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Prayer of Manasseh

The Prayer of Manasseh is a short work of 15 verses of the penitential prayer of king Manasseh of Judah. Manasseh is recorded in the Bible as one of the most idolatrous kings of Judah (2 Kings 21:1–18; 2 Chronicles 33:1–9).

The Prayer of Manasseh is a part of the Apocrypha. It is a short work, containing just 15 verses. It purports to be a prayer by King Manasseh of Judah (697-642 B.C.), but it was pseudonymously written as early as the second century or just before the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Second Chronicles 33:19 says that Manasseh prayed but does not record the prayer itself, referring the reader to what was “written in the records of the seers.”

King Manasseh, the thirteenth king of Judah, was one of the most wicked and idolatrous kings in biblical history (2 Kings 21:1-18). He was captured by the Assyrians and imprisoned in Babylon. There, he prayed for mercy and repented of his sin of idolatry (2 Chronicles 33:1-19).

The Prayer of Manasseh is considered by Jews, Catholics and Protestants as apocryphal, i.e., non-canonical and of doubtful authenticity. However, the fourth-century Vulgate included it at the end of the book of 2 Chronicles. It later became part of the Matthew Bible and the Geneva Bible of 1599. It is also found in the Apocrypha of the King James Bible.

Prayer of ManassehThe prayer departs from Christian teaching in that it says men such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob did not need to repent because they “did not sin” (verse 8). This runs counter to the clear teaching of Scripture that all have sinned (Romans 3:10-12; Romans 3:21-26). The righteousness of Abraham was a product of his faith in God and was not anything inherent in him (Romans 4:3; Philippians 3:8-9). Though we now know that Righteousness was “Imparted” to them for their faith!

In summary, God has told us that Manasseh prayed a much-needed prayer of repentance.

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No, CERN And The Mandela Effect Has Not Changed The King James Bible

Our eyes and brains are being bombarded by light and sounds and words. Our brains are being rewired, and our sense of reality is changing.

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6,7 (KJV)

It is called the Mandela Effect.

The Mandela Effect is a theory put forth by writer and “paranormal consultant” Fiona Broome who theorizes that false memories are in fact glimpses into parallel worlds with different timelines. The phrase was coined after African president Nelson Mandela who many people claimed to remembered him dying in prison back in the 1980’s. Of course, Nelson Mandela did not die in prison in the 1980’s but more recently in the year 2013.

Here are some examples that Mandela Effect advocates say were “changed” when time travelers used the CERN reactor go into the past which resulted in inadvertent “changes in the matrix”:

  • The children’s book Berenstain Bears used to be called Berenstein Bears.
  • Billy Graham’s funeral was televised even though as of this writing he is still very much alive.
  • Jif peanut butter used to be called Jiffy but now it’s not.

Yes, I know they sound silly – but – this is believed by a rapidly growing number of people who think it’s true. I know a librarian, and one of her favorite kid’s books was the Berenstain Bears when her son was in grade school. He always thought it was funny that it said “stain” instead of “stein”, but that is the original spelling. People call it Jiffy peanut butter because they are confusing it with Skippy peanut butter. Billy Graham has been in ill health for a number of years now, and his absence naturally makes people assume he passed away when in fact he has not. I could give more example but I think you get the point. What I really want to talk about is how this might affect God’s preserved word – the King James Bible.

God’s promise to preserve His word for all generations still stands

As of this writing, there are over 350 different and differing versions of the Bible, with more appearing every year. Since the one thing all these versions have in common is that they are all different, the potential for mass confusion is great. But for the last 405 years, the King James Bible has existed to present God’s true and preserved word to a lost and dying world. In the Bible verse at the top of this article you see God’s promise to preserve His word on this Earth forever. That promise remains unbroken. But Mandela Effect advocates say that even this has been changed due to CERN time travel. Well, in order for that to be true, God’s promise of preservation would have to be broken and that is simply not possible.

There is no machine that man can create that is capable of undoing the smallest of the promises of God, much less to go back in time and change what He Himself has preserved. So with that, let’s look at the main example where Mandela Effect advocates say CERN time travel has changed the God’s preserved word.

THE LION SHALL LIE DOWN WITH THE LAMB: Everyone knows that the Bible says that, in the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, that the “lion shall lie down with the lamb”, right? But a quick trip to Isaiah shows that not to the case. Whoa! How can that be?:

“The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”Isaiah 11:6 (KJV)

Mandela EffectThe Mandela Effect people tout this verse as the number one example of how CERN time travel has “changed the Bible”, but is it so? The answer is, of course, no it is not so. Isaiah 11 has always said it will be the “wolf and the lamb” lying down together. The problem is not many Christians spend a whole lot of time actually reading the Bible and memorizing it’s passages. Isaiah rightly said “wolf” and not “lion” because of what the wolf represents, namely the Devil. During the 1,000 Year Reign of Jesus in Jerusalem, Satan will be bound the entire time, right? But his people will continue to dwell with God’s people, side by side. How do we know this? Because the Bible says that as soon as Satan is released from his chains, he immediately is able to raise up an army to come against Jesus Christ in the Battle of Gog and Magog. See for yourself:

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed the camp of the saints about, and the beloved city: and fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them.” Revelation 20:7-9 (KJV)

Satan’s army is raised up from all the people who just spent 1,000 years under the rule of Jesus. They were the “wolves” lying side by side with God’s “lambs”. Isaiah was right, and a swift application of 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV) reveals these “deeper nuggets” of Bible doctrine and prophecy. But people have misquoted the verse from Isaiah 11 because over the years they have listened to too many illustrations, videos and songs using the phrase “lion and the lamb”. Combine that with a lack of Bible study of what God’s word actually says, and there you have it. Revelation 5:5,6 (KJV) tells you all about the real Lion and the Lamb. Jesus is both the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, as well as the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. It makes no sense for Isaiah to  have Jesus lying down with Himself. But the wolf with the lamb is Bible prophecy.

Now, we could do what we just did with all the rest of the examples given by the Mandela Effect people to say that the King James Bible has been changed. God’s preserved word has not been changed, neither will it ever be. But there is something that has changed which I think might be the real Mandela Effect.

The amount of time that people are now spending on social media, sharing stories, memes and events from the day has skyrocketed. Slick looking satire sites with fake news, like the Babylon Bee, present satire and phony “news” but in a very convincing manner. On a near daily basis I reach out to friends who have inadvertently shared an fake article thinking it was real. I have watched countless times as a fake story gets shared over hundreds of groups on Facebook, adopted by thousands of people, leading to outrage over the article’s premise but completely fake at the same time. Yet everyone knows that “it’s true” nonetheless. Do you see what’s happening here?

We have become saturated in news, both real and fake, all delivered to use by the pulsing, glowing eye of our monitors, tablets and smart devices. Our eyes and brains are being bombarded by light and sounds and words. The end result being our brains are being rewired, and our sense of reality is changing. But it is not due to the CERN reactor and time travel disrupting the Matrix.

We are doing it to ourselves. Want to see how addicted you’ve really become? Just trying unplugging from everything online, for a mere 30 days and see how you feel. See if you can even last that long. Maybe you better start off with just a week. How about 72 hours?

That’s the real Mandela Effect.

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Everyday Phrases We Use That Came From The King James Bible

Oh, the unsearchable riches of the King James Bible.

The Bible critics are so quick to point out that the King James Bible is out of date, old-fashioned, and needs to be put in “modern language” so the “common” people can understand it. But is that really true…or…could it true that the King James Bible is so up to date that we get most of how we speak and write from it still? Let’s take a look and find out.

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.” Psalm 12:6 (KJV)

What follows is a brief list of words and phrases we use everyday of our life that originated in the English language as found in the King James Authorized Version 1611 Holy bible. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed compiling it for you.

Everyday Phrases We Use That Came From The King James Bible:

  1. A Broken Heart: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” Psalms 34:18 (KJV)
  2. A Drop In The Bucket: “Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing.” Isaiah 40:15 (KJV)
  3. A Labour Of Love: “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father;”Thessalonians 1:2,3 (KJV)
  4. A Man After My Own Heart: “But now thy kingdom shall not continue: the LORD hath sought him a man after his own heart, and the LORD hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the LORD commanded thee.” Samuel 13:14 (KJV)
  5. A Multitude Of Sins: “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”James 5:20 (KJV)
  6. A Thorn In The Flesh: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” 2 Corinthians 12:7 (KJV)
  7. My Brother’s Keeper: “And the Lord said unto Cain, where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?” Genesis 4:9 (KJV)
  8. Reap What You Sow: “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
  9. At My Wit’s End: “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.” Psalms 107:27 (KJV)
  10. Cast The First Stone: “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her”John 8:7 (KJV)
  11. Eat, Drink And Be Merry!: “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: for that shall abide with him of his labour the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.”Ecclesiastes 8:15 (KJV)
  12. Fight The Good Fight: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” I Timothy 6:12 (KJV)
  13. Father Forgive Them: “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.” Luke 23:34 (KJV)God-WHATSHOTN
  14. In The Twinkling Of An Eye: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” I Corinthians 15:52 (KJV)
  15. Many Are Called, Few Are Chosen: “For many are called, but few are chosen.”Matthew 22:14 (KJV)
  16. Physician, Heal Thyself: “And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.” Luke 4:23 (KJV)
  17. Reap The Whirlwind: “For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.” Hosea 8:7 (KJV)
  18. Spare The Rod, Spoil The Child: “He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” Proverbs 13:24 (KJV)
  19. Apple Of His Eye: “He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.”Deuteronomy 32:10 (KJV)
  20. The Powers That Be: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1 (KJV)
  21. White As Snow: “I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.” Daniel 7:9 (KJV)
  22. A Wolf In Sheep’s Clothing: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15 (KJV)
  23. Writing On The Wall: “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.” Daniel 5:5 (KJV)
  24. You’re The Man: “And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.” 2 Samuel 12:7 (KJV)
  25. Let There Be Light: “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.” Genesis 1:3 (KJV)

 

These are just a few of the hundreds phrases from the “archaic” King James Bible that we use each and every day of our ultra-modern lives. And it’s no accident that in most of the other “modern” versions, these phrases do not appear as we use them today in our daily speech.

Imagine that.

If you think of any that we have not listed here, please add them in the comments section below!

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THE KING JAMES AV 1611 BIBLE VS. THE NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION

Decide for yourself. Just remember that God promises to curse those who mess with the word He wrote. Pray the Holy Spirit to show you the truth.

It is said by many that the New International Version bible is just the same as the King James, but just easier to read and in more “modern” english. Is that so, or is it something very different from the King James? Rather than getting into a long and complicated argument about it, let me just show you a simple, side-by-side comparison chart of a few verses from the KJV, with their counterpart from the NIV. What this will show you is that the people who created the NIV are in direct violation of Revelation 22 which says –

“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” Revelation 22:18,19 (KJV)

So with that, let’s compare the KJV and the NIV side-by-side, and you be the judge. The words which appear in bold on the KJV side of the chart are words and phrases that have been removed from the NIV.

King James Version – KJV
New International Version – NIV
Why did Jesus come to earth?
Luke 9:56
For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
Matt. 18:11 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.
Luke 9:56
and they went to another village.
Matt. 18:11
(missing)
Is repentance important?
Matt. 9:13
…I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.
Matt. 9:13
…I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
For whom did Jesus die?
I Cor. 5:7
…Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
I Cor. 5:7
…Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.
In Whom must you believe to be saved?
John 6:47
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on mehath everlasting life.
John 6:47
I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life.
Was Joseph really the father of Jesus?
Luke 2:33
And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.
Luke 2:33
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him.
Did Jesus give His disciples power to heal?
Mark 3:15
…power to heal sickness, and to cast out devils.
Mark 3:15
…authority to drive out demons.
If it’s hard to do, should we just remove it?
Mark 11:26
But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
Mark 11:26
(missing)
Who is in charge?
I Cor. 10:28
…for the earth is the Lord’s and the fulness thereof:
I Cor. 10:28
(last part of verse missing)
How must we deal with our enemies?
Matt. 5:44
…Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.
Matt. 5:44
…Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
Where did Jesus go?
John 16:16
A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
John 16:16
In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.
Is it John or the Devil?
Revelation 13:1
And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Revelation 13:1
The dragon stood on the shore of the sea. And I saw a beast coming out of the sea. It had ten horns and seven heads, with ten crowns on its horns, and on each head a blasphemous name.

Question: Aren’t some of these things included in the NIV in the footnotes?

I AMAnswer: That is not the same as including them in the text. When a young Christian sees these passages have been moved to the footnotes, he or she will assume that they are probably not really part of God’s Word. After all, the translators did not include them in the text, but simply implied that “some” manuscripts include them. What they are not told is that the vast majority of texts used by the early church included these words. They are God’s Words!

The above chart shows 10 or 12 examples of how the NIV has removed the words from the word of God. Do YOU want a bible that cuts out the holiness of God, removes lots of the promises, and in some cases just deletes the verse altogether?

Or do you want the true, pure words that God Himself wrote? Because there is power on in those words, and not in the weak, powerless words of man.

Decide for yourself. Just remember that God promises to curse those who mess with the word He wrote. Pray the Holy Spirit to show you the truth. But in closing, let me just direct your attention to the following verse and mediate on what God has to say about the “word of a king”. Hmm…

“Where the word of a king is, there is power: and who may say unto him, What doest thou?” Ecclesiastes 8:4 (KJV)

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Earliest Known Draft of 1611 King James Bible Is Found

The King James Bible is the most widely read work in English literature, a masterpiece of translation whose stately cadences and transcendent phrases have long been seen, even by secular readers, as having emerged from a kind of collective divine inspiration.

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” Psalm 12:6,7 (KJV)

In an unassuming notebook held in an archive at the University of Cambridge, an American scholar has found what he says is an important new clue to the earthly processes behind that masterpiece: the earliest known draft, and the only one definitively written in the hand of one of the roughly four dozen translators who worked on it.

The notebook, which dates from 1604 to 1608, was discovered by Jeffrey Alan Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, who announced his research on Wednesday in an article in The Times Literary Supplement.

