CHAPTER 4 | Verses 18 - 34

We are accountable for our actions, how we perceive things (the thoughts of our heart) and how we respond to the various situations that we find ourselves in. As born-again believers, and followers of God, we begin to behave differently. We respond to the truth of Scripture and are faithful to the things that God has revealed to us. God gave Nebuchadnezzar great revelation, but he did not put this truth into his life by responding to it. 

Verse 18: “This is the dream that I, king Nebuchadnezzar, have dreamed. Now you, Belteshazzar, are to tell me its interpretation, since all the wise men of the kingdom could not tell me its interpretation; but you are able, because in you is the Spirit of a Holy God.”  

Wise men: Nebuchadnezzar still calls these individuals wise men, sages, despite the fact that they were deceitful and were unable to reveal anything to him. Now you… since all the wise men … could not: God makes a distinction between people who worship Him, like Daniel, and people who are involved in idolatry (pagan pursuits). 

Verse 19: “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. And the king spoke and said: ‘Belteshazzar, do not be troubled by the dream and its interpretation’. Belshazzar answered and said: ‘Sir, this is a dream for your enemies and its interpretation for your opponents.’” 

Time: (ה ָ֣ ָע ָש (Literally, an hour. Do not be troubled: Nebuchadnezzar could see that Daniel discerned the meaning and ramifications of the dream and was uncomfortable to share it with him. 

A dream for your enemies: Nebuchadnezzar’s enemies are going to take great delight in this dream and in its interpretation. 

Enemies … opponents: Rivals. Nebuchadnezzar needed to know that he had opposition. The only way that he could be successful was if he was experiencing the success of God. This is an important truth: If we are going to have enemies we need to make sure that they are also the enemies of God. In this way, God will be our defence – for us and not against us (Mark 9:40) Verse 20: “The tree that you saw, that grew and was strong and whose height reached into the heavens, and which appeared over all the earth,” 

Verse 21: “Its leaves which were good and its fruits which were abundant. It had nourishment for all. The beasts of the field they dwelt underneath it, and the birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches.” Nourishment for all: It fed everyone and everything that was in the world. 

Note: Daniel repeats what Nebuchadnezzar had told him in Daniel 4:10-12. He wants Nebuchadnezzar to understand that he had been attentively listening. He had heard what was said, and the interpretation of this dream was based purely upon what Nebuchadnezzar had revealed to him. 

Verse 22: “It is you, O king, who have grown up and have become powerful; you have become great and abundant, and this kingdom of yours has reached into the heavens. Your government has arrived to the ends of the earth.” It is you: Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom had greatly expanded. Daniel is saying that this tree reflects him and his kingdom.  

Verse 23: “Whereas the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from the heaven and said: ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but the stump and its root in the land leave it. Bind it with iron and copper, and in the grass of the field it shall be. From the dew of the heavens it shall become wet, and with the beasts of the fields shall be its portion, until these seven epochs of time pass full fruit.” 

The king saw: Daniel is again confirming that he has attentively listened to what King Nebuchadnezzar has said. 

Note: When God gives prophecy He gives it because it has far-reaching implications. Prophecy is always about God moving or working to establish His Kingdom. The more we understand prophecy, the more we study it and apply its truth to our lives the better prepared we are going to be for the Kingdom of God (even now, in this generation). 

Verse 24: “This is the interpretation O’ king: The edict of the Most High has come upon my lord the king:” Edict: Judgment or decree. Sooner or later judgement day comes for every human being (for the believer this is not a judgement related to salvation, but a judgement related to reward – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15). 

Lord: This word means ‘sir’. It is a term of respect. Note: Through this dream God is calling Nebuchadnezzar to repentance. 

Verse 25: “They will drive you from the midst of human beings, and with the beasts of the field will be your dwelling place. As an ox they are going to feed you grass. From the dew of the heavens you will become wet. Seven epochs of time shall pass over you, then you shall know that the Most High God dwells in the kingdom of men, and to whom He delights He gives it.” 

