A study on the book of Daniel.
We will divide the study into two major parts: Part I: A History of the Times…And the Setup for Coming Attractions: | Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled.
… These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
Daniel 4:28 – 33
All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.[biblegateway passage=”Daniel 4:28 – 33″]
At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.
The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?
While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, 0 king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.
It’s now a year later, and God has been patient with Nebuchadnezzar.
Despite his earlier bent toward believing in the God of the Hebrews, the king remained stubborn, pretending he was an earthly ruler who would reign forever. Even as he hoped that his friend Daniel would be wrong, the prophecy began to be fulfilled. At the tragic moment when the king finds himself on the verge of a mental breakdown, he begins to engage in a sort of lonely soliloquy about his exploits as ruler of Babylon.
He was probably strolling on the roof of his palace as he spoke-grounds that covered a six-mile area-surveying his great city and all that he had done to make it one of the ancient wonders. His royal chest filled with pride as he boasted of accomplishments never done by others.
Yes, he had done some amazing things and was undoubtedly the greatest kingdom builder in ancient times. He had built two enormous temples and seventeen ornate religious shrines. His Hanging Gardens of Babylon were without equal, something the Greeks later declared one of the Seven Wonders of the World. He had constructed the famous Ishtar Gate-magnificent with its carved bulls and four-legged dragons etched in high relief. With the assistance of hand-picked engineers, he had designed and created amazingly intricate hydraulic systems that carried water effortlessly up from the Euphrates River to his gardens high above the city-gardens that housed some of the most exotic plants and trees of his day.
But as he reveled in his kingly accomplishments, the voice from heaven finally came, even as Daniel had prophesied one year earlier.
It was finally over. Payday had arrived.
At that moment, the king realized even the best laid plans of kings and men are as dust.
The mills of God may grind slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.
Surely and firmly judgment falls when people refuse to glorify God by taking full credit for their worldly accomplishments. Again, this is the scenario of the seven-year Tribulation period-a time in history when the greatest sin will be committed by another king-the infamous Antichrist, who will magnify himself above God ([biblegateway passage=”Daniel 11:36″]). God despises and judges such arrogance. That’s why [biblegateway passage=”Proverbs 16:18″] declares, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.”
The Message of a Frog
As I was preparing this chapter I reminded my wife, Rexella, of a little story that speaks straight to this issue of pride.
Once there was a little frog sitting on the ground. He watched forlornly as he saw the great birds of the sky flying overhead. Oh. if I could only fly like the eagles I would be extremely happy, he thought. Well, one day, two of the eagles were on the ground. The frog approached them, saying, “Say, I wonder if you two fellows would do me a favor. I’ve got this long stick, and if you’d just put it in your beaks, I could hang on to it, and we could fly through space together. I’ve always wanted to fly.”
The eagles agreed to the strange request, and slowly they lifted the frog from the comfort of his lily pad, up into the unfamiliar but exhilarating sky above, the frog hanging on to the stick for dear life.
Before long, the other frogs turned their heads skyward and in disbelief-unable to see the stick-saw their little green friend ascending farther and farther into space. His friends on the ground began to praise this stunt saying,
“What genius thought of doing this?”
The frog’s ego at this point got the best of him when he shouted, “I-I-I did.”
By doing so he lost his biting grip on the stick and plunged to earth in a humiliating landing.
My friend, we can do absolutely nothing on our own-no more than that frog could fly without some help from his friends.
All we do and have are gifts from God.
So the next time you are tempted to say, “I did it all on my own,” I hope you’ll remember the story of the frog-and that you’ll then quickly recall the pride of Nebuchadnezzar, a man who had accomplished great feats to make a name for himself but who, in the process, refused to give God the credit.
As a result, he paid the price. He fell, even as Satan did, through pride ([biblegateway passage=”I Timothy 3:6″]).
Nebuchadnezzar’s Response to the Message of the “Watcher”[biblegateway passage=”Daniel 4: 34 – 37″]
And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:
And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him,
What doest thou?
At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
His reason now restored after his period of derangement, King Nebuchadnezzar swallowed his pride and raised his humbled eyes toward heaven. After his terrible experience as a mad monarch scratching out an existence as an animal, now he was finally willing to honor the true King of heaven. He recognized that all God’s works were true and that those who live out their days in pride will be humbled beyond recognition.
What brought Nebuchadnezzar to this realization? It wasn’t a miracle. When he saw the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace without a hair singed or a piece of clothing carrying the smell of smoke, and the fourth man in the furnace with them, and their walking out unscathed-that didn’t make him a believer. In Nebuchadnezzar’s case, it took the sickness of a deranged mind to bring him to his senses, and what a conversion experience he had. The truth we have seen again and again in this chapter is highlighted in Paul’s writing to the church at Rome:
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you” (Romans 6:17).
The message? There is hope for all.
In [biblegateway passage=”1 Corinthians 6:9-10″], we read,
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.“
But praise God, the apostle doesn’t stop there. In [biblegateway passage=”1 Corinthians 6: 11″] Paul continues,
“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.“
The good news is always followed by even better news, that none of us needs to be what we once were. There is hope for us all-just as there was hope and an opportunity for restitution for King Nebuchadnezzar. Yes, he paid a great price for his transgressions, just as you and I will always pay a heavy toll when we turn our backs on the foundational principles that God has ordained.
True repentance means turning “about face” and heading in God’s direction.
When we do this, we no longer will want to do the evil we once did. Now, after all the fighting, kicking, and screaming Nebuchadnezzar did to distance himself from the one true God, he finally realized that he was the problem, and that his own sinful pride was the issue.
It took crawling around as an animal for a year to make him realize that he needed to square himself away with the true God. Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion changed him from the inside out. Yes, it’s a great, historically accurate story. But the deeper, underlying message of Nebuchadnezzar’s narrative- and his dream-is that this is all simply a precursor of the shattering events yet to come: seven years of Tribulation where unbridled humans will set themselves up as New Age gods, living unholy, prideful lives and worshipping seducing spirits, even when the obvious handwriting of warning begins to appear on the wall-the intriguing story and subject of chapter five.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE