbis would call a ‘remez’ – a hint of something deeper. In a previous study we found ‘Bible coding’ by using names and their definitions to read as a paragraph and statement. This Bible Code is true of Daniel’s name along with his three compatriots.

Bible coding? What a powerful deterrent to adding or subtracting to a portion of scripture because it is difficult or unpopular, when, by altering the surface text (as many liberal and politically correct ‘Christians’ are wont to do) they may in fact corrupt the bible code. Subtracting from the Bible one inadvertently removes the code itself; perhaps even their name from the Book of Life! This gives me a personal and different understanding of predestination. If one is predestined to become a son (child) of God that is one thing. But… if one is predestined BE a child of God; that is something quite different. The same is true of translations. An incorrect translation will corrupt any Bible code hidden from the eyes of the casual reader.


Proverbs 30:5 states thatEvery word of God is pure. Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar”. Also read Revelation 22:19

David echoes in Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning.” If it is pure and true then there is nothing that we can add or subtract to improve it. We should simply fall before our God who has given us His Word, which we are told in Psalm 138:2 He has exalted above all His name! If blasphemy – the misuse of His name – is to be judged, how much more the misuse of His Word!


Daniel 5:26-28

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Thus king Belshazzar’s worst fears are realized, his time of playing games with the God of Israel is over, and in the most dramatic fashion.

JIV NOTES:

From this verse come two phrases that are still used today ‘you’re number’s up’ and ‘weighed and found wonting’. It is incredible the number of words and phrases that people use every day that originate from the Bible, yet most people have no idea, and worse still, no regard for this most incredible book.

There is a play on words here as well with the word ‘PERES’. In both Hebrew and Aramaic there are no vowels so the word would have been written as ‘P R S’ with the vowels inferred. However without the vowels the sound and meaning can alter. Take for example the words CaT and CoT. Without the vowels all we would read is C_T. And so it is here with Peres; if the ‘e’ (which makes the word mean ‘divided’) is replaced with an ‘a’ we get the Aramaic word for ‘Persians’! Surprised are you???? So was I during my studies.

Daniel 5:29

29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Not that Daniel was bothered; the kingdom only had a few hours to go! Besides, Belshazzar’s grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had already put him in charge of Babylon many years earlier [Daniel 2:48] Also, several years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:48 had already made Daniel the ruler over all things pertinent to the running of Babylonian.

Daniel 5:30-31

30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

So Belshazzar, as all proud people will be, is cut down. David said in Psalm 7:9 “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins.” Recall that Belshazzar’s father was away with the army of Babylon. We have little information as to what happens to him and his missing forces, but they were not there to defend Babylon. Some historians suggest he had already been defeated in battle with the Medes. This is likely to be why it was the Mede Darius who was made ruler in Babylon.

Psalm 37:7-13 says:

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plot against the just, and gnash upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming.” How true this was for Belshazzar who was made a public spectacle in front of his one thousand lords yet was humiliated by the God of heaven whom he had rejected.

God sweeps aside the mighty Babylonian kingdom, the head of gold (cf Dan 2); and in comes the Medo-Persian empire – the chest and arms of silver (Daniel 2). He did this in part as the Babylonians did not treat the captive Judeans with dignity or mercy.

There is some debate over the identity of Darius the Mede. We will deal with that in chapter 6. What we do know is that he was about sixty-two years old when he became ruler of Babylon in 539 B.C. It should be noted, that the first actual year for a Babylonian king was reckoned as their ascension year. What we would consider their 2nd year would therefore be their first regal year. Thus 539-538 = Darius’ ascension year; 538-537 B.C. = Darius’ 1st year.

Article #20 of Daniel Series

CHAPTER 5
Daniel 5:1

Historical Note: In chapter five we jump ahead in time (see the opening paragraph).. The previous chapter was the end of the life and reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Though Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar through his mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, he only ruled as co-regent with his less-than-royal blood father, Nebo nidus.

Doubts about Belshazzar (website Creation.com writes…)

Is this (hi)story just a legend, or does the Bible preserve accurate history? Years ago, some skeptics denied that there ever was a king of Babylon named Belshazzar, claiming that his name and story were invented by someone unfamiliar with true Babylonian history. But just when it looked like all the evidence was stacked against Scripture, a series of archaeological discoveries showed that Belshazzar did exist after all, and the details given about him in the Bible are profoundly correct.

https://creation.com/archaeology-belshazzar

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

In chapter five we find that Belshazzar is now king (not to be confused with Beltshazzar; i.e. Daniel). About 23 years have passed since Nebuchadnezzar died and the kingdom of Babylon has gone through a turbulent time. Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Evil-Merodach, succeeded his father and reigned for almost three years (2 Kings 25:27 / Jeremiah 52:31). His younger brother, Neriglissar, then reigned for about five years being succeeded by his son, Labashi-Marduk. He was but a child-king, who reigned for just a few months before being murdered.

Finally, Nabonidus, who had married Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, became king. History records that Nabonidus did not relate well with the people of Babylon, especially with the priests of Marduk (the Babylonian god). As a result of this, after three years, Nabonidus appointed his son Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, as king of Babylon while he himself took an army to Arabia, presumably to build sandcastles and keep out of the limelight! All of this political turmoil was just the invitation that a brilliant young military leader by the name of Cyrus needed. The Meads and the Persians were two great adjacent empires that had been steadily growing in power; however when Cyrus came along with one of his parents, one Persian and the other a Mead, it was the smoothing oil that was required to unite two fairly strong empires into one all-conquering one.

Belshazzar would have been aware that the newly formed Medo-Persian Empire was in the ascendancy and no doubt well aware that Cyrus’ army (under the command of his general – Gubaru (later to be crowned Darius)) was heading toward Babylon. So what do you do when you’re the king of Babylon and an invading army is approaching? Throw a party! Evidently Belshazzar was so sure that Babylon was impregnable that he simply shut the gates of the city and gave a great feast to a thousand of his lords to demonstrate his undeniable, if not foolhardy, confidence and incredible wealth. After all, he was the king of the great Babylon, Excellency of the Chaldeans and capital of the known world. If overconfidence was his first mistake, his second was soon to follow. P.S.; Recall that his father, Nabonidus, had taken the army with him into Arabia “to build sand castles.” The huge city of Babylon had but castle or palace guards for defense.

