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July 13, 2021 4:00 am
Nebuchadnezzar was going to be humiliated he was going to lose his mind going to become a beast insane for seven full years and the lesson he needed to learn was this every kingdom is God's. And if he sets up some base man is verse 17 says it's only because God is done it, not because that man has pride, destruction and supernatural restoration is part of John series titled the rise and fall of world powers. But before we get to the message John. You know what are you teaching on end times prophecy which might take some extra digging to really grasp or whether it's another subject that might challenge or convict, or even be controversial. Whatever ends up on this broadcast is something we think people need to hear. And that's because it's biblical, and the fact is people get it. We're constantly reminded that people are standing with us and we are grateful for that. Now one of the things that is true about this ministry because been true about my preaching for half a century is that I teach what the Bible says and having gone through many of the books of the Old Testament and speaking prophetically.
Verse by verse. No phrase by phrase to the book of Daniel. For example, through the book of Zechariah 2 very prophetic books, but in going to the New Testament we don't miss anything of it's part of the claiming the whole counsel of God. As the apostle Paul said, so it's the nature of the ministry of an expositor if he lives long enough like I haven't stays in one place. You going to cover everything so the ministry of grace to you avoids nothing. Basically, I've gone through the entire New Testament from the first verse in Matthew to the last verse in Revelation and some of those books that through the half-century of teaching I've gone through two times then that would be the book of Revelation, and maybe even 1/3 time so the full the full range of New Testament truth and biblical truth as well has been dealt with in the preaching ministry of this half-century and that makes it a reservoir for all that grace to you is, and so we don't avoid anything and there's a tremendous hunger out there. We know that because of how people access the teaching listening on radio downloading sermons a couple million a month and and getting books and booklets and podcasts, and just about everything that we offer is consumed at a rate that frankly surprises. I said every time I come here and it wasn't any different this morning and I asked you how are things going and everything is gone phenomenally well and then we know that because God honors his word and his people have a hunger for that word.
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As we look at this chapter, we focus then on the spiritual biography of Nebuchadnezzar, an incredible, astounding, amazing man. One of the geniuses of all of human history brilliant beyond those of his time equipped in many many ways. In a human sense puffed up and proud as the ruler of the world and how God literally crushes him into nothing and turns them around and he does it. Beloved through another dream, another dream point number one the reception of the dream. Verse four the reception of the dream. This is his first-hand account.
Now let's look at the second point the recitation of the dream.
Verse nine old Delta shows are master of the magicians ideas in the highest possible title superior to everybody else. And by the way the word magicians in order to be fair about it is probably a word that should be translated in the broadest way scholars here was the chief scholar the most erudite, the most wise, the most knowledgeable the most gifted. In fact, Daniel literally became a byword for knowledge. A byword for wisdom. Ezekiel 28 three it says, behold, thou art wiser than Daniel and that statement is made to the Prince of Tyre and behind the Prince of Tyre is Satan.
I mean for a man.
Daniel had incredible knowledge and wisdom so he comes in and he not only had that, but he says I know that the spirit of the holy God is a new and what's this, and no secret troubles you, I know that there's no secret that's a problem for you tell me the interpretation of the visions of my dream that I have seen interpret my dream, he said nothing is too hard for you.
Now here's my dream verse 10 and is a strange one.
Thus were the visions of my head in my bed I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth and the height of it was great. The tree grew and was strong in its height reached on to heaven. And the sight of it extended to the end of all the earth. Now that's a big tree, verse 12, its leaves were fair its fruit much, and it was food for all and the beasts of the field had shadow under it and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in its bowels, and all flesh was fed from it. That's what he saw in his dream, but the dream and a second part, and this was the shocker verse 13.
I kept looking in the vision of my head on my bed and behold a watcher and that's Nebuchadnezzar's word for an angel.
He is seeing this angelic being, and an holy one, a watcher in the holy 1902 words could better describe the Angels. There vigilant. They are guardians and they are holy and so he sees an angel and he comes down from heaven and he cries aloud and he said thus cut down the tree and cut off its branches shake off its leaves scatter its fruit.
Let the beast get away from under it, and the fowls from its branches. In other words, the whole deal comes crashing down as the devastation and the destruction of the tree, but is a fascinating feature in verse 50. Nevertheless, leave the stump and its roots and includes the stump and the roots in the earth. Even with a band of iron and bronze. And this is probably offense the best winter, but that is you leave the stump in its roots. It still alive and put a fence around it.
Leave it in the tender grass of the field in the notice.
This amazing thing happens.