The title page of the King James Bible in 1611

The title page of the King James Bible in 1611

Two pages from Samuel Ward’s translation for part of the King James Bible. An American professor who came upon the manuscript last fall at Cambridge says it is the earliest known draft for the King James translation, which appeared in 1611. Credit Master and Fellows of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge; Maria Anna Rogers (Photo)

While the notebook has yet to be examined by other scholars, experts who have reviewed Professor Miller’s research called it perhaps the most significant archival find relating to the King James Bible in decades.

David Norton, an emeritus professor at the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand and the author of several books about the King James Bible, called it “a major discovery” — if not quite equal to finding a draft of one of Shakespeare’s plays, “getting on up there.”

Gordon Campbell, a fellow in Renaissance studies at the University of Leicester and a consultant for the planned Museum of the Bible in Washington, said the new manuscript shed fresh light on how the King James translators actually did their work, as opposed to how they had been told to do it.

Studying the creation of the King James Bible “is like working with a jigsaw puzzle where 90 percent of the pieces are missing,” Mr. Campbell said. “You can arrange the surviving pieces as you wish, but then you find something new and you realize you put it together the wrong way.”

The King James Bible, published in 1611, was produced by six teams of translators, known as “companies,” in London, Oxford and Cambridge, who were charged with creating an authorized version that would support the Church of England against the Puritan influence seen in some earlier translations. Along with Shakespeare’s First Folio of 1623, it is one of the most influential books in the history of English and the wellspring of common phrases like “salt of the earth,” “drop in the bucket” and “fight the good fight,” to name only a few.

While some records of the committee that supervised the overall translation survive, only three manuscripts of the text itself have been known to exist until now. The Bodleian Library at Oxford owns nearly complete drafts of the Old Testament and the Gospels, in the form of corrected pages of the Bishops’ Bible, a 16th-century translation that the King James teams used as a base text. Lambeth Palace Library in London has a partial draft of the New Testament epistles.

Professor Miller discovered the manuscript last fall, when he was in the archives at Sidney Sussex College in Cambridge, researching an essay about Samuel Ward, one of the King James translators and, later, the college’s master. He was hoping to find an unknown letter, which he did.

“I thought that would be my great discovery,” he recalled.

Jesus is the way the truth and the life.But he also came across an unassuming notebook about the size of a modern paperback, wrapped in a stained piece of waste vellum and filled with some 70 pages of Ward’s nearly indecipherable handwriting.

The notebook had been cataloged in the 1980s as a “verse-by-verse biblical commentary” with “Greek word studies, and some Hebrew notes.” But as Professor Miller tried to puzzle out which passages of the Bible it concerned, he realized what it was: a draft of parts of the King James Version of the Apocrypha, a disputed section of the Bible that is left out of many editions, particularly in the United States.

“There was a kind of thunderstruck, leap-out-of-bathtub moment,” Professor Miller said. “But then comes the more laborious process of making sure you are 100 percent correct.”

The draft, Professor Miller argues, dates from between 1604, when the King James Bible was commissioned, and 1608, when the six teams were asked to send their work to the general committee for review. Unlike the other surviving drafts, which scholars date to later parts of the process, it shows an individual translator’s initial puzzling over aspects of the Greek text of the Apocrypha, indicating the reasoning behind his translation choices, with reference to Hebrew and Latin as well.

“You can actually see the way Greek, Latin and Hebrew are all feeding into what will become the most widely read work of English literature of all time,” Professor Miller said. “It gets you so close to the thought process, it’s incredible.”

The draft, he argues, also complicates one long-cherished aspect of the “mythos,” as he put it, surrounding the King James: that it was a collaborative project through and through.

The companies were charged with doing their work as a group, rather than subdividing it by assigning individual books to individual translators, as was the case with the Bishops’ Bible. But the Ward notebook, Professor Miller said, suggests “beyond a reasonable doubt” that at least some of the companies ignored the instructions and divided up the work among individuals, at least initially.

Two pages from Samuel Ward’s translation for part of the King James Bible. An American professor who came upon the manuscript last fall at Cambridge says it is the earliest known draft for the King James translation, which appeared in 1611.

Two pages from Samuel Ward’s translation for part of the King James Bible. An American professor who came upon the manuscript last fall at Cambridge says it is the earliest known draft for the King James translation, which appeared in 1611.

Further, he said, the notebook contains a complete draft for the book of the Apocrypha known as 1 Esdras, but then, after a run of blank pages, only a partial manuscript for the book known as the Wisdom of Solomon, suggesting that Ward picked up the slack for another translator.

“Some of them, being typical academics, either fell down on the job or just decided not to do it,” Professor Miller said, with a laugh. “It really testifies to the human element of this kind of great undertaking.”

In recent years, scholars have chipped away at the idea of Shakespeare’s plays as the product of an isolated genius, emphasizing instead the intensely collaborative nature of Elizabethan theater. Professor Miller said that the origins of the other great monument of 17th-century English literature is due for a similar reconsideration.

“There’s a strong desire to see the King James Bible as a uniform object, and a belief that it’s great because of its collaborative nature,” Professor Miller said. “It was incredibly collaborative,” he continued. “But it was done in a much more complicated, nuanced, and at times individualistic way than we’ve ever really had good evidence to believe.”

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Does The King James Bible Reveal The Identity Of The Antichrist?

Soon, the Church will be raptured out of here and the world we leave behind will be given the modern-day name of Antichrist

“Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.” 1 John 2:18 (KJV)

The “last time” that John mentions has been going on for nearly 2,000 years now, and amazingly, it is getting ready to come to it’s final, prophetical conclusion. The Church Age, or the Age of Grace, is about to be done, and it will see it’s climax in an event called the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church. This event will usher in what the prophet Jeremiah saw and called to be the Time of Jacob’s Trouble. The Rapture of the Church is not the same event as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ for reasons previously mentioned here. The Apostle Paul, in 2 Thessalonians, gives us two very important clues on the timing of the Rapture, and, about the identity of the Antichrist.

The two things that must precede the Pretrib Rapture of the Church

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (KJV)

Now, before we go any further, make sure that you are checking these references using the Authorized Version King James 1611 Holy Bible. Because if you aren’t, you will not be able to make these connections. Nearly all the modern Bibles remove words and verses, thereby changing the meanings and rendering a proper conclusion impossible. I will show you exactly what I mean at the end of this teaching.

So look at what the Holy Spirit through Paul is saying here, two things need to happen right before the Rapture of the Church. One, there has to be a great falling away from the truth. You can check that off the list as that is happening right now. False teachers abound like never before, Bible doctrine is no longer preached, and the Church service has become indistinguishable from your average night at the club. Christianity has become a Laodicean “churchianity” and the sheep are dying from malnutrition. The second thing Paul mentions is that the man of sin, the Antichrist, must be revealed. Paul says that whoever he is, he is the son of perdition. Find him, and you find the Antichrist.

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” Titus 2:13 (KJV)

As Christians, we are commanded to wait and look for the Glorious Appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds to rapture us up and out of here “We even earn a crown for doing so!”, and so we do. No where in Scripture does it command Christians to look for the Antichrist. But God, in His amazing mercy towards us, wants us to have as much information as possible as we battle the world, the flesh and the Devil. We are not ignorant of the Enemy’s devices, and knowing Scripture prepares us for battle. So using Paul’s clues, let’s take a ride through the Bible and see about this son of perdition.

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” John 17:12 (KJV)

No surprise that our search leads us back to John, Paul and John are tag-team prophecy warriors who back each other up, and here we seeing Jesus talking about the son of perdition. It is the same son of perdition that Paul referenced, none other than Judas Iscariot, the Betrayer. But there’s more….

“Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.” John 13:26 (KJV)

Here we have Judas in the act of betrayal, and it is a stunning example of why we only use the King James Bible. Jesus is talking about handing a “sop” to someone, and then dipping it in a dish. Anyone who has ever spent time with Italian people who can cook know exactly what a sop is. My friend’s mom used to make what Italians call “gravy”, or spaghetti sauce, and it would simmer on the stove for hours. When it was close to done, we would take a fresh piece of Italian bread and dip it in the pot, and we would “sop it up”. Delicious! Now do you see what a sop is? It is a piece of bread for dipping in sauce or olive oil. The NIV renders the sop of John 13:26 as “bread”, and in doing so, throws one of the biggest prophecy clues right out the window. Yes, a sop is a piece of bread – BUT – it is much more than that. Bread is just bread , but a sop is a clue.

S = Son | O = Of | P = Perdition. Bam! After 23 years of knowing this and teaching this to people it still sends chills down my spine. God is so good.

Now do you see why we say God has preserved His word in the KJV? But there’s more, we are not done yet.

“That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” Acts 1:25 (KJV)

30 peices silverWhen Judas killed himself after the world’s greatest betrayal, he didn’t simply go to Hell, not at all. He went to his own, very special holding area that we see mentioned in Acts 1:25. One reason for this special place is because God is not done with him just yet. In the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, Judas is going to come back as the Antichrist. Why? Because Paul already told you he would in 2 Thessalonians, remember? “and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;”. In fact, lots of people make a reappearance. Moses and Elijah come back as the Two Witnesses, Judas comes back as the Antichrist, and of course, Jesus comes back as Himself. Yay!

Now we are right back where we started, having compared Scripture with Scripture, and have let the Bible tell us who the identity of Antichrist is. Judas Iscariot. Do we need to know his modern-day name in 2015? No, not at all. Christians are not told to look for the Antichrist, knowing his name today wouldn’t do us much good anyway. Soon, the Church will be raptured out of here and the world we leave behind will be given the modern-day name of Antichrist, yes, but they will not have the understanding of prophecy that you and I have. The Bible declares that unsaved, non-born again people cannot receive God’s word:

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)

Yes, people in the Tribulation will have the Antichrist’s 21st Century name – BUT – they will not have his connection to Judas Iscariot, and because of that will worship him as the Messiah. Ugh, what a stinking mess that will be. Aren’t  you glad you are going to miss all that because you are saved, born again, Blood washed and headed to Heaven?

I sure am!

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.John 3:16 (KJV)

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The Bible Believers Guide To Reconciling Hebrews 6 With The Doctrine Of Eternal Security

The book of Hebrews is not addressed to Christians saved by grace through faith, it is written to Jews under the Law who are considering the claims of Jesus Christ.

“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” Hebrews 6:4-6 (KJV)

Nearly every week. it seems, people will write in and ask me how I am able to reconcile Hebrews 6 with Paul’s doctrine of Eternal Security. The answer to this question begins in another Pauline verse of Scripture found in 2 Timothy:

“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV).

If you have not read our previous Bible studies on the importance of Rightly Dividing, please click here to catch up. Without a remedial understanding of what Paul meant when he told Timothy to “rightly divide” the word, this article won’t make much sense to you so please read it before going further.

Not all of the New Testament was written as doctrine for the Christian living in the age of Grace. In the NT, as in the Old Testament, God can be addressing any one of three different groups of people when He is speaking. Sometimes He is speaking to the Jews and Israel, sometimes it’s to the born again Church, and sometimes it’s to the lost gentiles. So the first thing we must do is to establish to whom God is speaking, let’s start with the book in question, Hebrews.

Our first clue is contained in the title of the book itself, and it is there we find who the book is addressed to, and that is to the Hebrew people otherwise known as the Jews. It does not reference the Body of Christ, the Church in any meaningful way. Rather, the writer of Hebrews speaks as one trying to persuade lost Hebrew people about the “better way” of Jesus Christ our High Priest. Chapter after chapter of Hebrews calls to mind the Old Testament and the Law of Moses, and carefully compares and contrasts that to the New Covenant with Jesus Christ. Going on the assumption that Paul is the writer of Hebrews, let’s call to mind his passion for his lost Hebrew brethren:

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 9:1-5 (KJV)

Now, if you will carefully read and pray over those verses from Romans 9, and then go back an reread the first 6 chapters of Hebrews, I can promise you it will begin to make sense to you. The book of Hebrews is not addressed to Christians saved by grace through faith, it is written to Jews under the Law who are considering the claims of Jesus Christ. And all through the book the writer is constantly comparing and contrasting life under the Law to life under Jesus Christ. As doctrine, it cannot be addressed to Christians because it advocates a works + faith salvation, and that goes against everything else Paul wrote. The book of Hebrews will have it’s full application during the time of Jacob’s Trouble, the Great Tribulation, where believers will be saved by faith + works, and they will have to refuse the Mark of the Beast at the cost of their own lives. The “better things” mentioned in Hebrews is the element of works, added to their salvation, that keeps them safe in God’s will.

“But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:9,10 (KJV)

Paul, writing of the doctrine of Eternal Security, is very clear that when the believer is saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8,9), that they are SEALED IN by the Holy Spirit and that sealing will last right up to the very moment they come face to face with their Saviour, Jesus Christ:

“That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:12-14 (KJV)

The Holy Spirit writing through Paul repeats this same point later on in chapter 4:

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians 4:30 (KJV)

And just to silence the doubters of this doctrine, the Holy Spirit again through Paul hits this grand slam doctrinal home run out of the park in Romans 8:

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35. 37-39 (KJV)

The eager Bible student shall note the following about these verses written to born again believers: Paul is asking if there is something, anything, that can separate us from Jesus Christ once we are in Him. He gives every type of external and internal thing that could cause you to lose your faith, things like hardships, influence of beings from the spirit realm, death, something now, something later, something we cannot anticipate. His last example is my personal favorite where he says “nor ANY other creature”. Do you know WHO the “any other creature” is referring to? Why, it’s referring to YOU. You couldn’t be unsaved even if you begged God to do it. Why not? Because HE sealed you in, you didn’t seal yourself in. It’s ALL Him, it’s ALL Jesus. He does the saving, He does the keeping, He watches over us for ETERNITY. Halleluiah!

hebrews6Eternal Security is a GREAT GIFT not given to anyone in the Old Testament, and only to the Body of Christ in the New Testament. David in Psalm 51 begged the Lord not to “take His Holy spirit from him” after he sinned greatly because he knew he didn’t have eternal security. David was saved by faith + his works, as all Jews in the Old Testament were, but not so in the Church Age. And after the Church is taken out in the Pretribulation Rapture, things return to how they used to be, that is to say faith + works.

Salvation is a FREE GIFT that you can only do one of two things with. You can either accept it and be saved or reject it and stay lost. But what you do not get to do with it is modify it in any way, shape or form. Jesus on the cross cried “It Is Finished!”, and so it comes to us as a finished, completed package. The revelation that Paul received clarifies that eternal security is for the Body of Christ alone. Did God do that because He thinks so much of us? NO. He did it because He thinks so much of what His Son did on the Cross, and then again on the Third Day.