Daniel 5:2

Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his [grand] father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

Cf. 2 Kings 20:14-18; Daniel 1:2

Openly defying the God of Israel has never been a good career move – United Nations; European Union; PLO; Hezbollah; Hamas, Syrian; Iran, [USA?] etc. take note!

The United Nations

Daniel 5:3-4

3Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

Proverbs 31:4 states that it is not for kings to drink wine or strong drink; how much more so when that drink is combined with idolatry. This is begging for trouble and taunting God.

Daniel 5:5-6

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

This would be enough to ruin anyone’s party! This writing didn’t just appear on the wall in any old place; it appeared by the candlestick, the brightest spot in the room so all would see. It is easy to understand why the king’s face and continence were changed. Indeed why his thoughts troubled him. However, in case the reader is unclear as to the King James phrase ‘his loins were loosed’ – JIV: let’s just say he needed the bathroom but didn’t make it in time!

There is an undeniably humorous side to this situation as we look on; imagine being the only man in scripture of whom it is recorded that they wet themselves (or worse)! What makes this even more incredible is that this event was even foretold by the prophet Isaiah 200 years beforehand! “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut” (Isaiah 45:1)

No doubt this applied to Belshazzar as his knees buckled and let loose of all muscle control.

Daniel 5:7-8

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

As we saw in chapter two with Nebuchadnezzar, people are quick to turn to ‘religion’ when problems arise and seek answers from the ‘professional’ religious leaders. However just as we see here, they can seldom give or find the answers. Much is made in our day of ‘ordained ministers’ and so often these are the ones the world will turn to in the event of a tragedy or problem, even if only to seek their opinion. But is it not also true that so often these are the ones we see undermining the word of God and compromising in order to be seen to be politically correct? This should come as no great surprise, for those ordained and appointed by men will be answerable to men. In God’s kingdom it is very different. We read nothing in scripture of being ordained by the Bishop, but rather we read: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

I HAVE CHOSEN YOU!

For any believer in Christ, it is the Lord Himself who has ordained us. We are answerable to him. Paul tells us: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are” and why is this so? “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

Early in the book of Acts we read of the boldness of Peter and John, yet they were unlearned and ignorant men (see Acts 4:13). They did not have their theology degree from a ‘Bible’ college or seminary, accredited by a secular university that is rooted in humanism and evolutionary thinking. These were just two simple fishermen who would have struggled to get a job in many churches today, yet we read that they had been with Jesus – and that was all the qualification that was necessary!

A personal ordination from the King of kings rates immeasurably higher than anything that manmade institutions purport to offer.

We continue our Daniel series next beginning with Daniel 5:9. …”his countenance changed him.” Now THAT is a significant understatement.

Article #18 of Daniel Series

The Tree Dream

We just came off of Article 17 where Nebuchadnezzar had a horrifying dream (Daniel 4:10-17). The dream was one that 400 Babylonian advisers to the king would not or could not interpret. Verse 4:18 the king is asking Daniel (Belteshazzar) to give him the meaning of this “TREE” dream.

Daniel 4:19

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was *astonied (stricken dumb; ASV) for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

*Astonied means stunned or hesitant. Daniel was not stunned at the question or who asked for the interpretation, but at what he already knew was the meaning of the dream.

Once again, Nebuchadnezzar uses Daniel’s Jewish name, and then confirms Daniel’s Babylonian name so all would know to whom the king is referring.

Back in verse 9 the king confidently asserts that nothing troubles Daniel – that is, up until now! We will see in chapter nine that Daniel was familiar with Jeremiah’s prophecies in chapter 27:“And now have I given all these lands unto the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.” (Jer 27:6-7) This is another remarkable prophecy that accurately foretells that after Nebuchadnezzar (whom God calls ‘My servant’), his son [Evil-Marduk] and then his grandson [Belshazzar] will rule Babylon until their time is up. As for Daniel’s thoughts, if God had raised up Nebuchadnezzar for a purpose (that of bringing judgment on the house of Judah), what was to happen to him now? No wonder Daniel was ‘astonied’ [astonished, dazed]. And then there is the question of how exactly do you break this information/news to the king?

This hour must have been one of the longest of Nebuchadnezzar’s life; eventually he says to Daniel ‘Don’t let the dream trouble you (as well)’. If Daniel is troubled this is not good. Finally Daniel says in effect ‘If only this dream were about your enemies; but alas…it is about the king himself.

Daniel 4:20-22

20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;

21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:

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.

Thus what Nebuchadnezzar probably feared is confirmed, he is the tree. After all some time earlier he was the head of a huge statue, why not also the tree? It is the next bit that is of most concern to both Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar…

Daniel 4:23

And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Cut the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof 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 of the field, till seven times pass over him;

The ‘watcher’ from the context is an angel who comes down from the Holy One in Heaven. The important points in this verse are that the tree is to be cut down but the root is to remain. However the root or base of the tree stump is to be bound with iron and brass. (JIV) At the beginning of the verse the vocabulary refers to ‘it’ i.e. an impersonal pronoun, but by the end of the sentence the vocabulary changes to use the personal pronoun ‘his/him’. Thus this verse could be seen to have a double reference; firstly to king Nebuchadnezzar who is already identified as the tree in verse 22; and secondly the reference may be to Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion i.e. the kingdom of Babylon; will it rise again?

The reference to seven times is seen by most Bible commentators to represent seven years. In Daniel 7:25 and Rev 12:14 we read of time (singular) times (plural) and half a time. From the context we understand that this is referring to three and a half years (specifically the last three and a half years of the Tribulation), where time = 1 year, times = 2 years and half a time = 6 months. Thus Daniel is saying that Nebuchadnezzar is going to be cut down for seven years, during which time he will be covered with the dew and have his portion [food] with the beasts of the field. Some translations use the word “seasons.” This would mean the time of Neb’s insanity would be 7 seasons; i.e. 1 ¾ years. By traditional measures.

Is there a problem with their ‘seasons’ theory? YUP! The Babylonians only counted summer and winter as seasons. This would make 7 seasons or 3 ½ years. 3 summers and 3 winters PLUS one additional summer or winter seasons. I write (teach) but YOU Decide.

