Sun, Jan 28, 2018

Signs & Wonders

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DANIEL 4:4-37  SIGNS AND WONDERS

Nebuchadnezzar –

  • Dreamer
  • Visionary
  • Greatest Empire builder in human history.
  • Greatest Palace builder in human history.
  • Largest empire in human history.
  • Considered a god in human flesh, dwelling among men.
  • Prideful, arrogant and antagonistic to the God of Israel.

 

Neb has had an encounter with the Lord that needed 7 years to ripen.

Now he praises His Holy Name.

  • Much like this Psalmist:

Psalm 66:title–5  (LEB)

For the music director. A song. A psalm.

1 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth.

2 Sing the glory of his name. Set forth his glorious praise.

3 Say to God, “How awesome are your works!

Because of the greatness of your strength,

Your enemies will cringe before you.

4 All the earth will bow in worship to you, and sing praise to you.

They will sing the praise of your name.”

Selah

5 Come and consider the works of God;

he is awesome in his dealings with the children of humankind.

 

4 “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was content in my house and prospering in my palace.

5 And I saw a dream and a revelation on my bed and it frightened me, and the visions of my head terrified me.

  • Just hanging around the house
    • Dream interrupts my day
    • Visions started to scare me like crazy.

 

Content and prospering:

  • How those of the world think there can be no better contentment than being rich and positioned.

Matthew 7:24–27

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

25 And the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it did not collapse, because its foundation was laid on the rock.

26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.

27 And the rain came down and the rivers came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it collapsed, and its fall was great.”

 

6 And a decree was sent out, ordering that all the wise men of Babylon were to be brought in before me so that they may make known to me the explanation of the dream.

7 Then the magicians, the conjurers, the astrologers and the diviners [1]  came in and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its explanation.

8 Then at last Daniel came before me whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom was the spirit of the holy gods, and I related the dream to him.

9 “ ‘O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians,

I myself know that the spirit of the holy gods [2] is in you,

and no mystery is too difficult for you.

Now tell me the visions of my dream that I saw, and its explanation.

Neb waits for Daniel to arrive – He is apparently the LAST to address the King – after all others had arrived and failed.

  • Daniel has the reputation of access to the greatest of all gods
    • None of the other magicians could interpret the dream and visions.

4:18 . . . for all of the wise men of my kingdom were not able to make the explanation known to me, but you are able because the spirit of holy gods is in you.’

 

  • This was the second dream of prophetic events.
    Both times he was troubled and demanded his wise men to reveal the interpretation ( 2:2-16; 4:5-7).
    Both times all failed but Daniel. [3]

 

  • Our God knows all mysteries and all of men’s dreams/visions/thoughts.

Daniel 2:20–23

20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His.

21 And He changes the times and the seasons;

He removes kings and raises up kings;

He gives wisdom to the wise

And knowledge to those who have understanding.

22 He reveals deep and secret things;

He knows what is in the darkness,

And light dwells with Him.

23 “I thank You and praise You, O God of my fathers;

You have given me wisdom and might,

And have now made known to me what we asked of You,

For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”

 

10 Now these were the visions of my head as I was lying on my bed:

I was gazing and, look, a tree was in the midst of the earth,

and its height was exalted.

11 The tree grew and it became strong, and its height reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth.

12 Its foliage was beautiful, and its fruit abundant, and in it was provision for all. Under it the animals of the field sought shade, and in its branches the birds of heaven nested, and from it all the living beings were fed.

13 “ ‘I was looking in the vision of my head as I lay on my bed, and look, a watcher, and a holy one, came down from heaven.

  • Note: placement of the commas would dictate 2 beings?
    • Not in the original Aramaic – no grammar marks.
      • 2 @ entities came down from Heaven
      • A Watcher
      • A Holy One
    • 5894 עִיר [ʿiyr /eer/] n m. From a root corresponding to 5782; TWOT 2907; GK 10541; Three occurrences; AV translates as “watcher” three times.
      1 waking, watchful, wakeful one, watcher, angel.  [4]
      • Watcher: An angel, messenger, or agent of Yahweh (Aram. ʿɩ̂r; 4:13, 17, 23 [MT 10, 14, 20]).   [5]
      • † עִיר S5892, 5893, 5894, 5895 TWOT1587a, 1615, 1616a, 2907 GK6551, 6552, 6553, 6554 n.m. waking, or wakeful, one, i.e. angel (√ עיר, cf. Syriac ܥܳܪ (ʿor) wake, ܥܺܝܪ (ʿir) waking, i.e. צפי שמים watchers of heaven, as keeping watch over or spying out (Zim. 629 JeremAT im Licht d. AO 63). [6]

Enoch 1:5 And all shall be smitten with fear,

And the Watchers shall quake,

And great fear and trembling shall seize them unto the ends of the earth. [7]

  • Only Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel use this term (all in Chap 4) for the Angelic host that arrive in Neb’s dreams and visions.