In conclusion, Hebrews 6 on one hand, and Ephesians 1, 4 and Romans 8 on the other cannot possibly be written to the same group of people as doctrine. They are antithetical to each other and cannot be reconciled. But when we rightly divide what we are reading, and understand that Hebrews is written to unsaved Jews and Ephesian and Romans to born again Christians, we have perfect harmony. In 1 Corinthians 5, we see the story of the man who slept with his stepmother which Paul said was so great a sin that he was cast out of the Church fellowship and “delivered unto Satan”. But the man never “lost his salvation”, rather he received chastening from the Lord. In 2 Corinthians 2, Paul tells the people to welcome the repentant man back into their fellowship, but there is no mentioning of his being “resaved”. Sin causes the believer to temporarily lose FELLOWSHIP with the Lord, not their salvation. So let me close with the cure for the born again believers sin problem:

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 (KJV)

Where does it ever say this prayer needs to be done a second time? Pray it and believe it!

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Top Ten Religious Fallacies About The Holy Bible Revealed

TOP TEN RELIGIOUS FALLACIES ABOUT THE HOLY BIBLE

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)

The Holy Bible COMMANDS that Christians study to shew themselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, and this is done by rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). As one great preacher states “light rejected becomes lighting”. Those who reject God’s commandment to rightly divide His Holy Book constantly fall victim to several foolish religious fallacies that either attempt to make a liar out of God (Numbers 23:19 KJV), or attempts to make God out to be the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33 KJV).

The entire Bible is written FOR Christians, as in it’s all given by inspiration. But the entire Bible is not written TO Christians.

The Holy Bible specifically warns the believer that NO prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20 KJV) because interpretations belong to God (Genesis 40:8 KJV). The Lord has very basic rules established in his word to the believer that guarantees the proper/correct interpretation of the scripture without the fear of deception.

Those rules are:

  1. BELIEVE that his word is literally HIS word (1 Thess 2:13 KJV)

  2. DO NOT add to his words (Proverbs 30:5-6 KJV)

  3. DO NOT subtract from his words (Deuteronomy 4:2 KJV)

  4. KEEP his words in context (Isaiah 28:9-14 KJV)

Observe how the Devil was able to deceive Eve in the Garden by FIRST getting Eve slowly reject the words that God had CLEARLY stated. In Genesis 3:1 KJV, the Devil first got Eve to QUESTION God’s words (Violation of rule #1). Next, the Devil got Eve to SUBTRACT from God’s words (Genesis 3:2 KJV) by omitting the word “freely” (Violation of rule #3). Finally, the Devil got Eve to ADD to God’s words by claiming that God said not to touch the tree (Genesis 3:3 KJV), Violation of rule #2.

NOTICE: Once the Devil got Eve to QUESTION God’s words, SUBTRACT from God’s words, and finally ADD to God’s words, THEN the Devil was able to get Eve to BELIEVE THE LIE (Genesis 4:4 KJV). And such is the foundation of EVERY religious fallacy regarding the Holy Bible. In order to believe the following religious fallacies, you must violate at least one, if not all of God’s rules regarding his words.

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #1 – People were saved the same exact way in the Old Testament as they are in the New Testament

This religious fallacy has also been referred to as “the scarlet thread” or “people in the OT looked forward to the cross while people in the NT looked back at the cross”.  Doctrinally speaking, that is a lie. Romans 10:9 KJV is NEVER preached as the plan of salvation in the OT. Adam’s promise of eternal life was based on not eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:17 KJV), not faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 KJV). God told Cain and Abel to offer the sacrifice (Genesis 4 KJV). God told Noah to build a boat (Genesis 6 KJV). No one in the OT was born-again (1 Peter 1:23 KJV). No one in the OT was spiritually circumcised (Colossians 2:11-14 KJV). No one in the OT was a member of the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:32 KJV). You have to continually ADD and SUBTRACT from God’s words to hold to such a fallacy.

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #2 – The entire Bible is written TO Christians

The entire Bible is written FOR Christians, as in it’s all given by inspiration (2 Timothy 3:16 KJV). But the entire Bible is not written TO Christians. For example: A Christian can learn about the Holiness of God by reading and studying the Levitical laws and the judgements thereof; but a Christian is NEVER told TO literally build a tabernacle or temple and offer animal sacrifices. There are certain scriptures written or addressed TO Gentiles before the Law (Adam, Eve, Noah, Cain, Abel), Jews before the Law (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Judah), Gentiles under the Law (Uriah the Hittite and Balaam), Jews under the law (Moses, Joshua, David), Christians under grace (believers today), Jews and Gentiles in the time of Jacob’s trouble (Revelations 14:12 KJV), and Jews and Gentiles in the Millennial Reign (Zechariah 13:1-3 KJV). Once again, God COMMANDS believers to Rightly Divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV). This fallacy in particular is responsible for about 99% of all heresies today.

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #3 – The body of Christ will NOT be caught away before the time of Jacob’s Trouble

Commonly referred to as the pre-trib vs post-trib rapture debate. Once again, this fallacy come from a complete failure to Rightly Divide the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV) on the post tribbers part. The Apostle Paul specifically wrote that the catching away of the body of Christ (1 Thess 4:16 KJV) BEFORE the time of Jacob’s trouble (1 Thess 5:9 KJV) was a MYSTERY Christ revealed to him (1 Corinthians 15:51), and was NOT revealed during Christ’s earthly ministry (John 16:12 KJV). If it was revealed during Christ’s earthly ministry, then it wouldn’t have been a MYSTERY (Romans 16:25 KJV). However post-tribbers cannot cease from ADDING to God’s words as they’ll continually run to Matthew 24, Luke 21, and Mark 13 in attempts to FORCE those passages on the body of Christ, falling for RELIGIOUS FALLICY # 2.

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #4 – Jesus and Paul preached the SAME GOSPEL

Most religious fallacies come from a failure to Rightly Divide and or ADDING to God’s words. But honestly this fallacy simply come from pure laziness.  Jesus preached the gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 4:23 KJV). The Apostle Paul preached the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24 KJV).

OBSERVE – What the Lord Jesus Christ preached:

“And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, KEEP THE COMMANDMENTS.” Matthew 19:16,17 (KJV)

OBSERVE – What the Apostle Paul preached:

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be SAVED, and thy house.” Acts 16:30,31 (KJV)

THEY’RE NOT THE SAME GOSPEL.

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #5 – If you believe in eternal security (Once Saved always Saved), it’s simply because you want to live a sinful life.

This fallacy comes from pride and ignorance of scripture. Mostly a fallacy always committed by the holiness heretics who like to minimize sin to smoking, drinking, cussing, fornication, and homosexuality. The Apostle Paul wrote that the body of Christ is SEALED unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 4:30 KJV). However the Christian’s liberty is not a liberty to sin, but liberty to serve God without the fear of being cast into Hell every time a believer messes up.   Perfect love cast out fear (1 John 4:18 KJV). Most Pharisees that fall for this fallacy either believe that A) the works that they’re doing is good enough to get them into Heaven or B) Nobody can be saved unless they live exactly how their cult teaches.

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV)

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #6God sends babies to Hell

This taboo subject is often kept under wraps today by whorish mother church (Rev 17:1-7 KJV) and any other denomination or doctrine that holds to infant baptism. This position has historically been one of the main reasonings behind the torture and mass killings of the martyrs of Christ. Whorish mother church calls it “Limbo”, but since the teaching of Limbo is completely absent from Scripture (as well as any and all sacraments), the eternal destination they TRULY speak of is Hell. However don’t just take my word for it, hear it from the Hellish council:

The Council of Florence: “With regard to children, since the danger of death is often present and the only remedy available to them is the Sacrament of Baptism by which they are snatched away from the dominion of the devil and adopted as children of God, it admonishes that sacred baptism is not to be deferred for forty or eighty days or any other period of time in accordance with the usage of some people, but it should be conferred as soon as it conveniently can; and if there is imminent danger of death, the child should be baptized straightaway without any delay, even by a lay man or woman in the form of the Church, if there is no priest, as is contained more fully in the decree on the Armenians.” (Decree for the Jacobites, Denz. 696)

The Council of Trent: “And this translation [i.e. this going from the state of original sin to the state of grace], since the promulgation of the Gospel, cannot be effected without the laver of regeneration, or the desire thereof, as it is written: unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.” (Session VI, chapter 4) The Council also says: “If any one should say that baptism is free, that is, not necessary unto salvation, let him be anathema.” (Session VII, can. 5)

The Council of Florence Session VIBut the souls of those who depart this life in actual mortal sin, or in original sin alone, go down straightaway to hell to be punished, but with unequal pains. This same doctrine is found in the Confession of Faith, as well in the Profession of Faith given to the Greeks by Pope Gregory XIII, and in that which was prescribed for the oriental schismatics by Popes Urban VIII and Benedict XIV.

In Holy Bible, the false god Molech was the false god that burned babies in fire! The Lord never eternally damned those with no knowledge of good and evil, and the Lord didn’t hold those with no knowledge of good and evil personally accountable for sins.

“Also the LORD was angry with me for your sakes, saying, Thou also shalt not go in thither. But Joshua the son of Nun, which standeth before thee, he shall go in thither: encourage him: for he shall cause Israel to inherit it. Moreover your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, and your children, which in that day had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither, and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it.” Deuteronomy 1:37-39 (KJV)

According to the Holy Bible, even though all men are born dead in trespasses and sins, sin is NOT imputed where there is no law. (Romans 5:13 KJV). How does a baby or an intellectually disabled person know what the law is in relation to God? They don’t! They’re completely innocent because where there is no law there is NO TRANSGRESSION (Rom 4:15 KJV). To expound upon it more, the Apostle Paul states that he was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived and he died (Rom 7:9-11 KJV). Every baby is alive without the law, having no knowledge of good and evil, being innocent before God. But when that child reaches the point in their life when they understand what sin is in relation to God, the law will declare them to be sinners, dead in trespasses in sins, and in need of a Savior. Until then however, the baby or child is declared innocent in God’s sight; and absent from the body, present with the Lord the very second death should fall upon them before the law declares them accountable.

Slippery SlopeRELIGIOUS FALLACY #7 – Everybody is a child of God

I’m beginning to hear this fallacy more and more these days. Most people use this fallacy as reason to reject Christ and his Holy Book. Sort of implying “I’m a child of God, born after God’s image, therefore God loves me just how I am.” This however is totally contrary to Scripture. If you’re lost, you are not a child of God. You’re a child a wrath, a child of disobedience, that’s alone in the world without hope and without God (Eph 2:1-12 KJV). Israel is God’s firstborn as a physical nation (Exodus 4:22-23 KJV), but outside of that, we’re talking saved and lost.

ADAM was born in the image of God seeing how he was perfect AND had three parts to him (trinity): body, soul, and spirit (Genesis 2:7 KJV). But after Adam sinned, his son Seth was born after ADAM’s image and likeness (Gen 5:3 KJV). In short, every man born after Adam’s fall still has three part to him (like God), but man is now dead in trespasses and sins in Adam’s image (not God), and in Adam ALL DIE (1 Corinthians 15:22 KJV). Therefore, every single lost man walking the earth today has a live body, live soul, and a DEAD spirit; and that lost man MUST be born again to become a child of God (John 3 KJV). Every man that has been born-again (Christian), has a DEAD body (Galatians 2:21 KJV), LIVE Spirit (John 3:6 KJV) and a SEALED soul (Eph 1:13/ Eph 4:30).

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #8 – God loves everybody (present tense)

One of the most prevalent lies the Devil has floating around in the last days and the main calling card for the Charismania cult. I hear it from false teachers on television and radio constantly. They always start or end their broadcast by saying “remember, God loves you.”

LISTEN: If you’re lost and reading this article, pay very close attention to what I’m going to say: GOD’S LOVE IS NOT ABIDING ON YOU, GOD’S WRATH IS (John 3:36 KJV). If you’re lost and want to experience God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness…RUN TO CALVARY…NOW! ALL of God’s love for sinners is spoken PAST TENSE and or points to CALVARY for a reason:

John 3:16 KJV For God so LOVED the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 5:8 KJV But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (CALVARY)

2 Corinthians 5: 21 KJV For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (CALVARY)

1 Thessalonians 4:14 KJV For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (CALVARY)

PRESENT TENSE:

John 3:36 KJV He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 3:18 KJV He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not IS condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Psalms 7:11 KJV God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked EVERY DAY

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #9 – Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was primarily to everybody.

Wrong. Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was primarily to the JEWS (Matthew 10:5-6 KJV). The physical Jews are God’s chosen people (Deu 7:6 KJV). Jesus said that salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22 KJV). The oracles of God are given to the Jews (Romans 3:2 KJV). The gospel goes to the Jew first and then the gentiles (Romans 1:16 KJV).

The purpose of the Lord’s earthly ministry was to confirm the promises God made unto the fathers (Romans 15:8-9 KJV). God promised the Jews a literal, physical, earthly Kingdom with the promised Jewish Messiah reigning from the throne of his glory in Jerusalem. (Ezra 7:15-27/ 2 Samuel 7:1-12 KJV/Luke 24:15-21 KJV).

We gentiles were God’s Plan (B) for when the Jews rejected their Messiah simply to provoke the Jews to jealousy (Acts 9:15/ Romans 11:11 KJV). There is no such thing as a spiritual Jew (as many like to continually quote Romans 2:28-29 out of context). Circumcision of heart is ALWAYS a Jewish rebuke in scripture, warning the Jew that physical circumcision means nothing if they continually reject the commandments, laws, statues, and judgments of God (Due 10:16/ Due 30:6/ Jeremiah 4:4/ Romans 2:17 KJV). There is no Jew nor Greek in Christ (Galatians 3:28 KJV).

If ever there were such thing as a “spiritual Jew” if definitely would’ve been the Canaanite woman in the book of Matthew.

“Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon. And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.”Matthew 15:21-28 (KJV)

Here’s a gentile woman crying after the Lord in faith, worshipping him and Jesus does not acknowledge or refer to her as being a “spiritual jew”. God doesn’t even deal with her until she FIRST acknowledges that she is a gentile dog and is not above or equal to God’s people Israel.