Daniel 4:24

This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

King Nebuchadnezzar was all too familiar with issuing decrees; now one had been issued against him by the highest authority that there is – the Most High God and he knew it. This had to be stunning to him. He was the supreme and is now discovering he isn’t. “The most HIGH…” Daniel calls recognition to God; not the gods of Babylon.

Daniel 4:25

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

Daniel explains to the king exactly what will happen to him, how he will be humbled until (whenever you see an ‘until’ in the Bible take note!), [until] he finally realizes that it is the most High who rules in the kingdom of men, and He will give it to whomsoever He chooses. This is the third time this lesson had been taught to the king (two warnings and then this pronounced judgment – see Daniel 2:37-38 & Daniel 3:28-29), on the previous two occasions he completely missed the point – this time he will finally get it.


Daniel 4:26

And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

Throughout this period Nebuchadnezzar did not lose his throne, an incredible fact in itself. And yes, he will learn his lesson this time. The obvious but not addressed is who is the “THEY”? What is even more amazing, he Nebuchadnezzar continued as usual for another 12 months.

We have free will but God has more than one option to convince us of something. This does not mean we will finally do it God’s way but it does show a merciful God who offers many chances or opportunities.

Daniel 4:27

Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.

Here Daniel pleads with the king to repent of his pride and iniquities in the hope that these events will be postponed or not occur. There was no immediate consequence to Daniel’s prophecy of 7 years. This gave the king plenty of time to forget what had been told him; perhaps even the dream itself. This is far too often the case with new Christians. Once a new born Christian prays for forgiveness, some wain in their initial joy. Psalms 51:12: King David pleads for exactly the same thing; a return to his initial joy in God.

Daniel 4:28

All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

…however, as king Neb himself records here, all this happened as Daniel had interpreted. Recall that this review of Nebuchadnezzar’s life and struggle with the One God is recorded by Daniel but from the mouth of Neb himself.

Daniel 4:29

At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

We know from 2 Peter 3:9 that God is longsuffering toward us; here we find that God gave Nebuchadnezzar a year to repent, but as Jeremiah records in 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” So one evening the king is out for a stroll looking at his kingdom and feeling invincible…

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 honor of my majesty?

Oops! Proverbs 6:16-19 says: “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Notice what is top of the list? A proud or haughty look; the look at the “me syndrome.”

Again we read: “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5) “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23)

In a nutshell, God hates pride. Pride was the sin of Satan (1 Timothy 3:6 see also Isaiah 14:13-15 & Ezekiel 28:14-17). Both James and Peter tell us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. It is not wise to put one’s self in a position where God is resisting you ‘cuz you ain’t gonna’ win!

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 [now] departed from thee.

The terror of this is almost unimaginable. However God through Daniel and a dream had warned him of this judgment a year before, so the king was without excuse. The same is true for the people in this world; God has given ample warning through His two witnesses; the law and the prophets (also see Luke 16:31) and has foretold the coming judgment ‘so they are without excuse’. Revelation 11 also warns of a time two witnesses in Jerusalem will preach 24/7 for three and a half years about turning to God and away from the antichrist.

The speed which this judgment fell should be a wake-up call for anyone ‘dabbling’ in sin.

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”.

Article #16 in our Daniel series

Daniel 3:26

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

King Neb gets as close as he can and spoke – not shouted ! ‘Hey guys, why don’t you come on out?’ All the people who had gathered on the plain of Dura are now watching something completely different than they were expecting to watch – yet this was what God had gathered them all there to see. Nebuchadnezzar thought they were gathered to worship him, but God had a different idea!

KING NEB

We have to wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego just delayed coming out for a little while. After all, how many times do you find yourself standing around talking to the Son of God in the midst of a furnace. There is a reality here also, that other people may look in at us in the midst of our time of tribulation and see that we are ‘not harmed’ by the flames. They may observe the peace and comfort we have in our suffering and wonder how we are able to cope. But as surely as He did with these three Godly men, God will bring us out of the furnace to glorify His name or take us home. Paul…”for me to live is Christ but to die is [my] gain.”

In verse 15 Nebuchadnezzar boasted: ‘and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’ yet now, somewhat swayed by recent events, says: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God. Slowly king Nebuchadnezzar is getting the picture, but as we will see in chapter 4, he still has some way to go! God is molding Neb into “his servant.”

But what a testimony to these young men, that because of their faith and trust in God, the most powerful ruler on the face of the earth declares that their God is the Most High God!

Only three come out of the furnace. Where’s the forth one? He stays in there waiting for you, so that you know that when you find yourself in the furnace, He will be with you.

ALWAYS

I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb 13:5)… but, might we opt to leave Him?

Daniel 3:27

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. God’s deliverance is complete – not even the smell of smoke!

We think so small yet our God is so big. Oswald Chambers, commenting on the occasion when Peter walked on the water to meet Jesus says: The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he simply recognized his Lord, and stepped out in recognition of Him and walked on the water. Then he began to reckon with the actual things, and down he went instantly. Why could not our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves as well as on the top of them? Neither could be done saving by recognition of the Lord Jesus. We step right out in God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and down we go. If we are recognizing our Lord, we have no business with where He engineers your circumstances. The actual things are, but immediately we look at them and are overwhelmed. We cannot recognize Jesus, and the rebuke comes: Wherefore didst thou doubt?” Let actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognizing Jesus, maintain complete reliance on Him.

Daniel 3:28

Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Peter & Paul both taught that we should obey the government, yet they were both put to death in Rome for civil disobedience. In Acts 5 Peter and the Apostles openly defy the Jewish leaders and kept publicly preaching in the name of Jesus despite being warned not to. In 1 Peter 2:13-14 Peter says: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” So how are we to understand this? Quite simply, we should obey and submit ourselves to every law of man unless it contradicts the higher law of God. Peter himself confirmed this in Acts 5::29“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did just that here, and what do we find? The unbreakable and eternal law of God (Exodus 20:3-5) has caused the fallible word of the king to be changed!

Daniel 3:29

Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. We should note that “everyone who” included the King, but he means everyone but him. He still hasn’t quite got it! He recognized that God can interpret dreams, now he recognizes that God can deliver; but he still has not understood that God is in complete control – it is He alone that rules in the kingdoms of men. At this stage he is really impressed with the signs and wonders (like so many in the church today) but has not truly sought after the source of those things.