 

  • A holy angel from heaven at the command of watchers and holy ones (angels) carrying out the will of the Most High (Dan. 4:13,17). These watchers oversee the affairs of men to enable them to bring about the will of God in the earth.

Matthew 18:10   “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.

 

Hebrews 1:14   Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?

 

14 He cried aloud and so he said: “Cut down the tree and chop off its branches; shake off its foliage and scatter its fruit. Let the animals flee from under it, and the birds from its branches.

15 But the stump of its roots leave in the earth, along with a band of iron and bronze; leave it in the grass of the field. And in the dew of heaven let it be watered, and with the animals let his lot be in the grass of the earth.

16 Let his mind be changed from that of a human, and let the mind of an animal be given to him, and let seven times pass over him.

 “Seven times . . .”

  • A “week” of years.

Daniel 9:24–27

24 Seventy weeks (of years) are determined

For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks;

The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

 

17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, and the decision by the command of the holy ones, in order that the living will know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind, and to whomever he wills he gives it, and he even sets the humblest of men over it.”

  • It is interesting that the verbiage here seems to elude to the “watchers” being a part of the decision made by God regarding Neb.
  • Heaven’s decision to judge this man with insanity was made in order that all “the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men.” Montgomery rightly calls this “one of the immortal sentences of the Hebrew Scriptures!” [8] 
  • God points out that at times he even allows the “lowliest of men” to reign. Montgomery adds that this is “a truism in the facts of history.” Therefore a king should not be filled with pride, for it is not by his ability but by God’s permissive will that he reigns. [9]

 

18 “ ‘This is the dream that I, Nebuchadnezzar the king, saw.

Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its explanation, for all of the wise men of my kingdom were not able to make the explanation known to me,

but you are able because the spirit of holy gods is in you.’

19 “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was distressed for some time, and his thoughts disturbed him.

The king answered and he said, ‘Belteshazzar, let the dream and its explanation not disturb you.’

Belteshazzar answered and said, ‘My lord, may the dream and its explanation be for those who hate you and for your enemies.

  • What disturbed Daniel was the content of the interpretation.

 

20 The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong and its height reached to heaven and it was visible to the end of the whole earth,

21 and its foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and so there was provision for all in it, and the animals of the field lived under it and in its branches nest the birds of heaven,

22 it is you, O king, who have grown great and you have grown strong, and so your greatness has increased and it has reached to heaven and your sovereignty to the end of the earth.

23 And inasmuch that the king saw the watcher, a holy one coming down from heaven and he said, “Cut down the tree and destroy it, but the stump of its root in the earth leave with a band of iron and bronze in the grass of the field, and let it be watered with the dew of heaven and let his lot be with the animals of the field until seven times have passed over him.”

24 This is the explanation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king:

25 you will be driven away from human society and you will dwell with the animals of the field, and you will be caused to graze grass like the oxen yourself, and you will be watered with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time will pass over you until that you have acknowledged that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind, and to whom he wills he gives it.

26 And in that they said to leave alone the stump of the tree’s root, so your kingdom will be restored for you when you acknowledge that heaven is sovereign.

27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you and your sin remove with righteousness and your iniquity with having mercy on the oppressed, in case there might be a prolongation of your prosperity.’ ”

Most horrifying of this interpretation:

  • Sin needs to be removed with righteousness
  • Iniquity with mercy
  • You may continue to prosper in your sin! (v29 – 12 months later)

 

1 John 1:8–10 (LEB)

8 If we say that we do not have sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

9 If we confess [agree with God concerning] our sins, he is faithful and just, so that he will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

10 If we say that we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar, and proving His word is not in us.

 

Matthew 11:28–30 (NLT)

28 Then Jesus said,
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens,

and I will give you rest.

29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

 

28 All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king.

29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon.

  • A year later!
  • No repentance for a year – even though Neb knew it could change the outcome of this dream!

