Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 3 * PART 1 * BOOK 80
DANIEL – PART III – 1
Daniel 4:26 – 7:8
Okay, good to have everybody in this afternoon. It’s another beautiful day in Tulsa. For those of you out in television, we want to welcome you to another Bible study. We are so thrilled at the response that you are learning to use your own Bibles and you’re getting an understanding of things you never had before. What else could we ask for? We just praise the Lord for it.
Again, we want to thank everyone (you in here, as well as our audience) for your prayers and your financial help; and that we can just continue to reach more and more folks with the truth, we trust, of God’s Word.
All right, we’re going to continue right on where we left off in our last program, which was a few weeks ago when we finished taping. But nevertheless, we’re going to pick right up in our next verse, which would be Daniel chapter 4 verse 24. Daniel chapter 4 verse 24. Now remember, we were just looking at the dream that ol’ Nebuchadnezzar had concerning a huge tree. And the tree was supplying everything of the needs of not only humans but the animals and the birds. And it was to be interpreted, again, by his little Jew, Daniel—who had already interpreted an earlier dream. So Daniel comes to his rescue once again.
“This is the interpretation, O King, and this is the decree of the most High,…” Now, I’ve got to stop there a minute again. Remember, this is the term of deity that we see throughout the Book of Daniel, because it is dealing with Gentile subjects. And to the Gentile, He was the Most High God.
And as I pointed out in one of our previous programs, to the Nation of Israel He was the LORD. He was the God of Abraham, but primarily Jehovah was the name that Israel understood as the God of Abraham. But here, concerning these Gentile kings, the term the Most High, or the Most High God, is the prevalent one. All right, now you come to verse 25. Here comes the interpretation of that dream of a great tree.
“That they shall drive thee (that is Nebuchadnezzar) 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, (seven years will go by) till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Now this is something that is hard for even those of us who are believers to comprehend, that God puts evil men in places of authority.
But we’re not to question it. In fact, a thought just comes to me. Keep your hand in Daniel. We’ll be right back. Jump all the way up to Romans chapter 13 where the Apostle Paul is making the same claim. Romans chapter 13, and let’s start at verse 1. Because when we look back at history, and we look at men like Hitler, you mean, he was there by God’s ordaining? Yes! Absolutely! If God wouldn’t have wanted Hitler to rule, He would have gotten rid of him long before he got old enough to even aspire for office. But see, here’s how the Apostle Paul puts it for us even today—Romans 13 starting at verse 1.
“Let every soul (or every person) be subject unto the higher powers. (And he’s not talking about the powers of God. He’s talking about powers of human government.) For there is no power (no government, no emperor) but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Isn’t that something? Every ruler is there by God’s design. Verse 2:
“Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves condemnation.”
Now here, of course, is the way we normally look at government. They are to be benevolent, and they are to be for our good.
“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. (In other words, it’s the law breaker who should fear government.) Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, (In other words, be a good citizen.) and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4. For he (the leader, the emperor, the king, the president) is the minister of God to thee for good.…” Now, that’s hard to swallow, isn’t it? But that’s the scriptural concept, and we have to leave it at that.
All right, come back to Daniel. Again, Daniel is interpreting the dream of this pagan King Nebuchadnezzar. All right, verse 25 again:
“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,…” In other words, he’s going to be out there like a wild animal for seven years. What’s the purpose? To teach that king a royal lesson, because he’s been so pompous. He’s so proud of everything he’s accomplished in setting up the city of Babylon and the kingdom, and he just about got himself convinced that he was God himself. So God’s going to teach him a lesson that he will be whatever God wants him to be. In this case, it’s going to be like a wild animal.
“…and seven times (or seven years) shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Now, believe it! God is Sovereign. He’s still the ruler of this universe and planet Earth in particular. Now verse 26, Daniel continues on.
“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.”
Now when this tree, which is indicative of Babylon and Nebuchadnezzar, is cut down, do you remember the instructions in our last program? They were to leave a stump, and around the stump were to be a band of brass and band of iron. Well, the symbolic issue was that the succeeding empires are still going to be part of the Babylonian empire. And we’ve seen it all through human history. We have the influence of the Babylonian, the Mede and the Persian, and the Greek and the Roman Empires.
They are with us still today. Even though those empires went into the dust of history, here they are. They’re back in the news everyday. Iran is Ancient Persia. Iraq is Ancient Babylon. Syria was a part of the Greek empire.
Now, I had an interesting little note last night after we got home from Branson. I had to catch up on our reading, and what did I run across? Our new Secretary of State, Mrs. Clinton, is making overtures now to re-establish diplomatic relations with Syria. We broke off all relations with Syria several years ago, because they were inundating our efforts in Iraq. Now isn’t it amazing that Syria—now, I’ve got to show you something else. See, this is a teaching class. I don’t worry about following a format or a syllabus or anything like that. That doesn’t bother me.