Daniel 3:30

Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

One should ask; why did Neb promote these men? Was it there deeds or was it to excuse himself from his dastardly deed of the furnace and his self-exaltations? We find soon that he himself has not relented to God’s will.

Article #13 of our Daniel Series

CHAPTER 3 (article #13)
Daniel 3:1

Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.

As we move into chapter 3 some scholars place these events about 15-23 years after the events of Chapter 2. Whereas in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream he saw an image made of different metals descending in value, where the head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, we are now presented with an image made entirely from gold. The obvious conclusion from this is that king Nebuchadnezzar has taken the greeting wherewith he is greeted ‘O king live’ (Dan 2:2:4 / 3:9) a little too far! It would appear that in erecting this image, king Nebuchadnezzar is presumptuously asserting that his kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, seen by the fact that the whole image and not just the head are made from gold, and therefore this is really an act of defiance against the God of Heaven. As in the cartoon movie Finding Nebo it is “Mine; mine; mine!” He is trying to change the outcome of his previous dream made of Gold, silver, brass, iron, and a clay-iron mix (Daniel 2:31-35).

This chapter is very much like the events that we will study in chapter 6 where Daniel’s enemies conspired against him and duped king Darius into signing a decree that would entrap Daniel. These Babylonian-Chaldeans do connive.

It is amazing that people are so insecure and jealous of others’ achievements that they will seemingly stop at nothing to remove the competition. This is compounded when the ‘competition’ is either morally upright or just a sitting President of the United States. Those who stand for truth are seen as an irritant to a society that wants to be free from moral constraints. Jesus Himself confirmed this: If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own but because ye are not of the world…”, (John 15)

Paul reiterated this in 2 Tim 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

A cubit is the measurement from the tip of your finger to your elbow. Although this measurement varies among ancient cultures, it is usually regarded to be about 18 inches. This would make the image approximately 90ft tall, *9ft wide; a 9:1 ratio.

*about 49 square feet at the base.

The dimensions of this statue are more like the Obelisks of Egypt, and it may well have been that on one of his expeditions Nebuchadnezzar would have seen these erected to immortalize Egyptian Pharaohs and deities and thus became part of the inspiration for him wanting to build one himself. However, unlike an Obelisk, this was an image of a man.

JIV NOTE: Archaeologists have unearthed a 45ft square & 20ft high ‘base’ in the plain of Dura which many now believe could have been the base for this image, and would have been clearly visible from the walls of Babylon.

It is not out of the question that this statue was of solid gold. Archaeologists have also discovered a 40’ table in the ruins of ancient Babylon made from solid gold and 15’ high solid gold statues were found in the Temple of Murdoch; billions of dollars in gold.

Daniel 3:2

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Inside info: Sheriff in Chaldean is tiphday meaning lawyers; the legal system.

The king is obviously impressed with his creation. He calls for all the leaders and chief people of the land to come giving their wide eyed appreciation. There were about between 100 and 120 provinces in Babylon at this time meaning that anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 people could have gathered for this ‘grand unveiling’. From the end of chapter two we know that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego as they may be better known) were promoted to oversee the affairs of the province of Babylon, hence the reason they were invited. Daniel on the other hand we are told was “ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon”. Thus it would appear that Daniel was second only to the king. If this is so and Daniel has so much influence before the king, then why, we may ask, did Daniel not object to this gross act of idolatry? And why does Daniel not appear to attend this event? These are questions that we will return to later in our study.

Daniel 3:3

Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs (judicial system), and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

The fact that we have the same phrase repeated here suggests that Daniel is recording this event, by copying the decree that had been written by the king (or maybe a decree that was written for the king!).

Daniel 3:4

Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, Notice that this is a command from the king and to people, nations and languages – this is a diverse and mixed crowd from the known and Babylonian conquered world.

Daniel 3:5

That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

Six instruments mentioned – the number of man (6). Hmmmm?

Music and idolatry have long been close companions. Even today in church ‘worship groups’ it is so easy to put the focus on the music rather than the God whom we are supposed to be worshipping. Even some of the music in today’s churches (buildings) has a catchy tune but deliberate lyrics with no mention of God, salvation, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. These are NOT worship songs of God.

Much of the root of this problem is that Satan appears to have been the worship leader in heaven; heading up the praise team (see Ezekiel 28:13-15). It would seem that he has a great understanding of how powerful and manipulative music can be. Music is a gift from God and is intended to accompany our praise to Him (as even a casual reading of the book of Psalms can confirm), yet in the wrong hands, it can be used for evil with devastating results. Consider the lust, violence and immorality that are communicated to young people through music. Satan always distorts what God has made good. Satan also has a fake copy of everything Jesus represents. Even back yard gardens have fake plants mixed in with the good plants.

From what we know of history, the Babylonians had a love for music. This is prophetically seen in Psalm 137:1-4: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?” Odd that today we do that in churches. But, it is better said that we sing a strange song in God’s land.

Daniel 3:6

And whoso falls not down and worships shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Two things are out on the plain of Dura; the Image and a fiery furnace. The furnace may have been built for the sole purpose of melting and molding the gold for the statue.

Daniel 3:7

Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

…that is, all except three men who stood out like a sore thumb! Where Daniel was at this moment is unknown. The many nations mentioned are those who were in Babylon perhaps as ambassadors, visitors, or conquered captives.

Daniel 3:8

Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

Notice that it’s the Chaldeans again who had been humbled in chapter 2. The meaning of accused is literally: ‘chewed them up’ by their words. Oddly, the tens of thousands of captive Jews in Babylon deserted their God for Babylon’s god-king. All but these three stood for and by their faith. Might this be an example of End Time so-called church believers? I suggest YES.

Daniel 3:9

They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever. This is the greeting that the king wants to hear. In another sense, may your power exist forever. After all, is this not the intent of the gold statue?

Daniel 3:10-11

10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image:

11 And whoso falleth not down and worships, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

The fact they repeat to the king his decree leads some to conclude that they were the ones who had been responsible for getting the king to write this decree in the first place as a way of trapping these Jews. As we will mention and will again later, Daniel is not present at this time, and it may well be that, knowing Daniel was away on business, they seized this opportunity to entrap his friends. If given the probability that this is some time after chapter two, they may well have been plotting and planning this event for years. It had to take a good deal of time to simply build the image.