Verse 50 and let him where that come from a number of the tree called him of you and now were sneaking up on the interpretation of now we know that the tree is a man let them be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth and we have come to a significant change here. That's a man let his portion. So we come to him and his and our beginning to catch the interpretation, the tree is destroyed, chop down the whole thing comes to a crashing halt but the stump is left in the stump is alive and the roots are alive and offenses around it so nobody can harm it and it's protected were 16 let his heart be changed from man's and let a beasts heart be given on to him and let seven times pass over him, the heart has reference to all of the thinking cognitive reasoning processes of man which control everything, and his mind is literally to become that of an animal. This is a monstrous psychological affliction known as lycanthropy from Blue Cross wolf anthropologist man the Wolfman the werewolf concept comes from this the guy who thinks he's an animal.
Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience with the modern case similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar was observed in a mental hospital 1946 and Harrison wrote this I thought was interesting. He said a great many doctors spend an entire busy professional career without once encountering an instance of the kind of mono mania described in the book of Daniel, the present writer therefore considers himself particularly fortunate to have actually observed a clinical case of Bo and to repeat the observed. He says a clinical case of bow entropy in a British mental institution in 1946 the patient was in his early 20s. He reportedly been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well-developed on admission and diagnosis was immediately conclusive.
He was of average height and weight with a good physique and excellent bodily health's mental symptoms included pronounced antisocial tendencies and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk. Outdoors on the grounds of the institution's daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns in 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 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 other inmates in 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 of course thickened condition of the fingernails without institutional care. The patient would've manifested precisely the identical physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel chapter 4, so this is not an unknown psychological phenomena.
In this case is induced by God. Now let's look at verse 17 and find out the point for all this.
This matter is by the decree any still telling the dream here this matter.
This whole deal happened by the decree of the watchers were the Angels and the demand by the word of the holy ones, these angels, and the reason is, to the intent that the living may know watch it that the most high room in the kingdom of man and give it to whomsoever you will and set it up over it.
The basest of men. In other words, in the dream, the watchers or the Angels actually told Nebuchadnezzar that the whole point of this dream was to show that the most high room within the kingdom of man gives it to whomsoever he will never safety this dream I Nebuchadnezzar of seen now that our belt dishes are or Daniel declare the interpretation of it for as much as all the wise men of my kingdom were not able to make known to me the interpretation, but thou art able and here he says, is for the third time for the spirit of the holy God is in the goal isn't it wonderful how Daniel stood out in the middle of his society because of a spirit control in spirit filled life. If we can use New Testament terminology. So we see the reception of the dream and verses 4 to 7 or eight and we see from 9 to 18 the recitation of the revelation of the dream want to know what it means or chunks.
Then Daniel's name was belt dishes are was perplexed for one hour. Now the one hour is probably not literally one hour. The phrase means for a little while and his thoughts troubled him was he perplexed because he didn't know the answer to the dream.
No, why was he troubled. Why was he disturbed he was disturbed. No market because he didn't know the interpretation of the dream, and his heart was a heart of compassion toward Nebuchadnezzar, and he was sorry and sad that it had to come to this. You see, Daniel stands there for a little out of his anything.
The king spoke and said belt dishes are left not the dream or its interpretation troubled the don't be afraid to tell me belt dishes are answered and said, my Lord, the dream read to them that hate the and the interpretation of it to thine enemies what he's saying is I wish what I have to say was true of your enemies and not you.
What a compassionate man. It wasn't the silence of perplexity. It was the silence of compassion. He just didn't want to tell what he had to tell him and I think it even saying that he sealed in the mind of Nebuchadnezzar that he loved it if you just learn about the condemnation. Nebuchadnezzar knows or might of question Daniel's compassion, but this is what proves again to that man, how deeply Daniel cared the great lesson their beloved. We know the message and we know there's a message of judgment and doom in hell but we never preach that message with a vindictive heart. Louis, we never preach it in a harsh and damning and unloving and judgmental way, but I could never, and I hope you can either talk to anybody about the loss of their eternal soul about the judgment of God in their life without a sense of sadness and compassion that was Daniel.
Daniel hurt because he had to tell this king, with whom he had been these many years, and for whom he had prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed year after year and to whom he had manifested the virtue of his faith in God. He had to tell them something he did not want to telling we should have that kind of compassion, so Daniel cared but he went on anyway and spoke. The thing that he had to speak, and what did he say here at well verse 20 the tree that thou sauced which grew and was strong whose height reached under the heaven and the side of it to all the earth whose leaves were fair and its fruit much, and it was food for all and under which the beast of the field well and upon his branches, the files of the heaven had their habitation here times underline it. Verse 22 is now okay or what Nathan said to David, thou art the man it is you will king. Most preachers back down in the crisis like that Daniel didn't you're the man.