Seven epochs of time shall pass over you: It is only at the end of this time that Nebuchadnezzar (a type of antichrist) will realise that God is the ultimate authority. 

Note: Nebuchadnezzar is going to suffer great loss. He is going to go through seven years of a form of insanity. He is going to be banished from his palace, from his role as king, and he is going to live as a wild animal – not even knowing to take shelter when it rains. 

Seven: This is a number relating to holiness or purpose. God’s purpose is to discipline Nebuchadnezzar in order that he might recognize and demonstrate the purposes of God in his life. The potential of suffering is to teach us obedience to the will and purposes of God (Hebrews 5:8) 

Verse 26: “And what was said concerning the leaving of the stump and the roots of the tree: this is your kingdom, and it will return and stand unto you – when you know that in the heavens is the Rule.” 

When you know: Nebuchadnezzar chose to ignore God’s truth, that he was God’s servant, for seven years. Therefore, God had to humble him and put him into a situation that he did not like. 

Rule: The power, the authority. 

Verse 27: “Therefore, O king, if my counsel has found favor before you: redeem your sin with righteousness, and your iniquity with kindness to the afflicted ones, in order that your tranquility might be lengthened.” 

Counsel: Daniel is recommending that if Nebuchadnezzar believes what he has revealed to him then the way forward would be for Nebuchadnezzar to change his lifestyle in order to reflect kindness, righteousness, and mercy. 

Afflicted ones: The poor. 

Tranquillity: The wholeness of his mind. 

Verse 28: “And all this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.” 

This came upon: It happened just like Daniel had said it would. 

Verse 29: “At the end of twelve months he was walking in the upper chamber of his sanctuary in Babylon.” 

At the end of twelve months: There was no immediate outcome of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. 

Sanctuary: A word that has religious/spiritual overtones. Possibly a pagan shrine that Nebuchadnezzar had within his kingdom.

Verse 30: “The king answered and said: ‘There is not in Babylon any greatness which I have not built to be a house for my kingdom, and in the abundance of my power I have done this – for the glory of my honour.’” 

The glory of my honour: Nebuchadnezzar was living in pride as he looked at this vast kingdom of Babylon. If he had been wise he would have acknowledged that it was God who had moved and placed him into this position of authority and responsibility. God, in His grace, had moved in Nebuchadnezzar’s life to bring individuals like Daniel and his three friends before him. God uses the people around us, the circumstances we find ourselves in etc. to bring about change in our lives. 

God wanted to bring about a change in Nebuchadnezzar’s life – but Nebuchadnezzar had to learn this the hard way. 

Verse 31: “While this word was still in the mouth of the king, a voice was heard from the heavens: ‘To you it is being said, O King Nebuchadnezzar, for your kingdom is removed from you!’” 

Your kingdom is removed: God is able to bring about instantaneous change. For twelve months Nebuchadnezzar had seen no change in his situation. He probably let down his guard and slipped back into his old ways. And then suddenly…things changed.

Verse 32: “And they will cast you from the midst of men, with the beasts of the fields shall your dwelling place be. They shall make you eat grass like an ox, and seven times will pass over you, until you know that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and He can give it to whomever He pleases.” 

Verse 33: “At that very hour the word was fulfilled in Nebuchadnezzar; and he was cast from the midst of human beings, grass like an ox he ate. From the dew of the heavens he was made wet, his hair grew as the feathers of an eagle, and his fingernails become like claws of a bird.” 

Verse 34: “And at the end of those days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes towards the heavens, and my knowledge was restored to me; and I blessed the Most High God who lives forever, and I gave Him praise and glory. His Kingdom is forever, and His administration is from generation to generation.” 

At the end of those days: This reveals to us a very simple truth: God is faithful. Every word and every prophecy spoken of in the Scripture will come to pass. Not one will be left out. 

I blessed the Most High God: Nebuchadnezzar came to the realization that the Most High God, rules over all the affairs of men. This does not mean, however, that everything that happens in our lives can be attributed to God. God did not cause Nebuchadnezzar to walk around in a prideful way. This came from an entirely different source.


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