30 And the king answered and said, “Is this not the great Babylon which I have built as a royal palace by the strength of my own power, and for the glory of my own majesty?”

  • Neb’s humility had faded, he was full of himself and his kingdom.

1 John 2:16–18

16 For all that is in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life — is not of the Father but is of the world.

17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it;

but he who does the will of God abides forever.

18 Little children, it is the last hour;

and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming,

even now many antichrists have come,

by which we know that it is the last hour.

 

1 John 2:22–23

22 And who is a liar?

Anyone who says that Jesus is not the Christ.

Anyone who denies the Father and the Son is an antichrist.

23 Anyone who denies the Son doesn’t have the Father, either. But anyone who acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

 

  1. ντίχριστος antí christos; gen. antichrístou, masc. noun from antí (473), instead of or against, and Christós (5547), Christ, anointed. Antichrist, literally an opposer of Christ or one who usurps the place of Christ, found only in John’s epistles and collectively meaning all who deny that Jesus is the Messiah and that the Messiah is come in the flesh (1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7). We do not know exactly whom John had in mind, but most probably Jewish opposers to the Messiahship of Christ. It occurs nowhere else in the NT. Paul’s reference to the same person is called “the man of sin,” “son of perdition,” “wicked one” (ánomos [459], lawless) as in 2 Thess. 2:3, 8. He is the one opposing Christ (antikeímenos [480]) as in 2 Thess. 2:4, asserting the fulfillment of God’s Word in himself and therefore seeking to establish his own throne.
    antíchristos (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22) is to be distinguished from pseudóchristos (5580), a false christ, the antíchristos does not deny the existence of Christ, but takes advantage of the fact of the expectation of the appearance of Christ. He thus deceives the people in believing that he is “the Christ,” whereas the antichrist denies the existence of the true God.

In the OT, we have the intimation of someone who will be opposed to the Lord and His anointed (Ps. 2; Ezek. 38; 39; Zech. 12–14; see Dan. 7:8, 20f.; 8:24; 11:28, 30, 36f., which read in conjunction with 2 Thess. 2:4 and Rev. 13:1–8).

In His Olivet Discourse, our Lord warns against “the false christs” and “the false prophets” (Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22).

In 2 Thess. 2:1–12, Paul asserts that, before the day of Christ (the day of the rapture of the Church described in 1 Thess. 4:13–17), there must come first an apostasy or a standing off, and the man of sin, the Antichrist, will be revealed. He will sit in the new temple yet to be rebuilt under his own direction during the first three and one–half years of the seven–year period of the tribulation. He will demonstrate great satanic power and will perform signs and lying wonders. The Lord will slay this Antichrist at His second coming (Rev. 20:10). In 1 John 2:18, attention is drawn to the antichrists already existing and working against Christ, but the real Antichrist whose coming was erroneously expected by the early Church was not included here (see 1 John 2:22; 4:3; 2 John 1:7).

Rev. 17:8 refers to the beast which should be connected with the beast of Dan. 7–8. He claims and wins respect equal to that of God and makes war on God’s people. He rules for three and one–half years over the earth and is finally destroyed by the Lord in a great battle.

Syn.: pseudóchristos (5580), a false christ.   [10]

 

31 While the words were still in the mouth of the king, a voice from heaven came, saying, ‘To you, King Nebuchadnezzar, it is declared that the kingdom has departed from you,

  • What if the words in his mouth were repentance and a plea for mercy?
    • It is an immediate “if – then” promise:

1 John 1:8–10  (NLT)

8 If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth.

9 But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.

10 If we claim we have not sinned, we are calling God a liar and showing that his word has no place in our hearts.

 

  • Saul – rejected as King of Israel – because he had rejected the Lord!

1 Samuel 15:22–23

22 So Samuel said:

“Has the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices,

As in obeying the voice of the Lord?

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,

And to heed than the fat of rams.

23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft,

And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

Because you have rejected the word of the Lord,

He also has rejected you from being king.”

 

32 and you will be driven away from human society and your dwelling will be with the animals of the field and they will cause you to graze the grass like oxen, and seven times will pass over you, until you acknowledge that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of humankind and that he gives it to whom he wills.’

33 Immediately the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar, and he was expelled from human society and he ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven until his hair was like the hair of an eagle and his nails grew like a bird’s claws.

  • Many have wondered what the world would be like today if the proud and the arrogant were expelled from human society?
    • Santa Maria would be a pretty empty city, I would guess!