PS; Furnace is mentioned 30 times in the Bible (KJV), and always in connection with tribulation and/or judgment.

Daniel 3:12

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Archaeological discovery. One such example is in regard to Daniel’s three friends. An archaeological dig in the area of ancient Babylon unearthed a five sided clay cylinder now in the Istanbul museum with the names: Hananunu – which is the Aramaic for Hananiah, Mishael-Mardach – obviously a reference to Mishael, and Abou-Nebo, the Aramaic for Abed-nego; these men are mentioned on the cylinder as having a prominent place in the government, thus clearly identifying these men as Daniel’s three friends as recorded in the Bible.

They are accused not just for refusing to bow today, but for not worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s gods in the past – which the Chaldeans suggest is defying the king himself. This was not an impulse thing for these three men, but a predetermined purposing of heart that was made from the moment they got to Babylon – they will not be defiled! Other Jews of captivity may have also refused but were not the target of these evil men of Babylon.

Again, at the rapture of the church will there still be churches (denominations) with full houses? This is not a possibility but a probability. The church of Jesus according to Ephesians 4:5 and 6 is not a religion or a denomination. Denominations separate. They do not unite as that would demand political-religious compromise and correctness according to man’s law and standard.

Article #12 of our Daniel Series

 Daniel and possibly his three compatriot Hebrew buddies were standing in front of the King of Babylon. They are about to interpret the dream the king had that bothered him very much…about the future.

The Dream – Daniel 2:31-35

31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:36

This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Notice that Daniel says WE will tell once again including his three friends. This verse even suggests that they came with Daniel to tell the king of his dream.

The Interpretation – Daniel 2:37-38

37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

As we mentioned earlier, no subsequent king had the absolute power of Nebuchadnezzar. Other empires may have exceeded Nebuchadnezzar’s in physical size, but not in absolute authority.

Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream is shown pictorially on the following page.

The Babylonian Empire is shown to the left and the conquering Persians to the right (below).

Daniel 2:39

And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

The detail and accuracy of this prophecy is a thorn in the flesh to critics; for after Babylon (that had much gold), another kingdom did arise, but not with the absolute power of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. In 539 B.C. Cyrus of Medo-Persia conquered Babylon (without a battle! – see our coming article on Chapter 5). Cyrus was part Median and part Persian and so united the two factions into the great Medo-Persian Empire. Silver coinage became the currency of the empire. After the Medo-Persian Empire, history confirms that a third kingdom, wielding brass shields and swords, with stunning speed conquered the Persians and went on to take the known world. It is recorded that Alexander at only 30 or so years of age wept because there were no more lands to be conquered. After Alexander’s death around age 32 the Greek Empire was ultimately divided between his four generals, but it never had the same power as it did under Alexander. Eventually the Greek Empire fell to a fourth empire. 

Daniel 2:40

And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. Now we move onto the ‘iron’ nation that breaks into pieces and subdues all things. Even those with a basic grasp of history will be familiar with the empire that succeeded the Greeks; Rome. Whereas the previous empires took the best of the cultures and nations they were conquering, leaving much intact, Rome did not. The Roman Empire seemed to thrive on what it could destroy. It really did break into pieces and subdue all things. NOTE: Tradition/history has it that when the Romans came to town, they crucified the first 5 or 6 people they encountered. This went a long way toward discouraging ANY rebellion, even if none was in the plans of the conquered villages and cities. Crucifixion was common practice with the Romans.

I personally cannot but wonder if Proverbs 27:17 may have implications during this iron age and the future yet not played out. Proverbs 27:17 reads…

Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Did this iron period of Rome in fact sharpen the future Holy Roman Empire; the empire of the antichrist?

Article #8 in our Daniel Series

Article #8 in our Daniel Series

CHAPTER 2
Daniel 2:1

And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

The third year of Jehoiakim as we have already seen in article #7 was 606 B.C. This was the year when Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem, besieged it and eventually took the choice captives back to Babylon including Daniel and his friends. Josephus records that it was while Nebuchadnezzar was in Palestine that he got word that his father, King Nebopolassar, had died. In our way of thinking, Nebuchadnezzar actually became king in the autumn of 606 B.C. upon the death of his father. However the Babylonians (unlike the Jews) did not include the ascension year as part of a king’s reign. To the Babylonians, the first year of a king’s reign was counted from the first full year that he reigned. This makes 605B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar’s first year and 604 B.C. his second year. Daniel was taken to Babylon (as we have just noted) in 606 B.C. and we know from chapter one that he served a three-year apprenticeship before being presented to the king.

606 B.C. – Daniel’s 1st year in training – Neb’s year of ascension

605 B.C. – Daniel’s 2nd year in training – Neb’s 1st year as king

604 B.C. – Daniel’s Final year in training – Neb’s 2nd year as king

Thus it would appear that it was during Daniel’s final year as a trainee that Nebuchadnezzar had this dream. He would only be around 18 years old. This explains why Daniel did not present himself before the king when the king called for the ‘wise men of Babylon’. In fact, none of the men that Ashpenaz was training for the king would have been ready at this time, so those that presented themselves before Nebuchadnezzar would no doubt have been the men who had served under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father; and as it becomes clear, Nebuchadnezzar does not trust them!

Nebuchadnezzar ruled his empire and had complete authority; what he said went. There was no government or cabinet that passed laws. It was all down to what him and what he said (this is alluded to in the king’s dream itself). No succeeding Babylonian ruler had this power. We see in chapter 6 when king Darius (the Mede) signed a decree, he was bound by the ‘law of the Meads and Persians’ (Dan 6:16). Although he was the king, he was himself bound by the Medo-Persian law. Cyrus was King of Persia while Darius the Mede was a sub king (Satrap) of Babylon.

Daniel 2:2

Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

The king is so disturbed that he calls for his royal advisors, he is evidently not bothered about how this will make him look. He just needs to know what this dream meant. Many dreams are an amalgamation or merger of thoughts and images that we have seen that day, or in recent days.