Come back with me to—I just about lost where I was going—Ezekiel 38, just a few pages back from where we are in Daniel. Ezekiel 38 and how I think in light of the present day situation everything is coming together so fast. And when I read that our Secretary of State is going to reinstitute relations with Syria. Why?—when we’ve been so careful to keep them on the back burner because of their terrorist activities. Well, just like we’re seeing here in Nebuchadnezzar’s situation, God is in control of everything.
Now Ezekiel 38 and this, of course, is the chapter concerning what we call the great northern invasion. Here are the nations that will be associated with Russia. Verse 5, Ezekiel 38, Persia—well, I’ve already told you, that’s Iran. Ethiopia, that’s down in Africa. Libya is northern Africa. Gomer—that’s more or less probably Eastern Europe: the Balkans, Yugoslavia, and so forth. The house of Togarmah—that’s Turkey—and all his bands. Who’s missing? Syria! Why?
Oh, I guess your guess is as good as mine. But Syria is not going to be involved in this great northern invasion. Syria is going to be more involved in the Tribulation and the coming of the anti-Christ. It’s just amazing how all these things fit even in the absence of Syria. Well, why is Syria absent? Well, for a reason.
All right, back to Daniel. You got all that free for nothing! Back to Daniel chapter 4, so they left the tree roots, verse 26.
“…thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens (or the God of heaven) do rule. 27. Wherefore, O king, let my counsel…” Now remember, who’s talking? Daniel. And Daniel is no longer the 12 or 14 year old lad that we started out with in chapter 1. Years have been going by.
Nebuchadnezzar is just about to the end of his life already and Daniel, too. He’s getting old right along with everybody else, you know. Time doesn’t stop for anybody. So by the time we get to the end of Daniel, he’s going to be probably up in his 90’s. They went from one empire to the next, but here Daniel’s still dealing with Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel’s probably in his late 50s or 60s by now.
“Wherefore, O king, let my counsel by acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities (How?) by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.” Or your peaceful pursuit of happiness, because he’s had it pretty good. Nebuchadnezzar has been living royally. Now verse 28:
“All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29. At the end of twelve months…” A year after Daniel has warned him—King, you better start changing your ways. You better start treating the downtrodden better instead of being pompous and concerned only with the super. All right, but it didn’t have a bit of effect.
“At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.” You know, I started to think as I was preparing this—you know, I think maybe some people would wish I wouldn’t read all these verses. Why don’t you just skip a bunch of this?
But what you’ve got to realize is, there’s a vast segment of my T.V. audience that never has read this Book. They call and tell me, don’t ever take the Scripture off the screen. It was the first time I had ever read anything from this Book. So, when I start reading, just bear with me, and we’ll trust that the Word will have far more impact than anything I can say anyway. So, that’s why I’m not going to apologize for reading a lot of these things. Because it’s still the Word of God and the Word of God is what’s so powerful. All right, so the king is now speaking in his pride and his pomp.
“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 honor of my majesty?” You see the egotism there? But see, that’s most world leaders. Just as soon as they get into a place of power—and it starts a lot further down the ladder than just the very head of a nation. I think you can almost look at every state governor. They immediately get a certain amount of pride and power and authority. It’s just human nature. But here’s this king, all puffed up with his own importance. Then verse 31:
“While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven,…” Now here’s another thing. I can’t help this. We’ve got to be reminded that all through the Old Testament the supernatural is commonplace. I trust you know that.
Not that it’s myth. It’s not legend. It’s as true as anything can be. But God did work in the realm of the miraculous all the way up through Israel’s history. Now you see, in our Age of Grace, that’s absent. I’ve said it over and over, and I know this upsets some of these miracle workers. But I just simply say that God is not doing the miraculous in this Age of Grace. Because it’s unnecessary. We don’t need situations like this. You know why? We’ve got this Book. This is all we need and the Holy Spirit who is inspiring us to read it and study it.
But you’ve got to remember that here, and again when the Tribulation opens, that just as soon as that man anti-Christ goes to Jerusalem with the idea of setting up a treaty between Israel and the Arab world, the supernatural is going to kick in. God will sovereignly cause the Arab world to sit down and make a treaty with Israel with the brokering power of the anti-Christ. The supernatural for the next seven years is going to be constant. Everything that takes place during the Tribulation will again be supernatural, just like here. Here this old king is no more than gloating in his own pomp and circumstance and God speaks from Heaven. Well, that doesn’t happen today. But it happened all through the Old Testament. All right, so pick it up where I just left off—verse 31 again.
“…there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.” What you think is yours and what you think you are enjoying, by tomorrow morning at sunrise is going to be gone so far as you are concerned. Why? The kingdom won’t disappear, but Nebuchadnezzar goes out and lives like a wild animal. All right, reading on in verse 32.