RELIGIOUS FALLACY #10 – Everybody’s equal in Heaven

Light rejected becomes lighting, and it’s often a horrific domino effect that follows after:

When a believer rejects the Biblical doctrine of eternal security, they lose the ability to Biblically discern the difference between the Jew, the Gentile, and the church of God.  Once they lose the ability to Biblically discern the difference between the Jew, the Gentile, and the Church of God, they lose the ability to Biblically discern the difference between OT salvation vs NT salvation. Once they lose the ability to Biblically discern the difference between OT salvation vs NT salvation, they lose the ability to Biblically discern the difference between the Judgment Seat of Christ vs The Great White Throne Judgement. Eventually, they start believing and teaching the heresy that salvation is the same throughout the entire Bible with ONE general judgment in the end, completely unable to discern the doctrinal difference between salvation and rewards.

Ask yourself this question: If everybody’s equal in Heaven, what is the benefit of receiving Jesus Christ as your personal Savior at a young age and living for Christ your entire life when some Hell bound sinner can live wicked as possible, get saved on his deathbed, and receive the exact same rewards in Heaven?

There’s no tangible benefit for your health or wealth in living for Christ on earth because God promises persecution to all those that live godly in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:12 KJV). So what was the benefit?

The Biblical answer to this is that although salvation in Christ is a free gift of God that’s available to all sinners at any time, a Christian’s rewards are EARNED (2 Corinthians 5:10 KJV). As a member in the body of Christ, a Christian can earn crowns, millennial inheritance, and the right to rule and reign with Christ in the Millennium (1 Corinthians 3:10-14/ Romans 8:17/ 2 Timothy 2:11-13 KJV).

5 CrownsThese 5 Crowns available to the born again believer are:

The Crown of Righteousness: for those who love the Lord’s appearing when he appears in the sky (2 Timothy 4:3 KJV)

The Crown of Rejoicing: for soul winning (1 Thess 2:9 KJV)

The Incorruptible Crown: for keeping your body under subjection on earth (1 Corinthians 9:25:27 KJV)

The Crown of Glory: For feeding the sheep of God (1 Peter 5:4 KJV)

The Crown of Life: For enduring temptation (James 1:12 KJV)

The dead bed converted believer receives no rewards, crowns, or millennial inheritance. He receives God’s righteousness (Rom 10:3-4 KJV) which is eternal life in Heaven. Carnal Christians say “if I get into Heaven, that’ll be good enough for me”. This thinking is contrary to Scripture:

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”Colossians 3:1,2 (KJV)

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Belshazzar’s Feast And The Fall Of Babylon

Almost seventy years have passed since the events of chapter 1 of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar himself had died in 562 B.C. Daniel does not record his immediate successors, and extrabiblical literature is somewhat confused. A plausible account of Berosus, in his third book, found in a fragment preserved by Josephus summarizes the history between Nebuchadnezzar’s death in 562 B.C. and the fall of Babylon 539 B.C.

According to Berosus, Nebuchadnezzar died after a reign of 43 years and was followed by his son Evil-Merodach. Because his rule was arbitrary and licentious, he was assassinated by Neriglisar after he had reigned only two years. The next four years Neriglisar occupied the throne. At his death his son Laborosoarchod, who was only a child, reigned for nine months until a conspiracy resulted in his being beaten to death. The conspirators appointed Nabonidus, one of their number, who reigned for seventeen years before being defeated by Cyrus the Persian. Nabonidus fleeing Babylon went to Borsippa but was forced to surrender to Cyrus. Nabonidus was allowed to live in Carmania until the time of his death, but he was not allowed to come to Babylonia.

The account of Berosus preserved by Josephus is supported by other evidence such as the short fragment of Abydenus preserved by Eusebius.

Until the discovery of the Nabonidus Cylinder, no mention of Belshazzar, whom Daniel declares to be king of Babylon, had been found in extrabiblical literature. Critics of the authenticity and historicity of Daniel accordingly were free to question whether any such person as Belshazzar existed. Since the publication of Raymond Dougherty’s scholarly research on Nabonidus and Belshazzar, based on the Nabonidus Cylinder and other sources, there is no ground for questioning the general historicity of Belshazzar; and only the details of the scriptural account unverified by extrabiblical sources can be challenged by the critics. Montgomery states that the story is “un-historical” but “nevertheless contains indubitable reminiscences of actual history.”

On the other hand, such a careful scholar as Edward J. Young states, “The identity of Belshazzar has long caused difficulty to commentators. Some have denied his historicity… The king’s name, however, has now appeared upon the cuneiform documents, so that there can be no question as to his historicity. This is the first point at which this ch. exhibits its remarkable accuracy.” The controversy over Belshazzar, because of the extensive investigation and great variety of findings, has become one of the most complicated problems in the entire book, but the problem itself is comparatively simple. Was Belshazzar actually king of Babylon and was he murdered on the night that Babylon was conquered?

A solution of the problem has depended largely on the premises of the scholars dealing with it. Those critical of the authenticity and accuracy of Daniel, especially those zealous to prove second-century authorship, proceed on the premise that Daniel must be in error until he is proved otherwise. Here the discussion is lost in a maze of conflicting facts in extrabiblical literature concerning which the critics themselves are not agreed. Although such ancient records are notoriously inaccurate and at best are fragmentary, the argument of the critics was that Belshazzar never existed because his name did not appear in any of the ancient records. This omission, however, was later remedied, as mentioned above, by the discovery of the name of Bel-shar-usur (Belshazzar) on cylinders in which he is called the son of Nabonidus. Critics, having to recede from their former position that no such person existed, have since centered their attack on the fact that the word king does not occur in connection with Belshazzar on any extant Babylonian records. The establishment of Nabonidus as the father of Belshazzar, or at least his stepfather, nullifies most of the critical objections, although Rowley in an extensive discussion maintains stoutly that to call Belshazzar a king “must still be pronounced a grave historical error.”

Since Rowley, however, even liberal scholars have tended to accept the explanation that Belshazzar acted as a regent under his father, Nabonidus. Norman Porteous, for instance, writes, “On the other hand it is known that Belshazzar was a historical person, the son of the last Babylonian king Nabonidus, who acted as regent of Babylon for several years before its fall, while his father was absent at the oasis of Teima in Arabia.” This would begin Belshazzar’s regency about 553 B.C., when Nabonidus went to Teima. Not only the record in Daniel but also the external evidence is now sufficient to support the conclusion that Belshazzar’s coregency is almost beyond question. This is another illustration of how critical objections based on lack of external evidence are frequently overthrown when the evidence is uncovered.

Additional evidence that Nabonidus was away from Babylon on the night of Daniel 5 is given in the fragment from Berosus, previously cited, which indicates that Nabonidus had left Babylon only to be vanquished in battle and flee to Borsippa. This would involve the premise that Nabonidus, although usually living at Teima, had returned to Babylon for a visit just prior to the siege of Babylon, had gone out to battle before Babylon was actually surrounded, and then was defeated, thereby permitting the Persians to besiege Babylon itself. Under these circumstances, Belshazzar would indeed be king of Babylon in the absence of his father. Problems of his relationship will be considered at the proper place in the exposition, including the possibility that Belshazzar’s mother was a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and thus in the royal line, whereas Nabonidus was not. There are actually so many plausible possibilities in Daniel’s account, supported by the evidence cited, that the storm of objections can hardly be taken seriously.

Belshazzar’s Feast in Honor of the Gods of Babylon

5:1-4 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his 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. Then 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. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

About seventy years had elapsed since the capture of Jerusalem recorded in Daniel 1. In the interpretation of the image in chapter 2, Daniel had predicted to Nebuchadnezzar, “After thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee” (Dan 2:39). Now, in chapter 5, this prophecy is about to be fulfilled. Nebuchadnezzar’s humiliating experience in chapter 4 had been followed by his death in 562 b.c. Approximately twenty-three years elapsed between chapter 4 and chapter 5. In this period, a number of monarchs had succeeded Nebuchadnezzar. According to Berosus, Nebuchadnezzar was succeeded by his son, Evil-Merodach, also known as Amel-Marduk, who was killed in 560 b.c. He was followed by Neriglissar, also spelled Nergal-shar-usur, a son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar who died in 556 b.c. of natural causes. He was succeeded by Laborosoarchad, also known as Labashi-Marduk, a grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, who was assassinated after less than a year. Nabonidus assumed the throne in 556 b.c. and reigned until 539 b.c. when conquered by the Medes. Belshazzar is best identified as his son, whose mother was either a wife or a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar and thereby strengthened the claim of Nabonidus to the throne. This explains why Belshazzar in the lineal descent from Nebuchadnezzar was honored as a coruler under Nabonidus. Although there are alternative explanations and some dates vary, this succession of kings and identification of characters seems to have reasonable justification. Most expositors disagree with Keil, who identifies Belshazzar with Evil-Merodach, preferring the identification of a son of Nabonidus, based on later evidence not available to Keil. The identifications of Leupold are more satisfactory.

Marduk, sun god of Babylon, with his thunderbolts pursues Anzu

Marduk, sun god of Babylon, with his thunderbolts pursues Anzu

In the quarter of a century which elapsed between chapter 4 and chapter 5, the further revelations given to Daniel in chapters 7 and 8 occurred. Chapter 7 was revealed to Daniel “in the first year of Belshazzar, king of Babylon” (Dan 7:1) and the vision of the ram and he-goat in chapter 8 occurred “in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar” (Dan 8:1). The information embodied in these two visions, insofar as Daniel understood it, therefore was known to Daniel before the event of chapter 5 which chronologically came after chapters 7 and 8. If Belshazzar began his reign in 553 b.c, when Nabonidus went to Teima, the visions of chapters 7 and 8 actually occurred about twelve years before the events of chapter 5.

Verse 1 of chapter 5 introduces the fact that Belshazzar as king of Babylon had made a great feast to which a thousand of his lords had been invited with their wives. That such a large feast should be held by a monarch like Belshazzar is not at all strange. Leupold cites the ancient historian Ktesias to the effect that Persian monarchs frequently were known to dine daily with 15,000 people. M. E. 50:Mallowan mentions the great feast that Ashusnasirpal II gave to 69,574 guests when he dedicated his new capital city of Calah (Nimrud) in 879 b.c.

Although the size of the banquet is not amazing, the situation was most unusual. If the setting can be reconstructed, Nabonidus previously had gone forth from Babylon to fight the Medes and the Persians and had already been captured. The whole surrounding territory of the city of Babylon and the related provinces already had been conquered. Only Babylon with its massive walls and fortifications remained intact. Possibly to reassert their faith in their Babylonian gods and to bolster their own courage, this feast in the form of a festival had been ordered. The storehouses of Babylon were still abundant with food and wine, and there is evidence that there was plenty of both at this feast. The expression “drunk wine before the thousand” indicates that Belshazzar was probably on a platform at a higher level than other guests and led them in drinking toasts to their deities. Under the stimulus of wine, the thought occurred to Belshazzar to bring in the gold and silver vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar almost seventy years before. The implication in the clause “whiles he tasted the wine” is that Belshazzar in his right mind probably would not have committed this sacrilegious act.

Drinking bouts such as characterized Babylon were also common among other peoples, such as the Persians. Athenaeus quotes Heracleides of Cumae, the author of Persian History, in describing in detail the custom of drinking to excess after dinner. The luxury of both the drinking and the eating is also illustrated in Athenaeus in describing dinners among the Persians of high station as follows: “For one thousand animals are slaughtered daily for the king; these comprise horses, camels, oxen, asses, deer, and most of the smaller animals; many birds also are consumed, including Arabian ostriches—and the creature is large—geese, and cocks.”

Much has been made of the reference of Belshazzar’s relationship to Nebuchadnezzar, who is described as “his father” in verse 2; and even Keil is influenced by this to consider Belshazzar a literal son of Nebuchadnezzar. This is not entirely impossible, of course, for as Leupold shows, Nabonidus could have married a widow of Nebuchadnezzar who had a son by Nebuchadnezzar who then could be adopted by Nabonidus by way of strengthening his own hold upon the throne. As Nabonidus assumed the throne in 556 B.C., only six years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, and Belshazzar was probably at least a teenager when Nebuchadnezzar died—if he was old enough to be coregent with Nabonidus in 553 B.C.— it is possible that he was a genuine son of Nebuchadnezzar and that his mother, after Nebuchadnezzar’s death, was married to Nabonidus. This, however, is conjecture; and probably it is more natural to consider Belshazzar a son of Nabonidus himself.

Although the precise identity of Belshazzar may continue to be debated, available facts support accepting Daniel’s designation of Belshazzar as king. The reference to father may be construed as “grandfather.” As Pusey states, “Neither in Hebrew, nor in Chaldee, is there any-word for ‘grandfather,’ ‘grandson.’ Forefathers are called ‘fathers’ or ‘fathers’ fathers.’ But a single grandfather, or forefather, is never called ‘father’s father’ but always ‘father’ only.”

The sacred vessels taken from Jerusalem had apparently been kept in storage without sacrilegious use from Nebuchadnezzar’s day until the occasion of this feast. Now these holy vessels are distributed among the crowd and used as vessels from which to drink wine. Verse 2 cites that “the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines” drink from them; and this fact is restated in the actual act in verse 3 where only the golden vessels are mentioned. The Revised Standard Version, following the Vulgate, adds in verse 3 “and silver vessels.” This act of sacrilege was an intentioned religious gesture in praise of the gods of Babylon mentioned in descending order of importance as “gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” That Belshazzar well knew the blasphemous character of his act is evident from Daniel 5:13, 22. He knew Daniel and knew the history of Nebuchadnezzar’s experience with God’s chastening. Some have found, in the six materials mentioned, a typical reference to “the number of the world amenable to judgment because of its hostility to God.” In the original, the gods of gold and silver are separated by the conjunction “and,” not true of the listing of the gods of brass, iron, wood, and stone, as if there were two classes of deities. This distinction is supported by Keil.