Some dreams are simply because we had too much pepperoni on the pizza before we went to bed. In the book of Daniel, there are many dreams recorded in the Bible such as those connected to Joseph in the book of Genesis (Joseph’s own dreams per the stars in the heavens, sheaths of hay, the butler and baker in prison, Pharaoh’s dream). In Job we read:

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceived it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;” (Job 33:14-15)

In the book of Acts, Peter quoted from the prophet Joel who said: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17)

JIV NOTE: This should be taken to heart for those denominational ministers and religions who say such things as prophesy, visions from God, and dreams are only things of the past. This is a bit like global warmers who say the last ice age ENDED X thousands of years ago but without explanation as to when it ended or what was the cause. Prophecy, visions and dreams have NOT ended.

The magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were supposed to be experts in interpreting dreams. Archaeologists have unearthed books containing formula whereby they would take the key elements of a dream and come up with the interpretation. The magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were not just superstitious nut cases as we may think from our understanding of the terms; these were men of great learning and would have been highly respected. Babylon was famous for its science and discoveries. The division of the elliptic into 360o came from Babylon and was probably done so because of the earth’s orbit, which at that time may well have only been 360 days. Thus these characters were no daily newspaper horoscope columnists – yes they dabbled in the occult, but they tried to apply scientific method to their practices.

The magicians: – sacred scribes, involved in mystic writings and secret writings

The Astrologers – ‘Enchanters’, involved in séances (talking to the dead – and stars; Maji)

The Sorcerers – principally involved in using drugs and hallucinogenic; incantations etc. The Chaldeans: – the Babylonian priests.

Daniel 2:3

And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

So the king explains the predicament. Man is created in God’s image. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit just as we have a body, mind and spirit. Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled within him. He had a dream but couldn’t even recall it in as much as he was troubled by it.

Daniel 2:4

Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac, O king, live: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.

In the usual (and no doubt wise) way you address the most powerful man in the known world, the Chaldeans get straight in there and ask the king to tell them the dream and they would be only too pleased to give the interpretation – no doubt their formula books at the ready.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the original manuscripts the writing in this verse changes from Hebrew (which the book has been in up to now), into Aramaic (Syriac). It is significant that Daniel then uses Aramaic all the while he is referring to the Gentiles. Later in the book when the focus comes back to the Jews he will switch back to Hebrew (chapter 7, verse 28). Normally in the Bible we see the world through the lens of Israel, however in Daniel we get a rare glimpse at the world from a purely gentile perspective. Perhaps it also means that beginning in Daniel 2:4, the target market of the scriptures is to the gentiles of this world and End Time parallels.

Most people assume that the Bible was written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). In general this is true. There are parts in both the Old and New that are in Aramaic. Aramaic itself is closely linked to the original Hebrew and was a pictorial language; i.e. letters themselves were shapes – little pictures – that carried meaning with them. As with original Hebrew, their letter ‘A’ was written like an ox head and meant ‘strength’. Their letter ‘B’ was drawn like a tent and symbolized a ‘house’. Thus when you put the two letters together, ‘A’ & ‘B’ you get AB = the Strength of the House – this is their word for Father! We see this in the word ‘Abba’ Father. This is no longer the Hebrew in use.

Ezra was another biblical author who used both Hebrew and Aramaic, and in the New Testament Jesus used Aramaic words, such as ‘Talitha cumi’ spoken to Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:41.

Daniel 2:5

The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

There is some debate as to what Nebuchadnezzar is saying here; he is either saying that he can’t remember the dream, or that the ‘thing’ that has gone [forth] from him is the command to interpret the dream; it would seem more likely that it is the latter. J Vernon McGee states: This would be a rather extreme judgment, but you can see what the king wants. Frankly, a faulty translation of this verse gives the impression that the king had forgotten his dream. He hadn’t forgotten his dream. He knows the dream, senses its importance, and refuses to divulge it to the wise men. Why? He wants to get a correct interpretation of it. In the margin, the American Standard Version of 1901 translates “The thing is gone from me” as, “The word is gone forth from me.” In other words, Nebuchadnezzar is saying to these men, “I will not change my mind about this judgment I am pronouncing. Don’t beg me to tell you the dream—I’m not going to do it. You are going to come up with the dream if I am ever to listen to your interpretations.” The Berkeley Version has a helpful translation at this point also: “The king answered the Chaldeans, ‘This word I speak, I mean! If you do not tell me the dream and what it means, you shall be torn limb from limb and your houses will be destroyed.’” Nebuchadnezzar is putting fear in these men. They have to come up with the interpretation of the dream, but they first of all have to give what the dream is.

These wise men are fakes and know it. This is Nebuchadnezzar’s way of separating the wise from the wise-guy.

Daniel 2:6

But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. Just in case being cut to pieces and having one’s house made into a dunghill was not a big enough incentive, the king offers a reward for whoever can tell him the dream and the interpretation.

Daniel 2:7

They answered again and said, ‘Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.’

This was a real problem for them. They believed that they could interpret dreams – if they had them! But without a dream to begin with, they were well and truly stuck. A group of the scientists who believe that they have become so clever they don’t need God. They explain to God that they can now create life. God asks them if they could do it like He did it – from the dust of the ground. They look at each other and confidently assert that they could even do this, after all, the essential ingredients that we are made of are found in the dust of the earth. God decides to take them up on this challenge, so says ‘Go ahead then. Create life from the dust of the ground’. So the scientists bend down and pick up a few handfuls of dust to head back to their laboratory. All of a sudden God interrupts them, “Oh no you don’t. Get your own dust!”

Article #7 of the Daniel Series

Article #7 of the Daniel Series

Recall in our previous article that Daniel had just made a plea with his Babylonian trainer Ashpenaz. We learned that “An inscription was found on a monument that is now housed in the Berlin museum” confirming the person of Ashpenaz; the inscription reads: “Ashpenaz, master of the king’s eunuchs” confirming the historical (secular) accuracy of Daniel. Daniel did not wish to violate his Hebrew culture and Judaism.

Daniel 1:10

And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. The prince’s fear is certainly justified! As we will see in the following chapters, Ol’ King Neb had a habit of cutting people to pieces and turning their house into a dunghill! This was just too risky an experiment regardless of how much Ashpenaz liked Daniel. We should also note Daniel was with “others” in the same situation. They are not mentioned by name other than Daniel’s three other teenage captives from Judah we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Aben-nego.

Daniel 1:11

Then said Daniel to (the) Mel[t]zar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel,

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Not wanting to take ‘no’ for an answer, Daniel then goes to Melzar, that is, the guard– this is what the Jews call ‘hutspa’. This is a little like “mommy says ‘no’ so let’s ask daddy!” This is the young teenager character of Daniel revealing itself though he is Spirit lead life. The word “Melzar” is not actually a name but a position; a title. King James calls this guard a “steward.” Strong’s interpretation makes it similar to what one would call a “butler”; i.e. melzar

Daniel 1:12

Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse [vegetables & perhaps kosher meat] to eat, and water to drink. (Isaiah 61:11 – vegetables/pulse)
This time Daniel suggests a 10 day trial. Pulse is not like it sounds! It would be vegetables and possibly kosher meat, but not meat sacrificed to idols.

Daniel 1:13-14

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them [pulse] ten days.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating I’m not sure if ‘consented’ means ‘gave in’. The Hebrew word used for consented is shâma‛. It means to be intelligent about it.

Daniel 1:15-16

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

16 Thus Mel[t]zar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

Can anyone imagine how this went down with all the other Hebrew and possibly foreign captives! In all seriousness, this may have been the start of Daniel’s unpopularity with his colleagues that we see fester and grow in our subsequent chapters. He demonstrates that he is already a “take charge” guy and convincing. Again, note this verse states “than all the children” who were subject to this training. We also should note that the others in training did eat of the non-kosher foods.

Daniel 1:17

As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

We strive so often to gain knowledge but without much understanding. Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding [Desire then Action]. It is the Lord who increases knowledge and gives understanding. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Only a short while ago Daniel and his friends were being taken captive and led to a foreign land uncertain of their future. But like Joseph in Egypt they remained true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He gave them favor exalting them in due time.

Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Daniel 1:18-19

18 Now at the end of the days [3 years] that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Ps 75:6-7)

What's In a Name


What is in a Name

Notice that Daniel uses their Hebrew names! “We will not let go of the truth we know.” Perhaps this also suggests that the Israelites were God’s chosen from all mankind thus the use of their Hebrew names, not the gentile ones the Babylonians gave to them. This brings to mind the old hymn “There’s a New Name Written Down in Glory.” Perhaps the composer/lyrics of this song had insight we don’t entertain. Once we are saved we get a new name and IT is written down in heaven (Burl Ives wrote the lyrics to this song)

Daniel 1:20

And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. Ten times better? This can only mean they were standouts. This surely added to the contempt of three years earlier when Daniel convinced the Mel[t]zer for exception to the food they ate. Now it included ALL of the king’s magicians and *astrologers; not just the other captive Hebrews boys held for three years of training.

Next article we meet the magicians & astrologers again, but now in chapter 2, so we’ll talk about them there, but regardless Daniel was ten times better. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

*See appendix per astrologers.

Appendix

Here is an ahamoment for some and a reminder to those who have followed the articles in ahabiblemoments.com. Many times we read right through bible verbiage not catching its total context. History is not comprised of the bible as a religion and culture or nations and history. They are one and the same thing. The bible records history just as a study in high school or college would be if the topic was Middle East History. The following comes from the History of the Medes, neighbors of the Babylonians and Persians.

The Medes were an people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin who inhabited the western and north-western portion of present-day Iran. [Babylon would be near the eastern portion of present-day Iran (Persia) but in Iraq] By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes were able to establish an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Today’s population of the western part of the Iranian Plateau (including many Persian-speakers, Kurds and Azeris) consider themselves to be descended from the ancient Medes.

Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is almost entirely unknown. It was most likely similar to the Avestan and Scythian languages. [Scyths are descended from dispersed Jews from Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. Many are those who remained behind after the Judeans were released by King Cyrus of Babylon to return to their homelands. Take note of the six tribes that made up the people of the Medes. Pay particular attention to the sixth tribe listed below. Now think of the birth days of Jesus]

The Six Median Tribes
Herodotus lists the names of six Mede tribes or castes. Some of these are similar to tribal names of the Scythians, suggesting a definitive link between these two groups.

  • The Busae group is thought to derive from the Persian term buza meaning indigenous (i.e. not Iranian). Whether this was based on an originally Iranian term, or their own name, is unknown.
  • The second group is called the Paraetaceni, or Parae-tak-(eni) in Persian, and denotes nomadic inhabitants of the mountains of Paraetacene. This name recalls the Scythian Para-la-ti, the people of Kolaxis, believed to represent the common people in general, but whom Herodotus calls the “Royal Scythians”.
  • The third group is called Strukhat.
  • The fourth group is the Arizanti, whose name is derived from the words Arya (noble), and Zantu (tribe, clan).
  • The fifth group were the Budii, found also among the Black Sea Scythians as Budi-ni. Buddha was of the tribe Budha, the Saka (eastern Scythian) form of the name.
  • The sixth tribe were the Magi…They were a hereditary caste of priests of the Zurvanism religion that evolved out of Zoroastrianism [astrology]. The name Magi implies a link with the Sumerians, who called their language Emegir, over time becoming simplified to Magi. Hungarian tradition also traces pre-European Magyar (Hungarian) ancestry back to the Magi. In time, the Sumerian-influenced religion of the Magi was suppressed in favor of a more purely Iranian form of Zoroastrianism, itself evolved from its somewhat dualist beginnings into the monotheistic faith that it is today (also known as Parsi-ism).

Article 5: Daniel 1:1

From this point on these articles will be verse or section by section. Historical perspective will be included to help understand what was going on in the lives of God’s chosen people and other nations at this time.

Jstark

CHAPTER 1
Daniel 1:1

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

The book of Daniel opens with an historical statement. Critics of the Bible and of the book of Daniel in particular have questioned the historical accuracy of this statement on two counts; firstly, they say, there is no record of the siege other than this verse, therefore, they conclude, it could not have happened. Secondly, they say that in the third year of Jehoiakim, Nebuchadnezzar was not yet king, yet Daniel declares him ‘king of Babylon’.

As regards to the siege; we know from Daniel chapter two that Daniel was in Babylon by the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, and that by then he had been there for three years; so how else did he get there if this siege is supposed not to have occurred? The truth is that these objections have now been thoroughly refuted by archaeological discoveries and competent scholarship. The writings of Berosus and Josephus, along with the accounts in Kings, Chronicles and Daniel all support the fact that Nebuchadnezzar did come into Palestine early in the reign of king Jehiokim; Berosus and Josephus also agrees with the Books of 1 & 2 Chronicles and Daniel in affirming that captives were taken from Judea to Babylon during this time.