“And they shall drive thee from men, (In other words, because they’ll think he’s insane.) and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: (That’s what the Book says. And that’s what happened. He actually went out and lived seven years like a beast of the field.) they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven years shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and (He) giveth it to whomsoever he will.” Now are you getting the gist? Who’s in control of every government? The Most High God.
Now I’m speaking deliberately. I’m thinking of when we were in Branson. We had a fellow there who has a whole series of radio stations from West Africa to East. Right down though the heart of Muslim Africa. And most of his radio time is our material. I asked the question—how in the world can Africa understand my program in English? Well, his answer was, English is still the basic language of the business world. So even the most common place African may not be able to converse in English, but they can understand it. And, he said, the other thing about your program is that you speak deliberately and slowly, and they can get it. So bear with me.
See, I keep all that in mind. We’re going to speak like that if possible, so that anyone can understand. I’m getting to the place on the phone, when these young secretaries go ‘prprprpr’—you know. I just have to say, hey, young lady, I’m getting old. Slow down. I can’t understand people who talk so fast. So bear with me. This is why I purposely try to speak slowly and read slowly. Because we’ve got people out there that are trying to grasp it, and they wouldn’t if I talked too fast. Okay, that’s just a common sense explanation. All right, now verse 33:
“The same hour (Even as God has spoken and said the kingdom would be taken from him.) 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, (See, he was like a madman, insane.) and his nails like birds’ claws.
“And at the end of the days (Now Nebuchadnezzar has come to his senses.) I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored 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 (or resist) his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?” No human has that kind of prerogative.
“At the same time (Nebuchadnezzar says) my reason (his sanity) returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor 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. 37. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King (capital K) of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” Or put down like a beast in the field.
Have you seen the progression? How did he start out? A total pagan—proud of the fact that he could put to death anybody he wanted to put to death. He could make second in the Kingdom anyone. He had total, total power. And all he relied on were the gods of paganism. Israel’s God was just another god among the gods, although it did have more power. But you see, he has progressively moved from that to this testimony.
Now, will Nebuchadnezzar be in Heaven? I kind of think so, because he has come to this full realization of faith in the God of Glory. Now, that’s just my own opinion. And I think we can have the same thing with Darius and Cyrus. All three of those pagan oriental kings, before they died, came to a realization that the God of Heaven, the Most High God, was the True Ruler of the universe. And I think God probably honored that as sufficient faith for their salvation.
So anyway, that carries Nebuchadnezzar throughout pretty much the rest of his life. Now we’re just going to keep on going. We drop down into chapter 5 and now we’re already two generations down the road. Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson is now ruling. Now you’ve got to go back into some other areas. In fact, now is as good a time as any.
Let’s go back to Jeremiah chapter 27 verse 7. Jeremiah, you know, is the prophet that was holding forth at the time of Daniel, although Jeremiah never got to Babylon. You remember, they found him in a dungeon in Jerusalem. But nevertheless, Jeremiah is still contemporary at least with the earlier part of Daniel’s life. Jeremiah chapter 27 and, oh, let’s jump in at verse 6.
“And now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; (Because God put him there.) and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. 7. And all nations shall serve him, (that is Nebuchadnezzar) and his son, (who was the General Nabonidus) and his son’s son, (or his grandson) until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.”
All right, now when you come back to Daniel chapter 5, Nabonidus is the son of Nebuchadnezzar. He’s ruled in the interval. Now we’ve already covered so many years of time, that when we get into chapter 5, we have the name Belshazzar who is going to see the handwriting on the wall. He is Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson. Not son, but his grandson. Okay?
“Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 2. Belshazzar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his…” Now the King James says father. I didn’t check any other versions. I haven’t got one anyway. But it should be grandfather, because Belshazzar was a grandson. But the reason is that the term father and grandfather in the Hebrew is the same word. So it was up to the translators to use whichever one they wanted. But here in verse 2 it should be grandfather.
“…his grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; (Of course we covered that in the early chapters.) that the king, and his princes, (That is the present king now, Belshazzar.) his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.”
Now what are they doing? They are blaspheming the holy things of Israel’s Temple. Now, when we say holy, remember that the things in the Temple were designated as holy because they were set apart for Temple use. They were holy. All right, the priests were holy. They were set apart for the Temple services. That’s where we get the terminology for these vessels that Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Temple before they destroyed it. He carried them to Babylon, but at least he had the wherewithal not to use them in his pagan temple worship. But Belshazzar does, and he’s going to pay through the nose for doing so.
“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.” In other words, he just has a great, you might say, a drunken banquet. They drank from them. Verse 4:
“They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” Count them, how many are they? Six. And six in Scripture is what? The number of man. This whole thing is completely absent of God.