A Fresh Look at Daniel - Part 4

Posted in: 2008
By Tom L. Ballinger
Jun 12, 2008 - 4:53:45 PM


Part IV

In our fresh look at the Book of Daniel, we are going to concern ourselves with the visions and dreams and their divine interpretations which relate to the future. However, we will consider some of the historical events in Daniel because they will set the stage for understanding those future events which find their fulfillment in the coming Kingdom of God. It was pointed out in Plainer Words Online THEME OF THE BIBLE – THE KINGDOM OF GOD, 2004, that the phrase, “the Kingdom of God,” is not found in the Old Testament, but that doesn’t mean that the truth concerning it is absent. When John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ announced that the Kingdom of God “was at hand,” they did not have to explain what it meant. Their audience understood that all of the holy prophets had spoken about it even though it was described by other phrases – such as – the latter days – the last days, and can be summed up in Psalm 67: 1-7:

God be merciful unto us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us; Selah.

That thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

O let the nations be glad and sing for joy: for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon earth. Selah.

Let the people praise thee, O God; let all the people praise thee.

Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us.

God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him.

The fact that God would govern the nations was an ancient body of truth. The Kingdom of God is, also, to be the time of the exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul, at times, refers to the Kingdom as the Day of Jesus Christ (i.e. the eon of His exaltation).

Daniel Chapter Three is history. It actually happened as recorded by Daniel. Here, Nebuchadnezzar made a great image of gold. The size was enormous. The Companion Bible’s note says it was not an image of Nebuchadnezzar, or any other man. Rather, it was an image which stood erect and was, in fact, the symbol of a Phallus (also, see Appendixes 42 in the CB). The king demanded that at a certain time when the musical instruments sounded, everyone was to bow down and worship the image. Of course, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abe-nego refused to do so. Consequently, they experienced the “fiery furnace.” You know the rest of the story.

Daniel Chapter Four is, also, history. This chapter concerns another dream of Nebuchadnezzar – the Tree Dream. God had something in mind for Nebuchadnezzar, and He had set events in motion to bring about a desired goal, result, or end. His desired result was to produce, or consummate – Nebuchadnezzar becoming a servant of His. This chapter records the consummation of this.

God called Nebuchadnezzar, “My servant,” three times in Jeremiah (25:9, 27:6, 43:10). There was a principle at work in the life of the king where God calls those things which be not, as though they were … because He is able also to perform what He said (see Romans 4:17-21). The king was referred to as “My servant” because he would become one. God calls the things that are not, as though they were, because He is able to bring it to pass.

We will quote Daniel 4:8-37. It’s rather lengthy but sets the stage for our better understanding of future events which Daniel describes in Daniel 7 through 9. As you read the text, it is suggested you notice the words which are underlined and make the connection.

Daniel 4:8-37:

V. 8 “But at the last Daniel came in before me [Nebuchadnezzar], 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,”

V. 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.”

V. 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.”

V. 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:”

V. 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.”

V. 13 “I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; [ i ]”

V. 14 “He [the watcher or holy one] 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:”

V. 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:”

V. 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.”

V. 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.
[ ii ]”

V. 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.”

V. 19 “ Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied 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.”

This verse, nineteen, is perplexing, so, we’ll quote from the NIV; “Then Daniel (also called Belteshazzar) was greatly perplexed for a time, and his thoughts terrified him. So the king said, ‘Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its meaning alarm you.’ Belteshazzar answered, ‘My lord, if only the dream applied to your enemies and its meaning to your adversaries!’” (Daniel 4:19).

V. 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;”

V. 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:”

V. 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 [ iii ].”

V. 23 “And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew 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;”

V. 24 “ This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:”

V. 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.” [ iv ]

V. 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.”

V. 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.”

V. 28 “All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.”

V. 29 “At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.”

V. 30 “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” [We find Nebuchadnezzar to be quite an interesting character – it’s hard to be humble].

V. 31 “While the word was in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.”

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

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

V. 34 “ And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:” [ v ]

V. 35 “And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

V. 36 “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 counsellers and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.”

V. 37 “ 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.”

Truly, Nebuchadnezzar became God’s servant. His schooling was rigorous and profound, but, evidently, he graduated with honors and qualified to be the first king to rule during the Kingdom of God (i.e. the latter days). A related thought – we, too, are being schooled and trained for the service which the Lord Jesus Christ will have us perform in the “eons to come.”

A closing comment of this study should be made at this juncture. We have seen, in Chapter Four, that angels played a part in the Lord’s dealing with Nebuchadnezzar. From this, we can expect to see that many of Daniel’s visions will relate to the realm of the spiritual. We’ll read of Gabriel and Michael, and of spiritual warfare in high, or heavenly places.


[ i ] In Verse 13, we see “ a watcher” and “an holy one.” This is not two beings, but one. As we read in Verse 14; “He cried …” indicting one being came down from heaven and “He cried aloud …” However, it should be noted that the word, “watcher,” is “iyr” and is Aramaic for an angel, as a guarding angel. The “holy one” is also Aramaic; it is qaddish, meaning: saint, angel. These angels came down from heaven and performed a work for God.

[ ii ] In Verse 17, the watcher and the holy one of Verse 13 is now plural – “watchers” and “holy ones.” More angels are, now, called into the Lord’s service. The matter concerning what was to be done with the tree, and making Nebuchadnezzar like the beasts of the field, for seven years, was by the decree of the watchers and the demand by the word of the holy ones. These spiritual beings were God’s special diplomatic agents to the Kingdom of Babylon. Could these angelic beings be the principalities, powers, thrones, and dominions which the Apostle Paul references in Colossians 1:16?

[ iii ] The word, “earth,” in Verse 22 is an Aramaic word, meaning “a particular land, to be distinguished by the contexts;” Not the whole earth. The context was the Babylonian Empire at the time.

[ iv ] In Verse 25, notice that “they” are the watchers and holy ones (i.e. angels) who drive the king from his palace to live as a beast. It is “they” who make him eat grass as the oxen, and it is “they” who shall wet him down with dew from heaven. The lesson for Nebuchadnezzar to learn is that the most High rules in the kingdom of men, and He gives it to whoever He wants to. The Lord ruled in the kingdom of men in a very limited degree in Old Testament times. He would use rulers and tyrants to punish Israel for Israel’s disobedience. But, with the rest of the world, he just let the laws of nature take its course. The great truth Nebuchadnezzar learned that was when the God of heaven sets up His Kingdom – then the heavens will rule.

[ v ] Nebuchanezzar was slow to learn. But, our God was longsuffering, not willing that any should perish. Nebuchadnezzar will arise from the dead in the “latter days” and rule, universally, with power, honor, and dignity. The indications certainly are that God is convinced he learned his lessons well and will be the premiere monarch before the Lord Jesus Christ takes the dominion for Himself, and before Israel’s government is supreme in the world.

Tom L. Ballinger