Regarding when Nebuchadnezzar became king, it is true that Nebuchadnezzar did not officially become king until after he had laid siege to Jerusalem. Josephus records that Nebopolassar died while Nebuchadnezzar was in Palestine (606B.C.), thus by the Babylonian way of reckoning, Nebuchadnezzar’s first year would have been 605 B.C. (the year of ascension was not counted, being the final year of the previous king). So was Daniel wrong to call Nebuchadnezzar ‘king of Babylon’ before he was in fact crowned king? Of course not, Daniel was not writing a running commentary and in all likelihood did not start writing immediately when he was taken captive as a teenager to Babylon. Thus for Daniel to write about events that had taken place and refer to Nebuchadnezzar as ‘king’ would be no different than us talking about what Queen Elizabeth of England did as a child, when in fact she was an adult before she actually received the title of Queen. If this were not a satisfactory answer (which it is) then appeal can be made to the manor and custom of the time, of which we now have ample evidence, to show that the king designate could also be properly referred to as ‘king’ while his father was still alive and reigning (another example of this occurs with Belshazzar in Daniel chapter 5).

Critics of the Bible are much like a man who cannot do a crossword puzzle so he blames the puzzle or the designer of the puzzle. It would be foolish to claim that the puzzle was in error simply because of a lack of understanding. There is a beautiful simplicity in the Bible when one trusts it. Paul suggests that God does this on purpose to trap the so-called wise in their supposed wisdom: “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain.” (1 Corinthians 3:18-20)

It is a fool who fights against a two edged sword with nothing more than convincing words” (Anonymous)

Whenever you meet a supposed contradiction in the Bible, don’t just reject it, search for the answer and, more often than not, it will reveal a fascinating insight. “It is the glory of God to conceal things: but the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2).

Daniel 1:2

And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand ..

This is an incredible statement of faith on the part of Daniel. Israel had been living in fear of the Babylonians, fueled mainly by Babylon’s conquest of the surrounding nations, but no doubt added to by prophets like Jeremiah and Habakkuk who repeatedly warned that God was going to use the king of Babylon to judge Israel. God told Habakkuk “I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans 9aka Babylonians), that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwelling places that are not theirs.” (Hab1:5-6). Jeremiah prophesied:this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. (Jeremiah 25:11) When Habakkuk and Jeremiah prophesied this, Babylon was nothing more than just a city state of the then great Assyrian Empire. This is partly why so many false prophets had risen up who didn’t want to bother with all this ‘doom and gloom’ prophecy stuff; who takes prophecies literally anyway? That’s just for the fundamentalists, right? – Sound like today’s religious institutions?

Well Daniel was a fundamentalist and he believed that prophecies should be taken seriously; God says what He means and means what he says! As a matter of fact Jeremiah was a fundamentalist as well! He even spoke out against the liberal theologians of his day – no wonder he was unpopular, he obviously didn’t know that it’s not politically correct to criticize others in public – he said:Then I said: “Ah, Lord GOD, behold, the prophets say to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place.'”

And the LORD said to me: “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds.” (Jeremiah 14:13-15).

The parallels with today’s church are uncanny. In Jeremiah’s day the great spiritual leaders were going around telling everyone ‘peace, peace’ but as Jeremiah said: ‘there is no peace’ (Jeremiah 6:13-14). Today on God TV and TBN (not that I have found on SBN) it’s the same; we have spiritual leaders telling countless viewers that we are heading for a time of peace and prosperity, a great revival is coming and the church will win the world! Apparently we will unite with our Catholic and Muslim brothers and sisters and there will be peace and unity! – I don’t think so!!! Fact is…I KNOW so.

TAKE CLOSE NOTE: Just as in Jeremiah’s day, judgment is coming: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). Jesus warned us in Matthew 13 that prior to the wheat being gathered into His barn (a picture of the Rapture), the tares in the church (false prophets and deceivers) would be gathered together into bundles to be burned.

Thus we see here an incredible model. Jeremiah had told the people that they would be safe if they trusted God and left Jerusalem when the time came. Those who despise, reject, or deny the prophecies would be destroyed. Today, those who are trusting in Jesus alone for their salvation and are ready and waiting will be taken to His Father’s house where they will be safe (John14:3; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). Those trusting in their church attendance or *denomination, or 5-step peace program by which they hope to gain the world ‘saying peace, peace when there is no peace’ – these will be cast into tribulation, where there will be no spiritual light, just anguish and pain. This is just scratching the surface of a vitally important topic. Consider seriously the ancient collapse of the Jewish nation, divided into two kingdoms, then gone. It was brought about by compromise and idolatry, and compare it to the church in the days we are living in; i.e. the time of the Gentiles. If God judged Israel as we read; do we honestly expect the God who is the same yesterday, today and to turn a blind eye to a church that openly embraces things that are an abomination to God?

*This will undoubtedly infuriate many but here is the asterix parallel. Today’s denominations, a dividing of “the church” puts each denomination at odds. Simply put (and here comes the anger) denominations put themselves above or the equal to the only church as Jesus intended. Since it comes before the church Jesus intended, it is now a idol to which affiliates cling and bow at the knee defending to the hilt his or her “denomination.” Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:20; Ephesians 4: 4 & 5

Despite how it seemed on the surface, because he trusted God’s word through the mouths of the prophets, Daniel knew that God was very much in control and so he says: “the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his (Nebuchadnezzar’s) hand”. This was no accident or haphazard event.

Nubuchadnezzar…..” with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god”

.

Another example of the literal fulfillment of prophecy in this verse is the fact that Nebuchadnezzar carried away the vessels of the Temple. About 120 years before this, the son of the then king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and was given a guided tour by King Hezekiah. We read in 2nd Kings: “Then Isaiah the prophet came to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say? And from where did they come to you?” And Hezekiah said, “They have come from a far country, from Babylon.” He said, “What have they seen in your house?” And Hezekiah answered, “They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.” Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. (2 Kings 20:14-18).

To be continued next week – Rev. Dr. Jstark