Their pride in their deities may have been bolstered by the magnificence of the city of Babylon itself, interpreted as an evidence of the power of their gods. Herodotus gives a glowing account of Babylon as a monument to the genius of Nebuchadnezzar and undoubtedly a source of much pride to all the Babylonians. According to Herodotus, Babylon was about fourteen miles square, with great outer walls 87 feet thick and 350 feet high, with a hundred great bronze gates in the walls. A system of inner and outer walls with a water moat between the walls made the city very secure. So broad and strong were the walls that chariots four abreast could parade around its top. Herodotus pictures hundreds of towers at appropriate intervals reaching another 100 feet into the air above the top of the wall.

Modern interpreters view Herodotus’ figures as greatly exaggerated, with the real dimensions only about one-fourth of what Herodotus claimed. The outer wall seems to have been only seventeen miles in circumference, instead of about fifty-six as Herodotus claimed, with much fewer towers and gates; and probably even the towers were not more than 100 feet tall. While the dimensions may be questioned, the magnificence of the city was not seriously exaggerated.

The great Euphrates River flowed through the middle of the city in a general north-south direction and was bordered by walls on each side to protect the city from attack from the river. Within these walls were beautiful avenues, parks, and palaces. Many of the streets were lined with buildings three and four stories high. Among these buildings were the Temple of Bel, an eight-story structure, and the magnificent palace of the king, actually a complex of buildings, which have now been excavated. A great bridge spanned the Euphrates River, connecting the eastern section and the western or new section of the city. The bridge was later supplemented by a tunnel mentioned by Diodorus. The famed “hanging gardens” of Babylon were large enough to support trees.

babylon-represents-mans-efforts-to-replace-god-with-himselfAlthough Babylon has been only partially excavated with but a small part of the original city recovered, the system of mounds which mark the city today more or less indicate its boundaries. Archeological research is complicated by a change in the course of the Euphrates River and a higher water level, but more than 10,000 inscribed texts have been discovered.

In many respects, Babylon was the most fabulous city of the ancient world both for the beauty of its architecture and for the safety of its huge walls and fortifications. It was hard for the Babylonians to believe that even the Medes and the Persians who had surrounded their beloved city could possibly breach the fortifications or exhaust their supplies which were intended to be ample for a siege of many years. Their confidence in their gods was bolstered by their confidence in their city.

The Handwriting on the Wall

5:5-9 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. 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. 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. 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. Then was king Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

While the feast was in progress with its drinking of wine and shouting of praises to the gods of Babylon, suddenly there appeared the fingers of a man’s hand which wrote on the plastered wall of the palace. With only the fingers of the hand visible and producing writing upon the wall, the spectacle immediately attracted attention.

In the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace archeologists have uncovered a large throne room 56 feet wide and 173 feet long which probably was the scene of this banquet. Midway in the long wall opposite the entrance there was a niche in front of which the king may well have been seated. Interestingly, the wall behind the niche was covered with white plaster as described by Daniel, which would make an excellent background for such a writing.

If the scene can be reconstructed, it is probable that the banquet was illuminated by torches which not only produced smoke but fitful light that would only partially illuminate the great hall. As the writing according to Daniel was written “over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace,” it may have appeared in an area of greater illumination than the rest of the room and thus also have attracted more attention.

The effect upon the king and his associates was immediate. According to Daniel, his countenance changed, that is, changed color and became pale. His thin courage, bolstered by wine drunk from vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had plundered and were seemingly a symbol of the power of the gods of Babylon, now deserted him. He was instead filled with terror to the point that “the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” In his excitement, he no longer could sit down but hardly had the strength to stand. Probably before the babble of conversation in the banquet room had subsided, the king began to cry aloud “to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers.” Only three classes of wise men are mentioned, but it is doubtful whether any class was intentionally omitted as verse 8 refers to “all the king’s wise men.” The astrologers were actually the magicians; the Chaldeans were a broad class of scholars and learned men in the lore of the Babylonians; and the soothsayers corresponded more closely to the modern concept of astrologers, although they may have also practiced sorcery. It is possible in the decline of the Babylonian Empire that the number of the wise men was far more limited at this point in history than it was under Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. In any event, there is no proof for the suggestion discussed by Keil that the classification of wise men mentioned purposely excluded Daniel. As Keil points out, the king was ready to listen to anyone who could interpret the writing.

As soon as a suitable number of the wise men had assembled, the king addressed them offering the reward that, if one of them could read the writing and show the interpretation, he would be clothed with scarlet and have a chain of gold about his neck and become third ruler in the kingdom. To be clothed in scarlet and to wear a chain of gold about the neck were special tokens of the king’s favor and certainly would have been coveted by any of the wise men.

Much speculation has arisen concerning the expression that he offered them the position of being “the third ruler in the kingdom.” There is some question as to whether the Aramaic indicates specifically “the third ruler.” The ordinal numeral would be tÿli‚ta„y (as in Dan 2:39) whereas the Aramaic here is actually talti‚. Scholars are not agreed as to the precise meaning of this term, but the suggestion is made that it may be a title for an office of honor which did not necessarily correspond precisely to the meaning of the word. As Keil expresses it, “It is not quite certain what the princely situation is which was promised to the interpreter of the writing… That it is not the ordinale of the number third, is, since Havernick, now generally acknowledged.” However, recent scholarship has tended to confirm the translation “the third ruler.” Franz Rosenthal, for instance, confidently translates the term “one-third (ruler), triumvir.”

In spite of the problem in the word, it is probable that the offer of honor was that of being the third ruler. Belshazzar under Nabonidus was considered the second ruler, and the position of a third ruler would be the highest that he could offer. Belshazzar was evidently in no mood to bargain but was terrified and desperately desired to know the meaning of the writing.

The large reward that was offered, however, was to no avail, for the wise men who assembled could not read the writing nor interpret it. This implies a twofold difficulty. Some have claimed that the text does not plainly indicate the language. Charles, for instance, suggests that the writing was in unfamiliar ideograms. This, however, is mere conjecture. The probability is that the writing was in Aramaic and therefore not entirely unknown to the wise men.

In any case Daniel read the writing as Aramaic, and the suggestion of puns in the language depends upon the Aramaic. The difficulty of the wise men in reading the writing may have been that it was written in Aramaic script without the vowels being supplied; but if written in cuneiform, the vowels would have been included. Daniel does not explain the difficulty in reading the writing on the wall, but the problem apparently was not that it was a strange language but rather what the words signified prophetically.

The inability of the wise men to decipher the writing only increased the concern of Belshazzar. Perhaps the full force of his wickedness in using the vessels taken from the temple in Jerusalem had begun to dawn upon him, or the fears suppressed concerning the presence of the armies which surrounded Babylon may have now emerged. His concern was shared by the entire assembly.

Belshazzar’s predicament is another illustration of the insecurity and powerlessness of the rulers of this world when confronted by the power and wisdom of God. How God holds in derision the rulers of the world who take counsel against Him (Ps 2:1-4)! Like Nebuchadnezzar before him, Belshazzar was soon to experience divine judgment but without the happy ending.

Daniel Suggested as the Interpreter

5:10-12 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 for ever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed. 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; 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 show the interpretation.

The crisis produced by the inability of the wise men to interpret the handwriting on the wall is met by the entrance of one described as “the queen.” Much speculation surrounds the identity of this person as it is related to the larger question of Belshazzar’s lineage. Keil and Leupold both consider her to be a wife of Nebuchadnezzar and the mother of Belshazzar. As the wives of the lords and the king himself had earlier been declared to be at the banquet (v. 3) one who had the role of “queen” would most probably be Belshazzar’s mother. She had not attended the banquet. This would be understandable if she was elderly and the widow of Nebuchadnezzar. If she were the wife of Nabonidus who was in captivity she probably would not have desired to come alone. Hearing the unusual clamor at the banquet and learning of the distress of her son, because of her position she was able to enter the banquet hall freely and speak to the king. Her address is courteous, “O king, live for ever,” but directly to the point. Like a mother, she told her son in effect to pull himself together because there must be some solution to his problem. As one holding her position was normally highly regarded and treated with respect, she could speak out in a way that no other could do. Honoring of parents was characteristic of the Israelites (Ex 20:12; 1 Ki 2:13-20; 2 Ki 24:12-15). The same was true in the Gentile world, and the dowager queen was able to enter the banquet hall without an invitation.

Montgomery, opposing the idea that the queen is Belshazzar’s wife, comments, “Also the lady’s masterful appearance on the scene betokens rather the queen-mother than the consort.” Jeffery, likewise, writes, “…she speaks to him of his father in a way that suggests a mother speaking to a son rather than a wife to a husband.”

The solution to the problem which the queen suggested was that they invite Daniel the prophet, who had been discovered as a man of wisdom by Nebuchadnezzar, to interpret the writing. The queen uses the very words which presumably she had heard Nebuchadnezzar express (Dan 4:8, 9, 18). According to the queen, Daniel had “the spirit of the holy gods.” In the time of Nebuchadnezzar, to whom she refers as “thy father,” Daniel had been found to have the wisdom of gods and possessing “light,” that is, enlightenment, “understanding” or insight, and in general wisdom comparable to the wisdom of the gods. So great was his genius that Nebuchadnezzar had made him “master” or chief of his wise men, which in itself was a remarkable position for one who was not a Chaldean; and this honor placed upon him testified to the confidence of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel’s abilities. The reference to Nebuchadnezzar as the father of Belshazzar, as previously indicated, should probably be either grandfather or greatgrandfather as the same term would be used for any of these designations. It does imply, however, that Belshazzar was in descent from Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel’s excellent qualities manifested themselves in “an excellent spirit,” unusual knowledge and understanding, and the ability to interpret dreams, difficult sentences, and “dissolving of doubts,” that is, solutions to problems. The word for doubts ( qitÿri‚n) is actually knots, joints, difficult problems. Daniel had not been assembled with the other wise men because he probably was in semiretirement and was no longer chief of the wise men. The queen urged, however, that now he be brought in to solve the present problem.

Daniel Called Before the King

5:13-16 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? 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. 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 show the interpretation of the thing: 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.

When Daniel was brought before the king, he addressed a natural question to reassure himself of the identity of Daniel. It seems clear that Belshazzar knew something of Daniel, for his form of address in verse 13 goes beyond the information supplied by his mother. He knew for instance that Daniel was of the captivity of Judah and that he was one of the captives which Nebuchadnezzar had brought out of Jerusalem. It may well be that because of awareness of his ancestry and religious convictions that Daniel had been demoted by Belshazzar himself. Now Belshazzar was all too eager to have the gifts of this man exercised to interpret the writing. Belshazzar goes on in verse 14 to repeat what his mother had said concerning Daniel’s wisdom.

Belshazzar informs Daniel of the inability of all the wise men either to read or to interpret the writing. Belshazzar then offers Daniel the same promise he made to the others of being clothed with scarlet and having a chain of gold and the privilege of being “the third ruler in the kingdom,” that is, the triumvir. As in the previous instances in Daniel 2 and 4, the wisdom of the world is demonstrated to be totally unable to solve its major problems and to understand either the present or the future. Daniel as the prophet of God is the channel through which divine revelation would come, and Belshazzar in his extremity was willing to listen.

Too often the world, like Belshazzar, is not willing to seek the wisdom of God until its own bankruptcy becomes evident. Then help is sought too late, as in the case of Belshazzar, and the cumulative sin and unbelief which precipitated the crisis in the first place becomes the occasion of downfall.

The situation before Belshazzar had all the elements of a great drama. Here was Daniel, an old man well in his eighties, with the marks of godly living evident in his bearing—in sharp contrast to the wine-flushed faces of the crowd. In the midst of this atmosphere of consternation, apprehension, and fear, Daniel’s countenance alone reflected the deep peace of God founded on confidence in God and His divine revelation.

Daniel’s Rebuke of Belshazzar

5:17-23 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. O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: 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. 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: 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 appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this: 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:

Daniel’s reply to the king is properly called a sermon, and as King says, “What a great sermon it is!” Daniel begins by disavowing any interest in the gifts or rewards which the king offered. This was not prompted by disrespect nor by the evident fact that they would be short-lived. What Daniel is saying is that he will give an unprejudiced interpretation with no attempt to seek favor from the king. He promises both to read and to make known the interpretation.

In addressing the king, Daniel does not begin with a formal salutation as he does for instance in connection with Darius in Daniel 6:21 where he says, “O king, live for ever.” No doubt Daniel holds Belshazzar in contempt for his desecration of the sacred vessels. However, the narration here must be considered in the form of a condensation; and probably Daniel addressed the king in a formal way. A parallel is found in Daniel 2:27, where Daniel addresses Nebuchadnezzar without formal greeting, and in Daniel 4:19, where Daniel replies to Nebuchadnezzar simply with the expression, “My lord.” This was hardly a time in any case for Daniel to greet Belshazzar with such an expression as he gave to Darius, “O king, live for ever,” when as a matter of fact, Belshazzar’s hours were numbered. Instead, in verse 18 he recognizes him as king but then immediately delivers his prophetic message of condemnation.

Daniel first reminds Belshazzar that God gave Nebuchadnezzar his great kingdom and the honor that went with it. Daniel describes graphically in verse 19 how Nebuchadnezzar was feared and had absolute authority of life and death over his people and, accordingly, was an absolute sovereign. As Young points out, however, the very character of this absolute authority delegated to Nebuchadnezzar by God also made Nebuchadnezzar responsible. This is demonstrated and supported by Nebuchadnezzar’s experience of insanity in Daniel 4 when, as Daniel expresses it, “he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him.” Daniel then itemizes in detail the characteristics of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity, how he lived with the wild beasts, ate grass like the ox, and was wet with the dew of heaven. All of this proved that God was greater than Nebuchadnezzar and held him responsible for his authority. Only when Nebuchadnezzar was properly humbled did God restore him to his” glory and kingdom.

These facts are pertinent to Belshazzar’s situation as they were well known by everyone as Daniel expresses it in verse 22, “And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this.” The contrast between the supreme power of Nebuchadnezzar and the very limited power of Belshazzar is also evident. Belshazzar was not even the first ruler in the kingdom and was humiliated by the fact that Babylon was besieged and had already lost its power over the provinces surrounding the city.

Belshazzar’s situation and his knowledge of Nebuchadnezzar’s humbling made all the more blasphemous his taking of the vessels captured in Jerusalem from the house of the Lord and using them to drink wine in praising the gods of Babylon. With what eloquent scorn Daniel declares that Belshazzar, his lords, wives and concubines had drunk wine from these sacred vessels and had “praised 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.”

Although the Scriptures do not state so expressly, it is probable that the message of Daniel to the king was heard by the entire company. It would have been quite improper for the entire company to keep on talking, especially in these dramatic circumstances, when Daniel was reporting to the king. They would naturally want to hear what he had to say. One can well imagine the tense moment as these ringing words reached every ear in the vast hail in the deathlike silence that greeted Daniel’s prophetic utterance. Here was a man who did not fear man and feared only God. Daniel spoke in measured tones the condemnation of that which was blasphemous in the sight of the holy God. There was, however, nothing insolent or discourteous in Daniel’s address to the king; and the charges were stated in a factual and objective way. In any case, the king was in no position to dispute with Daniel, even though Daniel’s words brought even greater fear and apprehension to his heart.

Daniel’s Interpretation of the Writing

me5:24-28 Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

In beginning his explanation of the handwriting on the wall, Daniel first of all reads the writing; and for the first time, the words are introduced into the text of this chapter. Transliterated into English, they are given as “MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.” There has been almost endless critical discussion as to what the meaning of this inscription is, and the interpretation is complicated by a number of factors. In the book of Daniel the words are given in Aramaic, but some have questioned this. If it was written in Aramaic script, however, only the consonants may have appeared. If in cuneiform, the vowels would be included. While in ordinary discourse the lack of vowels could normally be supplied rather easily, in a cryptic statement such as this the addition of vowels is a problem. The inscription on the wall may have appeared like this, “MN’ MN’ TQL UPRSN.” The order of the letters in the Aramaic, of course, would be the reverse of this, that is, from right to left.

Young suggests, after some of the rabbis, that the characters may have been written vertically, and in that case in the Aramaic order they would have appeared as follows:

P T M M

R Q N N

S L ’ ’

If, in addition to the complications of the Aramaic, a language which was known, some unfamiliar form of their characters was used, it would indeed have required divine revelation to give a suitable explanation and interpretation, and may account for the difficulty in reading the writing.

Because of the variety of words that could be identified merely by the consonants, another suggestion has been made. MENE could be considered equivalent to the maneh of Ezekiel 45:12; Ezra 2:69. TEQEL could be considered as representing the Hebrew shekel PERES could be read as PERAS, or a half-maneh, although this identification is questionable. Under this interpretation, the writing would read, “A maneh, a maneh, a shekel, and a half-maneh.” Having arrived at this conclusion, however, it still remains to be determined what it means. Young in his discussion on this point gives J. Dymeley Prince the credit for the suggestion that the maneh refers to Nebuchadnezzar, the shekel (of much less value) to Belshazzar, and the half-minas refers to the Medes and the Persians. Daniel’s explanation, however, is far more cogent and reasonable, and does not give any indication that the words mean other than he indicates.

The word MENE means “numbered,” and Daniel interprets this in verse 26 as indicating “God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.” It is in keeping with the idea that man’s days are numbered, and the repetition of the word twice is probably for emphasis. Like the other words, it is a passive participle.

TEQEL means “weighed,” with the thought that Belshazzar has been put into the balances and found wanting, that is, short of true weight.

PERES means “divided,” and is merely another form for UPHARSIN as in verse 25 having the u, which is equivalent to the English and, with PHARSIN being the plural of PERES. Leupold suggests that PHARSIN could be understood by changing the vowels to be “Persians” and might have a double meaning as indicated by Daniel’s explanation “given to the Medes and Persians.” A pun may be intended on this third word. Having been interpreted to mean “divided,” it is also understood as a reference to the Aramaic word for Persian, thereby hinting a Persian victory over Babylon.

The interpretation of Daniel is clear and much more satisfactory than the alternatives offered by some expositors. Belshazzar is made to understand that Babylon will be given to the Medes and the Persians. Even while Daniel was interpreting the writing on the wall, the prophecy was being fulfilled as the Medes and the Persians poured into the city.

Daniel’s Reward and the Prophecy Fulfilled

5:29-31 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. In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

The drama of the writing on the wall and its interpretation is now brought to its fulfillment as Belshazzar keeps his promise. Daniel is clothed with scarlet, a chain of gold put about his neck, and a proclamation issued that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. All of these honors, however, were short-lived and useless, as Daniel well knew, and typical of the honors of this world. In its rise to power the Babylonian Empire had conquered Jerusalem, taken its inhabitants into captivity, looted its beautiful temple, and completely destroyed the city. Yet this empire was to have as its last official act the honoring of one of these captives who by divine revelation predicted not only the downfall of Babylon but the course of the times of the Gentiles until the Son of man should come from heaven. Man may have the first word, but God will have the last word.

Herodotus gives an interesting account of the circumstances surrounding the capture of Babylon:

“Cyrus… then advanced against Babylon. But the Babylonians, having taken the field, awaited his coming; and when he had advanced near the city, the Babylonians gave battle, and, being defeated, were shut up in the city. But as they had been long aware of the restless spirit of Cyrus, and saw that he attacked all nations alike, they had laid up provisions for many years, and therefore were under no apprehensions about a siege. On the other hand, Cyrus found himself in difficulty, since much time had elapsed, and his affairs were not at all advanced. Whether, therefore, someone else made the suggestion to him in his perplexity, or whether he himself devised the plan, he had recourse to the following stratagem. Having stationed the bulk of his army near the passage of the river where it enters Babylon, and again having stationed another division beyond the city, where the river makes its exit, he gave order to his forces to enter the city as soon as they should see the stream fordable. Having stationed his forces and given these directions, he himself marched away with the ineffective part of his army; and having come to the lake, Cyrus did the same with respect to the river and the lake as the queen of the Babylonians had done; for having diverted the river, by means of a canal, into the lake, which was before a swamp, he made the ancient channel fordable by the sinking of the river. When this took place, the Persians who were appointed to that purpose close to the stream of the river, which had now subsided to about the middle of a man’s thigh, entered Babylon by this passage. If, however, the Babylonians had been aware of it beforehand, or had known what Cyrus was about, they would not have suffered the Persians to enter the city, but would have utterly destroyed them; for, having shut all the little gates that lead to the river, and mounting the walls that extend along the banks of the river, they would have caught them as in a net; whereas the Persians came upon them by surprise. It is related by the people who inhabited this city, that, by reason of its great extent, when they who were at the extremities were taken, those of the Babylonians who inhabited the centre knew nothing of the capture (for it happened to be a festival); but they were dancing at the time, and enjoying themselves, till they received certain information of the truth. And thus Babylon was taken for the first time.”

Keil discusses at length both Herodotus’ account and that of Xenophon in his Cyropaedia,which is similar, and summarizes the arguments of Kranichfeld discounting these records. Discoveries since Keil tend to support Herodotus and Xenophon, although not accounting for Darius the Mede. The battle probably took place much as Herodotus records it.

Prophecy anticipating the fall of Babylon is found in both Isaiah and Jeremiah, written many years before. Isaiah and Jeremiah had prophesied that Babylon would fall to the Medes on just such a night of revelry as Daniel records (Is 13:17-22; 21:1-10; Jer 51:33-58). Some of these prophecies may have their ultimate fulfillment in the future (Rev 17-18). More specifically of the invasion of the Medes, Isaiah writes, “Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media” (Is 21:2), and continues, after describing their dismay, “My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me. Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield” (Is 21:4-5). Finally, the tidings come, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground” (Is 21:9). Jeremiah is explicit, “And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire” (Jer 51:57-58).

The account of Cyrus, himself, of the fall of Babylon has now been recovered in an inscription on a clay barrel:

Marduk, the great lord, a protector of his people/worshipers, beheld with pleasure his (i.e., Cyrus’) good deeds and his upright mind (lit.: heart) (and therefore) ordered him to march against his city Babylon… He made him set out on the road to Babylon… going at his side like a real friend. His widespread troops—their number, like that of the water of a river, could not be established—strolled along, their weapons packed away. Without any battle, he made him enter his town Babylon,… sparing Babylon… any calamity. He delivered into his (1:e., Cyrus’) hands Nabonidus, the king who did not worship him (i.e., Marduk).

Daniel himself records with graphic simplicity the fulfillment of his prophecy in the words, “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” The concluding verse of the chapter in English versification records how Darius the Median became ruler of Babylon at the age of 62 years. The identity of this conqueror, unknown outside the Bible by this name, has touched off endless controversy and discussion which will be considered in the next chapter.

The long chapter devoted to this incident which brought the Babylonian Empire to its close is undoubtedly recorded in the Word of God not only for its historic fulfillment of the prophecies relative to the Babylonian Empire but also as an illustration of divine dealing with a wicked world. The downfall of Babylon is in type the downfall of the unbelieving world. In many respects, modern civilization is much like ancient Babylon, resplendent with its monuments of architectural triumph, as secure as human hands and ingenuity could make it, and yet defenseless against the judgment of God at the proper hour. Contemporary civilization is similar to ancient Babylon in that it has much to foster human pride but little to provide human security. Much as Babylon fell on that sixteenth day of Tishri (Oct. 11 or 12) 539 B.C., as indicated in the Nabonidus Chronicle, so the world will be overtaken by disaster when the day of the Lord comes (1 Th 5:1-3). The disaster of the world, however, does not overtake the child of God; Daniel survives the purge and emerges triumphant as one of the presidents of the new kingdom in chapter 6.

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Filed under Daily Biblical Studies for the Soul, Studies in The Book of Daniel

Nebuchadnezzar’s Pride And Punishment

This chapter which occupies such a large portion of the book of Daniel is more than a profound story of how God can bring a proud man low. Undoubtedly, it is the climax of Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual biography which began with his recognition of the excellence of Daniel and his companions, continued with the interpretation of the dream of the image in chapter 2, and was advanced further by his experience with Daniel’s three companions.

In the background of this account is the obvious concern of Daniel the prophet for the man whom he had served for so many years. Daniel, a man of prayer, undoubtedly prayed for Nebuchadnezzar and eagerly sought some evidence of God’s working in his heart. While the experience of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 4 was not what Daniel had anticipated, the outcome must have approximated Daniel’s fondest hope. Although some like Leupold, after Calvin, “doubt whether the king’s experience led to his conversion,” it may well be that this chapter brings Nebuchadnezzar to the place where he puts his trust in the God of Daniel. Even merely as a lesson in the spiritual progress of a man in the hands of God, this chapter is a literary gem.

In the light of Daniel’s revelation of the broad scope of Gentile power beginning in chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar’s experience seems to take on the larger meaning of the humbling of Gentile power by God and the bringing of the world into submission to Himself. In the light of other passages in the Bible speaking prophetically of Babylon and its ultimate overthrow, of which Isaiah 13 and 14 may be taken as an example, it becomes clear that the contest between God and Nebuchadnezzar is a broad illustration of God’s dealings with the entire human race and especially the Gentile world in its creaturely pride and failure to recognize the sovereignty of God. The theme of the chapter, as given by Daniel himself in the interpretation of the king’s dream, is God’s dealings with Nebuchadnezzar “till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will” (Dan 4:25). Not only is the sovereignty of God demonstrated, but the bankruptcy of Babylonian wisdom forms another motif. It is obviously by design that this chapter precedes the downfall of Babylon itself which follows in chapter 5. To push this to the extreme of making it a particular application to Antiochus Epiphanes in the effort to support a late date of Daniel is, however, without justification. There is nothing whatever to link this passage to the second century B.C. In fact, it is far more applicable to that fateful night in October 539 b.c. when Babylon fell as recorded in Daniel 5.

The content of the chapter is in the form of a decree recording his dream, Daniel’s interpretation, and Nebuchadnezzar’s subsequent experience. Whether written by Nebuchadnezzar himself, or more probably by one of his scribes at his dictation, or possibly by Daniel himself at the king’s direction, the inclusion of it here in Daniel is by divine inspiration. Although critics have imagined a series of incredible objections to accepting this chapter as authentic and reasonably accurate, the narrative actually reads very sensibly and the objections seem trivial and unsupported.

Those who reject chapter 4 of Daniel without exception assume that the account is not inspired of the Holy Spirit, that an experience like Nebuchadnezzar’s is essentially incredible, and that it is a myth rather than an authentic historical record. Such objections obviously assume that higher criticism is right in declaring Daniel a forgery of the second century B.C. This conclusion is now subject to question not only because of the fallacious reasoning which supports it, but because it is now challenged by the documentary evidence in the Qumran text of Daniel, which on the basis of the critics’ own criteria would require Daniel to be much older than the second century b.c. (see Introduction). Conservative scholarship has united in declaring this chapter a genuine portion of the Word of God, equally inspired with other sections of Daniel.

Introduction of Nebuchadnezzar’s Proclamation

4:1-3 Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

Although it is clear that the opening verses are an introduction to the decree of Nebuchadnezzar, various versions differ in their versification, with the Massoretic beginning the decree at the close of chapter 3. The Septuagint rendering of chapter 4 also differs considerably from the Hebrew-Aramaic text, used for the King James Version translation. Charles summarizes the differences in these words,

In the Massoretic text, which is followed by Theodotion, the Vulgate, and the Peshitto, the entire narrative is given in the form of an edict or letter of Nebuchadnezzar to all his subjects. It begins with a greeting to ‘all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth,’ and proceeds to state the king’s desire to make known to them the signs and wonders that the Most High had wrought upon him (1-3). He then recounts a dream which troubled him, and tells how he summoned the magicians, Chaldeans, and soothsayers to make known its interpretation.

Charles then contrasts this with the Septuagint,

Turning now to the LXX we observe first of all that there is nothing in it corresponding to the first three verses in the Massoretic, which transform the next thirty-four verses into an edict. The chapter begins simply, in the LXX, with the words: ‘And in the eighteenth year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar said: I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house’: then follows in the same narrative form the next thirty-three verses. At their close comes the edict as a result of the king’s spiritual and psychical experiences, in which are embodied very many of the phrases in iv.1-3. A close study of the texts and versions has forced me to the conclusion that the older order of the text is preserved in the LXX and not in the Aramaic.

Although liberal critics generally unite in a low view of this chapter, not only assigning it to a pseudo-Daniel of the second century but finding the text itself suspect, there is insufficient evidence in favor of the Greek translation of the Septuagint. Even Montgomery, who does not regard this as authentic Scripture, rejects the view that the Septuagint is the older text than the present Aramaic text, although he considers the Aramaic also a revision of an earlier text. There is actually little justification for all these variations of unbelief. The chapter on the face of it is credible, albeit a record of supernatural revelation. Generally, those who accept the sixth century date for Daniel also accept this chapter more or less as it is.

The first verse of chapter 4 is the natural form for such a decree, beginning with the name of the sender, the people to whom it is sent, and a general greeting. That it should be sent “unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth” is not out of keeping with the extensive character of Nebuchadnezzar’s empire, although he was well aware of the fact that all of the earth’s geography was not under his power. It is similar to the extensive decree ofDaniel 3:29 which is addressed to “every people, nation, and language.” Montgomery is obviously prejudiced in his judgment, “As an edict the document is historically absurd; it has no similar in the history of royal conversions nor in ancient imperial edicts.” The folly of this kind of objection is evident in that if Montgomery had found one example in any other literature his criticism would become invalid, but he feels perfectly free to ignore the parallels in chapter 3 and chapter 6 of Daniel. In this case, as is so often true, the critics argue from alleged silence in the records, although admittedly we possess only fragments of ancient literature. This chapter is no more difficult to believe than any other unusual divine revelation.

Although the benediction, “Peace be multiplied unto you,” is strikingly similar to some of Paul’s greetings in his epistles, it was a common form of expression in the ancient world. A greeting very much like 4:1 is found in Daniel 6:25 where Darius wrote a similar decree with almost the same wording. It is possible that Daniel himself affected the form even if he did not write it as in both places he is in a position of high authority, and the edicts in both cases may have been issued under his particular direction. The decree in any case actually begins with the word peace as that which preceded it was the address.

Nebuchadnezzar then sets the stage for the presentation of his experience by declaring that it was his judgment that the amazing signs and wonders wrought in his life by “the high God” were of such unusual significance that he should share them with his entire realm. The expression signs and wonders is a familiar idiom of Scripture occurring, as Leupold notes, in many passages (Deu 6:22; 7:19; 13:1, 2; 26:8; Neh 9:10; Is 8:18, etc.). Because it is so biblical, it has led to questions by higher critics; but actually there is a great deal of similarity between Babylonian psalms and biblical psalms, and there is nothing technical about this phrase. The expression “the high God” is another evidence that Nebuchadnezzar regards the God of Israel as exalted; but it is not in itself proof that he is a monotheist, trusting only in the true God.

Nebuchadnezzar’s exclamation of the greatness of God and His signs and wonders is quite accurate and in keeping with his experience. The signs wrought in his life were indeed great, and God’s wonders were indeed mighty. His conclusion that the kingdom is an everlasting kingdom extending from generation to generation is a logical one based on his experience and reveals God in a true light (cf. Ps 145:13).

Wise Men Unable to Interpret Dream

4:4-7 I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 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. 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.

Nebuchadnezzar’s account of his experience describes his secure and flourishing situation in his palace prior to the dream. In his early reign he was active in military conquest. Now his vast domains had been made secure, and Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilling his heart’s desire by making Babylon one of the most fabulous cities of the ancient world. He was already enjoying his beautiful palace; and at the time of the dream itself he was in bed in his house as indicated in verses 5 and 10. In describing himself as “flourishing in my palace” he used a word meaning “to be green” such as the growth of green leaves on a tree, an evident anticipation of the dream which followed. In this context of security and prosperity surrounded by the monuments of his wealth and power, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which made him afraid. The sequence in verse 5 that he “saw a dream” and had “thoughts upon my bed” as well as “visions of my head” seems to imply that the dream came first, and then upon awakening from the dream which was also a vision his thoughts troubled him. The expression made me afraid is actually much stronger in the original and indicates extreme terror or fright.

As he contemplated the meaning of his experience, he issued a decree to bring all the wise men of Babylon before him to make known its interpretation. As illustrated in chapter 2 this was a standard procedure, and the wise men of Babylon were supposed to be able to interpret mystical experiences. Upon being told the dream, the wise men, described here in their various categories, as also in Daniel 2:2, did not make known to the king the interpretation. It seems that they not only did not make known the interpretation but were unable to do so, as Leupold translates this expression, “but they could not make known to me the interpretation.” Even though the dream was adverse and might present a problem in telling Nebuchadnezzar, they probably would have made some attempt to explain it to him, if they had understood it.

Daniel Told the King’s Dream

4:8-18 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, 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. 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. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: 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. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; 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: 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: 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. 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. 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.

For some unexplained reason Daniel was not with the other wise men when the king told his dream. Coming in late, he was immediately addressed personally by Nebuchadnezzar in attempt to have his dream interpreted. Questions have been raised why verse 8 not only calls him Daniel but adds the expression “whose name was Belteshazzar.” In view of the fact that this is part of a record where Daniel is prominent, why the double name?

The answer, however, is quite simple. This decree was going throughout the kingdom where most people would know Daniel by his Babylonian name, Belteshazzar. The king, in recognition of the fact that Daniel’s God is the interpreter of his dream, calls Daniel by his Hebrew name, the last syllable of which refers to Elohim, the God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar explains that his name Belteshazzar was given “according to the name of my god,” that is, the god Bel. The double name is not unnatural in view of the context and the explanation.

Of Daniel it is said “in whom is the spirit of the holy gods.” It is debatable whether gods is singular or plural, as it could be translated either way. Young, with a wealth of evidence from Montgomery, considers it a singular noun and thus a recognition by the king “that the God of Dan. was different from his own gods.” This distinction is borne out by the adjective “holy” (4:8, 18; 5:11). The philological evidence supports the singular, although Leupold agrees with Driver that the noun and its adjective are plural and a reflection of the king’s polytheism. Driver notes, “The same expression occurs in the Phoenician inscription of Eshmunazar, king of Sidon (3—4 cent. B.C.), lines 9 and 22.” The word holy, according to Young, refers to gods who are divine, rather than specifically having moral purity. The ultimate judgment of the expression depends on how well Nebuchadnezzar comprehended the nature of Daniel’s God. He obviously had high respect for the God of Daniel and may have had a true faith in the God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar, having justified his singling out Daniel of all the wise men, now records in his decree his conversation with Daniel which includes a restatement of his dream.

Daniel, addressed by his heathen name, is further described as the “master of the magicians.” This was intended by Nebuchadnezzar to be a compliment in recognition of the genius of Daniel. Having already spoken of his intimate contact with God and the indwelling of the Spirit of God in him, he refers to Daniel’s thorough knowledge of the whole field of Babylonian astrology and religion. Leupold suggests that magicians should be translated “scholars” to give the true meaning and avoid the implication of mere magic.

Nebuchadnezzar, on the basis of his previous experience, restates that the Spirit of God is in Daniel and that secrets do not trouble him, that is, he is able to declare their meaning. Of interest is the statement concerning the prince of Tyrus, “Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee” (Eze 28:3). This statement, which the critics work hard to explain, as it confirms a sixth century Daniel, also supports the idea that Daniel’s fame had spread far and wide. By the expression, “tell me the visions of my dream,” Nebuchadnezzar obviously meant that Daniel should interpret the dream which the king was now to relate. Verses 10-12 have been regarded as in poetic form if some alteration of the text were permitted, and verses 14-17 are considered free verse also, but with no metrical evenness. Most conservatives ignore this as requiring too much alteration of the text to conform to the poetic pattern. The ideas are poetic, if the form is not.

In his vision, Nebuchadnezzar saw a tree apparently standing somewhat by itself and dominating the view because of its great height. Porteous notes that Bentzen “refers to a building inscription of Nebuchadnezzar in which Babylon is compared to a spreading tree.” The use of trees in the Bible for symbolic purposes as well as in extrascriptural narratives is found frequently (cf. 2 Ki 14:9; Ps 1:3; 37:35; 52:8; 92:12; Eze 17). An obvious parallel to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream is recorded in Ezekiel 31, where the Assyrian as well as the Egyptian Pharaoh are compared to a cedar of Lebanon. Young states, “Among the commentators Haevernick particularly has illustrated the fondness with which the Orientals depicted the rise and fall of human power by means of the symbol of a tree.” In extrabiblical literature, there is the account of Astyages the Mede who had a dream in which a vine grew out of the womb of Mandane his daughter and subsequently covered all Asia. Herodotus interpreted this as referring to Cyrus. Another famous illustration is that of Xerxes, who in a dream was crowned with a branch of an olive tree which extended over the world. According to Haevernick, there are similar allusions in Arabic and Turkish sources. Nebuchadnezzar probably anticipated that the tree represented himself, and this added to his concern.

As Nebuchadnezzar described his dream, the tree was pictured as growing, becoming very strong and very high until it was visible all over the earth, obviously exceeding the possibilities of any ordinary tree. Abundant foliage characterized the tree, and it bore much fruit so that it provided for both beast and fowl and “all flesh fed of it.” This obviously included all beasts and fowls. Whether or not it was intended to apply literally to men is open to question, but symbolically it included mankind as under the rule of Nebuchadnezzar.

As Nebuchadnezzar observed the scene, an actor appears in the form of “a watcher and an holy one” who is described as coming “down from heaven.” This expression has generated a great deal of comment, especially by liberal critics who consider this a vestige of polytheism. Even Keil says, “The conception… is not biblical, but Babylonian heathen.” In the religion of the Babylonians, it was customary to recognize “council deities” who were charged with the special task of watching over the world. The question raised on this passage is whether Nebuchadnezzar uses this heathen concept.

In his detailed note on the subject of watchers, Montgomery refers to the considerable role played by the “watchers” in the intertestamental literature and to a possible occurrence in the Zadokite fragment. He quotes Meinhold as drawing attention in this connection to “the eyes of the Cherubs,” in Ezekiel 1:18, and “‘the seven, which are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth,’ Zech. 4:10,” and goes on to trace the still closer parallel with “‘the Watchers’” ( sho„mÿri‚m) and “‘the Remembrancers of the Lord’” ( hammazkiri‚m áeth-Yahweh) of Isaiah 62:6.

In the light of the full revelation of the Word of God, the most natural conclusion is that this person described as “a watcher and an holy one” is an angel sent from God even though the word angel is not used. That angels are watchers, or better translated “vigilant, making a sleepless watch,” is not foreign to the concept of angels in Scripture. The expressions “watchers” and “the holy ones” are mentioned in verse 17 by the messenger himself. Nebuchadnezzar seems to use the term in its heathen connotation as he understood it. He probably would not have understood what was meant by using the term angel in this connection, although he used angel himself in 3:28. The extended discussion of Keil on this point does not clarify the issue too much but probably says all that can be said, even though his conclusions are not entirely satisfactory.

The heavenly messenger cries aloud, literally cries “with might.” To the unnamed listeners, he calls for the tree to be cut down, its branches cut off, its leaves to be shaken off, and its fruit to be scattered. The beasts under it and the fowls in its branches were instructed to get away. The record does not say that the command is carried out, but this is implied.

Special instructions, however, are given regarding the stump; and these indicate that the tree will be revived later. The stump is to be bound with a band of iron and brass. The purpose of this is not clear unless in some way it helps preserve it. However, in real life, such a band would not prevent the stump from rotting; and it is probable here that it is symbolic of the madness which would afflict Nebuchadnezzar and hold him symbolically, if not in reality, in chains. The stump is to be surrounded by the tender grass of the field, to be wet with the dew of heaven, and to have its portion with the beasts of the earth. It seems evident that the description goes beyond the symbol of a stump to the actual fulfillment in Nebuchadnezzar’s experience. This becomes more clear in verse 16 where the person in view is given a beast’s heart instead of a man’s heart. This, of course, has no relationship to the characteristics of the stump. The prophecy is concluded with the expression, “let seven times pass over him.” This may refer to seven years or merely to a long period of time. Probably the most common interpretation is to consider it seven years as in the Septuagint. It is certain that the period is specific and not more than seven years.

The messenger then concludes that his decree proceeds from “the watchers” and from “the holy ones.” The purpose is that people living in the world may recognize the true God described as “the most High” and acknowledge Him as the true ruler of men, who has the power to place “the basest of men” over earthly kingdoms. That God can set up in a position of power the lowliest of men is a common truth of Scripture (see 1 Sa 2:7-8; Job 5:11; Ps 113:7-8; Lk 1:52; and the story of Joseph). This statement is a direct confrontation of Nebuchadnezzar’s pride in his own attainments and power.

The major problem of verse 17 is the reference to the watchers and the holy ones who seem to originate the decree. If these are understood as agencies of God, who actually is the source, the problem is alleviated. The verse itself calls our attention to the fact that God as “the most High” is the ultimate sovereign and certainly does not imply that the messengers are in any sense independent of God. The problems created by this text, therefore, are greatly overdrawn by those who see this in conflict with the scriptural doctrine of God.

In concluding his statement concerning the dream, Nebuchadnezzar appeals to Daniel to provide the interpretation. He explains to Daniel that the wise men of Babylon were not able to do this, but he expresses confidence in Daniel, “for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee” (cf. 4:8). The stage is now set for Daniel’s interpretation.

Daniel Interprets the Dream

4:19-27 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. The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; 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: 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. 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; this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: 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. 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. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.

Keil summarizes the situation facing Daniel with these words, “As Daniel at once understood the interpretation of the dream, he was for a moment so astonished that he could not speak for terror at the thoughts which moved his soul. This amazement seized him because he wished well to the king, and yet he must now announce to him a weighty judgment from God.” No doubt, Daniel was not only troubled by the content of the dream but by the need to tell Nebuchadnezzar the interpretation in an appropriate way.

Verse 19 introduces both names of Daniel again, the Hebrew name in recognition that he is acting as a servant of the God of Israel and his Babylonian name by which he was known officially. Daniel’s consternation at the interpretation of the dream is indicated in that he “was astonied for one hour,” to be understood as being in a state of perplexity for a period of time. An accurate translation would be “was stricken dumb for a while” (ASV), or “was perplexed for a moment.” The Revised Standard Version translation, “for a long time,” is probably inaccurate. Probably a full sixty minutes would have been too long for him to have remained silent in these circumstances.

Nebuchadnezzar comes to his rescue in this situation and urges him not to let the dream trouble him. The comment reflects his respect for Daniel as a person as well as an interpreter of the dream, and indirectly this is an assurance that Daniel himself need not fear the king regardless of what he reveals.

