Daniel Chapter Four
In Daniel Chapter Four we are blessed to behold the conversion of the most powerful human being on Earth to the God of Israel. God has allowed us to see how He works with the human mind and heart and the lengths that God will go to in order to save a soul. This chapter clearly vindicates God of the charge that the gospel was not preached in the Old Testament. God has clearly stated that He preached the gospel in the Old Testament in Galatians 3:8 and Hebrews 4:2 and He also points us to the conversion of Nebuchadnezzar as proof positive that God never changes and that He hungers and thirst for each and every soul on this planet.
Daniel 4:1 tells us that Nebuchadnezzar wants to share his experience with everyone in all of the nations, languages and peoples on the Earth. He is going to tell of all of the wonders and signs that God gave him to convince him that God ruled over the Earth then and He rules over the Earth now as well. Nebuchadnezzar declares that, unlike his kingdom which would come to an end, God’s kingdom is everlasting and that God’s dominion if from generation to generation.
In Daniel 4 Nebuchadnezzar relates that he had a dream and could not understand what it was that he was dreaming. In this dream Nebuchadnezzar remembered what he dreamt but could not understand what the dream was telling him. As in Daniel 2, and as for Pharaoh in Genesis 41, the king called for all of his wise men to tell him what was happening. But all of the men who claimed to gather wisdom from the dead, from the stars, and from the gods, could not answer the king’s question even though he was able to relate the dream to them. Finally, after these men could not answer the question, Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar in
King Nebuchadnezzar had full confidence in Daniel because all of what Daniel had said to him had come to pass. Daniel was faithful in all that he did and was a blessing to the king. Apparently King Nebuchadnezzar had elevated Daniel to the point of being “master of the magicians.” The King also acknowledged that the Spirit of the Holy Gods was in Daniel and the King trusted in this display of spiritual gifts which resided in Daniel. The King had full confidence that Daniel would be able to interpret this dream as he had interpreted the dream in Daniel 2.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar related the dream to Daniel and told him about the great tree, and all of the animals and birds living off this tree. A Watcher came down from heaven and proclaimed against the tree that it must be cut down, his branches be cut off and that the animals must be warned to get out from underneath the tree. None the less the stump was to be left intact and it was to be bound with band of iron and a band of brass. It was to be wet with the dew of heaven and the tree was to have his portion with the beasts of the field. In addition his heart was to be changed from a man’s heart to that of a beast’s heart and this was to go on for a period of seven times. Then the King gave a summary statement that this was by the decree of the Watchers and the demand of the Holy Ones to the intent that the living would know that the Most High rules in the kingdoms of men and that God gives authority and takes authority from whomever He wills.
The King then turns to Daniel and tells him to interpret the dream because the Spirit of the Holy Gods was in Daniel. King Nebuchadnezzar had faith in the servant of the Most High God and waited expectantly for an interpretation of the dream.
When Daniel heard the dream it appears that he immediately understood what God was trying to say to Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel was so caught up in his internal meditations that the King attempted to break into Daniel’s thoughts to get an answer. The King reassured Daniel that he need not be concerned but to tell him the truth about the dream. Then Daniel proceeded to tell the interpretation of the dream.
Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar that the great tree in the dream was the King of Babylon – Nebuchadnezzar himself. Daniel tells the King that the purpose of the dream was to alert the king that if he did not come around and accept God by faith now that he would be faced with a 7 year trial of having to eat grass in the field like a beast, until he knew in his heart and mind that the God of Israel, who had been trying to communicate to him through Daniel, ruled in the kingdoms of men. But because God had decreed that the stump was to remain that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom was to remain intact and that he would be restored after 7 years.
Daniel then confronts the King by declaring that God was granting Nebuchadnezzar a warning and that if he would break off his sins by righteousness and his iniquities by showing mercy to the poor that his days of sanity would be lengthened. But if not the dream would come to pass.
Apparently Nebuchadnezzar took these thoughts to heart for awhile because the event prophesied did not come to pass for a year. But it would also appear that after a while that the King’s old thinking began to re-emerge and that he thought that he had been able to build Babylon all by himself, and his pagan gods, with no help from the God of Israel. When the merciful God of heaven had given Nebuchadnezzar every opportunity for repentance and it had not been successful then God implemented the plan that He had warned Nebuchadnezzar about. When Nebuchadnezzar was singing his own praise then a Voice from heaven was declared upon the King and in that very hour he lost his sanity, he was given the heart of an animal and was driven away from men and he ate and lived like an animal for the next seven years. Yet during the time of his humiliation his kingdom was kept by God and God preserved him in great mercy. In addition, it appears that God continued to communicate with Nebuchadnezzar until he finally understood deep in his heart.
After God spoke to Nebuchadnezzar for 7 years it appears that the King finally understood what God was trying to say and he apparently accepted God as his Lord and Saviour. This time through when God restored Nebuchadnezzar’s mind the King rejoiced at the great mercies of God. The King praised and honored the God of heaven, the One and Only God. True to His Word God restored the full honor and glory of the kingdom back to Nebuchadnezzar and he was reestablished as King of Babylon. The King acknowledged that there was One higher than even himself. Nebuchadnezzar was a willing and open follower of God. The symbol of this event is related in Daniel 7 where the Lion of Babylon is raised to stand on his feet, his wings were plucked off, and a man’s heart was given to the King and the kingdom.
In summary God revealed the story of Nebuchadnezzar in the first four chapters of Daniel. God gave Nebuchadnezzar victories in all of his military activities, and helped him be successful in all ways. Yet the King thought he was able to do all of these things by his own might and power, and rejected God’s claim to rule over him. God brought Nebuchadnezzar around to Him by revealing Himself to Nebuchadnezzar through, Daniel, Jeremiah, and through several profound experiences in his city of