 

Here are the “SIGNS & WONDERS” Neb was speaking about:

Daniel 4:2–3

2 “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me.

3 How great are his signs, how powerful his wonders! His kingdom will last forever, his rule through all generations.

34 “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up my eyes to heaven, and then my reason returned to me; and

I blessed the Most High and the one who lives forever I praised and I honored. “

For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,

and his kingdom continues from generation to generation.

35 And all the dwellers of the earth are regarded as nothing, and he does according to his desire in the host of heaven and among the dwellers of earth, and there is not one who can hold back his hand, or ask him, ‘What are you doing?’

36 “At that time my reason returned to me, and also the glory of my kingdom and my majesty and splendor returned to me, and my advisers and my lords searched me out, and I was established over my kingdom and abundant greatness was added to me.

37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and exalt and honor the king of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice and that he is able to humble those who walk in pride.”

  • WOULDN’T LIFE BE BETTER IF WE JUST CHOSE TO HONOR CHRIST ABOVE OURSELVES?
    • Jesus has blessed us all with many wonderful possessions and gifts.

 

 

 

Zoroaster (/ˌzɒroʊˈæstər/ or /ˈzɒroʊˌæstər/, from Greek Ζωροάστρης Zōroastrēs), also known as Zarathustra (/ˌzɑːrəˈθuːstrə/Avestan
Zaraθuštra), Zarathushtra Spitama or Ashu Zarathushtra was an ancient Iranian-speaking prophet whose teachings and innovations on the religious traditions of ancient Iranian-speaking peoples developed into the religion of Zoroastrianism, which by some accounts was the first world religion.
He inaugurated a movement that eventually became the dominant religion in Ancient Persia. He was a native speaker of Old Avestan and lived in the eastern part of the Iranian Plateau, but his exact birthplace is uncertain.  [11]

 

 

The takeaway is that God rules over the heavenly realm and the earthly realm with the genuine assistance of his imager-representatives. He decrees and they carry out his commands. These points are clear. What is perhaps less clear is that the way God’s will is carried out and accomplished is open—imagers can make free decisions to accomplish God’s will. God decrees the ends, but the means can (and apparently are at times) left up to the imagers.

This balance of sovereignty and free will is essential for understanding what happened in Eden. The choices made by human and nonhuman beings described in Genesis 3 were neither coerced nor needed by Yahweh for sake of his greater plan. The risk of creating image bearers who might freely choose rebellion was something God foresaw but did not decree. We’ll examine all that in more detail in the next chapter.    [12]

 

 

[1] These were no doubt followers of Zoroaster, founder of the ancient Persian religion and the wisdom of the Magi. They were originally a Median tribe and were invested early with priestly rites. They guarded the sacred fire, recited hymns at dawn, and offered sacrifices. They had a reputation for magic arts, studied astrology and astronomy, and claimed to be able to do many things beyond human power. A number of parallels have been drawn between Zoroastrian teachings and Islam. Such parallels include the evident similarities between Amesha Spenta and the archangel Gabriel, and the mention of Thamud and the Iram of the Pillars in the Quran. These may also indicate the vast influence of the Achaemenid Empire on the development of either religion.         Hinnel, J (1997), The Penguin Dictionary of Religion, Penguin Books UK

[2] [gods] Aramaic: 'Elahiyn (HSN-<H426>), Gods. A plural noun equal to Hebrew: 'Elohiym (HSN-<H430>) used 2,347 times in the Bible of the true God, indicating plurality this many times even though often translated in the singular. 'Elohiym (HSN-<H430>) is translated "gods" 216 times but should have been translated "Gods" all 2,347 times when used of the true God.
Dake's Annotated Reference Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments of the Authorized or King James Version Text.

[3] Dake's Annotated Reference Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments of the Authorized or King James Version Text.

 

[4] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995).

[5] David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, “Watcher,” ed. David Noel Freedman, Allen C. Myers, and Astrid B. Beck, Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: W.B. Eerdmans, 2000), 1367.

[6] Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 1105.

[7] R. H. Charles and W. O. E. Oesterley, The Book of Enoch (London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1917), Enoch 1:5.

[8] Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 135.

[9] Stephen R. Miller, Daniel, vol. 18, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1994), 135.

[10]  Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

 

[11] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroaster#cite_note-Hinnel_1997-59

[12] Michael S. Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First Edition (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), 54–56.