With this encouragement, Daniel replies with typical oriental courtesy that the dream be to them that hate Nebuchadnezzar and the interpretation to his enemies. Leupold believes that there is an ethical objection to Daniel’s sinking to mere flattery in this case and avoiding the real import of the dream. He interprets the statement as meaning that the dream would please the king’s enemies. It would seem more natural, however, to have the expression refer to Daniel’s wishes in the matter. It is hard to see how the expression in any sense would be flattery. Daniel had a high regard for Nebuchadnezzar and undoubtedly wished the interpretation of the dream could be otherwise than it was.

Having begun his interpretation, he now describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in detail, restating what the king had already told him. With the facts of the dream before him, he then proceeds to the interpretation in verse 22. Daniel immediately identifies the tree as representing Nebuchadnezzar. Just like the tree in the dream, the king had grown and become strong, had grown great and reached unto heaven with his dominion to the end of the earth. After recapitulating the announced destruction of the tree and the other details which the king already had recited, Daniel proceeds to the detailed interpretation in verse 24. It is significant that he mentions here, “this is the decree of the most High,” which is Daniel’s interpretation of the expression in verse 17 “the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones.” Although Nebuchadnezzar’s description did not immediately specify divine agency, it is clear that this is the interpretation according to Daniel in verse 24.

The meaning of the tree being cut down and the attendant circumstances is then defined. Nebuchadnezzar is to be driven from ordinary association with men and will dwell with the beasts of the field. In this condition he will eat grass as the ox and suffer the dew of heaven until he understands that God gives to men the power to rule as He wills. The interpretation of the stump with its bands of iron and brass is that Nebuchadnezzar will retain control of his kingdom and that it will be restored to him after he comes back to his senses. To have had his mind restored without the kingdom would have been a hollow victory. In spite of his pride, Nebuchadnezzar was to know the graciousness of God to him.

The expression, that the heavens do rule, is of particular interest for it is the only time in the Old Testament where the word heaven is substituted for God. This usage became prominent in later literature as in 1 Maccabees and in the New Testament in Matthew where the term kingdom of heaven is similar to kingdom of God. Daniel, in using the expression the heavens do rule, is not accepting the Babylonian deification of heavenly bodies, as he makes clear in 4:25 that “the most High” is a person. He is probably only contrasting divine or heavenly rule to earthly rule such as Nebuchadnezzar exercised, with the implication that Nebuchadnezzar’s sovereignty was much less than that of “the heavens.”

With the interpretation of the dream now clearly presented to Nebuchadnezzar, Daniel, as a prophet of God, gives a word of solemn exhortation to the king. With utmost courtesy, he urges the king to replace his sins with righteousness and his iniquities with showing mercy to the poor, if perchance God would lengthen the period of his tranquillity. Nebuchadnezzar undoubtedly had been morally wicked and cruel to those whom he ruled. His concern had been to build a magnificent city as a monument to his name rather than to alleviating the suffering of the poor. All of this was quite clear to Daniel as it was to God, and the exhortation is faithfully reproduced in this decree going to Nebuchadnezzar’s entire realm.

This passage has created some controversy because of a mistranslation in the Vulgate which reads in translation, “Cancel thy sins by deeds of charity and thine iniquities by deeds of kindness to the poor.” This, of course, is not what is recorded in the book of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar is not promised forgiveness on the ground of good works or alms to the poor; but rather the issue is that, if he is a wise and benevolent king, he would alleviate the necessity of God’s intervening with immediate judgment because of Nebuchadnezzar’s pride.

The Dream Fulfilled

4:28-33 All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 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, O 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.

Although fulfillment of the dream was not immediate, the decree sums it up concisely, “All this came upon king Nebuchadnezzar.” Twelve months later as he walked in the palace in Babylon, one of his crowning architectural triumphs, and looked out upon the great city of Babylon, his pride reached a new peak as he asked the question “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?” From the flat roof of the palace, he undoubtedly had a great perspective. This statement contradicts any notion of some critics that he was not actually in Babylon at that time. Everything points to the contrary. What he surveyed was indeed impressive. There are frequent mentions of the great buildings of Babylon in ancient literature.

Montgomery finds this description of Nebuchadnezzar precisely fitting the historical context: “The setting of the scene and the king’s self-complaisance in his glorious Babylon are strikingly true to history. Every student of Babylonia recalls these proud words in reading Neb.’s own records of his creation of the new Babylon; for instance (Grotefend Cylinder, KB iii, 2, p. 39): ‘Then built I the palace the seat of my royalty ( e‚kallu mu‚sŒa‚b sŒarru‚ti‚a), the bond of the race of men, the dwelling of joy and rejoicing’; and (East India House Inscr., vii, 34, KB ib., p. 25): In Babylon, my dear city, which I love was the palace, the house of wonder of the people, the bond of the land, the brilliant place, the abode of majesty in Babylon.’ The very language of the story is reminiscent of the Akkadian. The glory of Babylon, ‘that great city’ (Rev. 18), remained long to conjure the imagination of raconteurs. For the city’s grandeur as revealed to the eye of the archaeologist we may refer to R. Koldewey, Das wieder erstehende Babylon,1913 (Eng. tr. Excavations at Babylon, 1915), with its revelation of Neb.’s palace, the temples, etc.”

beastThe building of Babylon was one of Nebuchadnezzar’s principal occupations. Inscriptions for about fifty building projects have been found, usually made of brick and sometimes of stone. Among the wonders of Nebuchadnezzar’s creation were the gardens of Semiramis, the famous “hanging gardens” regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The gardens were planted on top of a building and served both to beautify and to keep the building cool from the heat of summer. They probably were in view of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. Although his palaces which he constructed were all in Babylon, there were numerous temples built in other cities. The city of Babylon itself, however, was regarded as the symbol of his power and majesty; and he spared no expense or effort to make it the most beautiful city of the world. If the construction of a great city, magnificent in size, architecture, parks, and armaments, was a proper basis for pride, Nebuchadnezzar was justified. What he had forgotten was that none of this would be possible apart from God’s sovereign will.

No sooner were the words expressing his pride out of his mouth than he heard a voice from heaven, “O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.” The voice goes on to state how Nebuchadnezzar will be driven from men and fulfill the prophecy of living the life of a beast until the proper time had been fulfilled and he was willing to recognize the most high God. His transition from sanity to insanity was immediate, and so was the reaction as he was driven from the palace to begin his period of trial. Added in verse 33 is that which had not been previously mentioned—that his hair would grow like the feathers of an eagle, completely neglected and matted, and his nails would grow like birds’ claws. How quickly God can reduce a man at the acme of power and majesty to the level of a beast. The brilliant mind of Nebuchadnezzar, like the kingdom which he ruled, was his only by the sovereign will of God.

Scripture draws a veil over most of the details of Nebuchadnezzar’s period of trial. It is probable that Nebuchadnezzar was kept in the palace gardens away from abuse by common people. Although given no care, he was protected; and in his absence his counsellors, possibly led by Daniel himself, continued to operate the kingdom efficiently. Although Scripture does not tell us, it is reasonable to assume that Daniel himself had much to do with the kind treatment and protection of Nebuchadnezzar. He, no doubt, informed the counsellors of what the outcome of the dream would be and that Nebuchadnezzar would return to sanity. In this, God must have inclined the hearts of Nebuchadnezzar’s counsellors to cooperate, quite in contrast to what is often the case in ancient governments when at the slightest sign of weakness rulers were cruelly murdered. Nebuchadnezzar seems to have been highly respected as a brilliant king by those who worked with him, and this helped set the stage for his recovery.

Although his insanity was supernaturally imposed, it is not to be regarded as much different in its result from what might be expected if it had been produced by natural causes. The form of insanity in which men think of themselves as beasts and imitate the behavior of a beast is not without precedent. Keil designates the malady as insania zoanthropica.

Young in his treatment of this designates the disease as Boanthropy, i.e., he thought himself to be an ox, and cites Pusey as having collected considerable data on the subject. A person in this stage of insanity in his inner consciousness remains somewhat unchanged, but his outer behavior is irrational. Young states, “Pusey adduces the remarkable case of Pere Surin, who believed himself to be possessed, yet maintained communion with God. It is true to fact, then, that Neb., although under the influence of this strange malady, could lift up his eyes unto heaven.” In any case, the malady supernaturally imposed by God was supernaturally relieved at the proper time.

Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience with a modern case similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar, which he observed in a British mental institution in 1946. Harrison writes,

A great many doctors spend an entire, busy professional career without once encountering an instance of the kind of monomania described in the book of Daniel. The present writer, therefore, considers himself particularly fortunate to have actually observed a clinical case of boanthropy in a British mental institution in 1946. The patient was in his early 20’s, who reportedly had been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well-developed on admission, and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of average height and weight with good physique, and was in excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk outdoors, in the grounds of the institution … His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns with which the otherwise dingy hospital situation was graced, and it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of the grass as he went along. On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between grass and weeds, and on inquiry from the attendant the writer was told the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with the other inmates, and his only drink was water… The writer was able to examine him cursorily, and the only physical abnormality noted consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse, thickened condition of the finger-nails. Without institutional care, the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33… From the foregoing it seems evident that the author of the fourth chapter of Daniel was describing accurately an attestable, if rather rare, mental affliction.

The experience of Nebuchadnezzar has been compared by liberal critics to the “Prayer of Nabonidus,” in Cave IV Document of the Qumran literature. The prayer is introduced as, “The words of the prayer which Nabonidus, King of Assyria and Babylon, the great king, prayed…” The prayer describes Nabonidus as being afflicted with a “dread disease by the decree of the Most High God,” which required his segregation at the Arabian oasis of Teima for a period of seven years. An unnamed Jewish seer is said to have advised Nabonidus to repent and give glory to God instead of the idols he formerly worshiped. Because of the parallelism between this account and that of Nebuchadnezzar, liberal scholars who consider the book of Daniel as written in the second century have concluded that the account of Nabonidus is the original account, and that what we have in Daniel 4 is a tradition about it which substituted the name of Nebuchadnezzar for that of Nabonidus. As Frank M. Cross has expressed it,

There is every reason to believe that the new document [the Prayer of Nabonidus] preserves a more primitive form of the tale [Daniel 4]. It is well known that Nabonidus gave over the regency of his realm to his son Belshazzar in order to spend long periods of time in Teima; while Nebuchadnezzar, to judge from extrabiblical data, did not give up his throne. Moreover, in the following legend of Belshazzar’s feast, the substitution of Nebuchadnezzar for Nabonidus as the father of Belshazzar (Dan. 5:2) is most suggestive. Evidently in an older stage of tradition, the cycle included the stories of Nebuchadnezzar (cf. Dan. 1-3), Nabonidus (Dan. 4), and Belshazzar (Dan. 5).

Conservative scholars, who recognize the genuineness of the book of Daniel as a sixth century b.c. writing, see no conflict in accepting both Daniel 4 as it is written and the “Prayer of Nabonidus” as having some elements of truth, although apocryphal. In fact, as the discussion of Daniel 5 brings out, the fact that Nabonidus lived at Teima for extended periods, well attested in tradition, gives a plausible explanation as to why Belshazzar was in charge in Babylon in Daniel 5. It is not necessary to impugn the record of Daniel in order to recognize the uninspired story relating to Nabonidus.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Restoration

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.

Although the previous narrative had been couched in the third person, Nebuchadnezzar now returns to first person narrative. He records how he lifted up his eyes to heaven and his understanding returned. Whether this was simultaneous or causal is not stated, but looking to the heavens possibly was the first step in his recognition of the God of heaven and gaining sane perspective on the total situation. Nebuchadnezzar’s immediate reaction was to express praise to God, whom he recognizes as “the most High.” What effect this had on his belief in other deities is not stated, but it at least opens the door to the possibility that Nebuchadnezzar had placed true faith in the God of Israel.

In praising and honoring God, he attributes to Him the quality of living forever, of having an everlasting dominion, and of directing a kingdom which is from generation to generation. These qualities of eternity and sovereignty are far greater than those attributed to Babylonian deities. Because of His sovereignty, God can consider all the inhabitants of the earth as nothing. He is able to do as He wills whether in heaven or in earth, and no one can stay his hand or ask, “What doest thou?” Even as these words of praise were uttered to God, his reason returned to him. No doubt his counsellors had maintained some sort of a watch upon him, and upon the sudden change the report was given. They immediately sought his return to his former position of honor. Apparently the transition was almost immediate, and Nebuchadnezzar was once more established in his kingdom. It is in this role that he is able to issue the decree and make the public confession that is involved.

Nebuchadnezzar concludes with praise and worship for the “King of heaven,” whom he describes in conclusion, “all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” Nebuchadnezzar’s experience brings the obvious spiritual lesson that even the greatest of earthly sovereigns is completely subject to the sovereign power of God. Montgomery summarizes the chapter concisely, “Neb. holds his fief from Him who is King in heaven and in the kingdom of man.”

The debate as to whether Nebuchadnezzar was actually saved in a spiritual sense remains unsettled. Such worthies as Calvin, Hengstenberg, Pusey, and Keil believe the evidence is insufficient. As Young and others point out, however, there is considerable evidence of Nebuchadnezzar’s spiritual progress of which chapter 4 is the climax (cf. 2:47; 3:28; 4:34-35). There can be little question that he acknowledges Daniel’s God as the omnipotent eternal sovereign of the universe (4:34, 35, 37). His issuance of a decree somewhat humiliating to his pride and an abject recognition of the power of God whom he identifies as “King of heaven” (4:37) would give us some basis for believing that Nebuchadnezzar had a true conversion. Inasmuch as in all ages some men are saved without gaining completely the perspective of faith or being entirely correct in the content of their beliefs, it is entirely possible that Nebuchadnezzar will be numbered among the saints.

In chapter 4 Nebuchadnezzar reaches a new spiritual perspicacity. Prior to his experience of insanity, his confessions were those of a pagan whose polytheism permitted the addition of new gods, as illustrated in Daniel 2:47 and 3:28-29. Now Nebuchadnezzar apparently worships the King of heaven only. For this reason, his autobiography is truly remarkable and reflects the fruitfulness of Daniel’s influence upon him and probably of Daniel’s daily prayers for him. Certainly God is no respecter of persons and can save the high and mighty in this world as well as the lowly.

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