Then came the second part, verse 23 and whereas the king saw watcher and a holy one, coming down from heaven this angel and saying cut the tree down and destroy yet leave the stump of its roots in the earth. Even with a fence of iron and bronze a strong fence in the tender grass of the field and letting be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beast of the field.
By the way, recites the dream just verbatim till seven times pass over him. This is the interpretation okay and this is the decree of the most high, which is come upon my lord the king here That they shall drive these from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beast of the field and they shall make need to eat and the word is literally herbage.
They shall make you eat herbage or grass like oxen, they shall wet the with the dew of heaven that is living outdoors with due just like the rest of the earth and seven years shall pass over the until now know that the most high room within the kingdom of man and give it to whomsoever he will not listen just summing it up. It's clear Nebuchadnezzar was going to be humiliated he was going to lose his mind. He was becoming going to become a beast insane for seven full years. Verse 26 and whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots by kingdom shall be sure under the after thou shalt have known that the heavens dew rule and there is a ray of hope. Looking at verse 26. The reason the stump was left was because Nebuchadnezzar wasn't going to die, but after seven years he would get his throne back again after he learned his lesson and the lesson he needed to learn was this every kingdom is God's. And God rules everything and if he sets up some base man is verse 17 says it's only because God is done it, not because that man has done it. Having said that Daniel makes an appeal in verse 27 wherefore okaying let my counsel be acceptable under the break off the high Syrians by righteousness, and thine iniquities, by showing mercy to the poor.
In other words, let there be righteousness in the life and let there be the proof of it by the deeds to those in need. The king must break with sin and enter a righteous relationship with God and then he must prove that righteous relationship by virtuous deeds he's calling for Nebuchadnezzar to repent and turn from his sin, turned to the Lord except the righteous standard and begin to be merciful. And by the way, we don't have time to go into it.
It was a merciless murderous king, so there was much to change. You know what, even after this dream and its interpretation. Nebuchadnezzar refused to repent refused like Felix you know who said to Paul, when I have a convenient seasonal call for you can be bothered right now. He refused to repent. If Nebuchadnezzar I believe in verse 27. If you repented God would've never allow this to happen. So what makes you think that well. God said he was going to destroy Nineveh, but Nineveh repented he didn't do it right. God speaks judgment.
The men went when men repent. God turns from his judgment. Nebuchadnezzar didn't repent and so we see the reception of the dreams in verse eight, and the resuscitation through verse 18 and the revelation through verse 27 and now the realization in verse 28. Watch what happened.
It came to pass, but look all this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar, when at the end of how long 12 months. Now you tell me God is in a patient gracious God, how long did God give Nebuchadnezzar to get his act straightened out 10 year Nebuchadnezzar was a violent evil and murderous man God gave them 12 months to hear the wonderful and gracious appeal of Daniel.
God is so patient. Verse 30 just to show you how far he was from repentance catch this. The king spoke and said be standing on the top of his palace, looking around at this incredible city is not this great babbling, but I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power and for the honor of my Majesty pretty disgusting. Frankly, I mean he is so polluted. He looked over all of that stuff. I mean, you babbling was the largest and most powerful city of antiquity and just like Herod in acts chapter 12 when those words were in his mouth.
It happened, verse 31, and while the word was in the king's mouth or fill a voice from heaven saying oh king Nebuchadnezzar to the is spoken. The kingdom is departed from the God gave him 12 months. The end of 12 months. That's where he was.
God said that's it. They should drive the from men and I dwelling should be with the beasts of the field shall make that eat grass like oxen and seven times a pass over the until valve know that the most high room within the kingdom of man and give it to whomsoever he will know some people are just hard cases, aren't they in the same hour.
Verse 33 was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar and he was driven from men and eat grass like oxen and his body was wet with the dew of heaven. Tillis hairs were grown like eagles feathers in his nails like bird's claws stop right there. Pretty awesome event when you say there is outside every can see them somehow was fenced in crawling around like an animal on the ground eating grass, his hair like the feathers of an eagle's fingers like bird's claws with their nails stick crusted curved raving maniac for seven years now taste in a kingdom like that you got a lot of grasping underlings. You got a lot of people who would like to knock off Nebuchadnezzar if you go later on in the history and you find after Nebuchadnezzar's death, you find it incredible Mary Lou of political intrigue as they tried to take over that throne. But for seven years. While a man is a raving maniac. Nobody lays a hand on that throne. I believe God used Daniel in the meantime to control it so it could be given back to him. God brought them down but the story doesn't end here from the reception of the dream, the recitation of the dream, the revelation, the realization we come to the restoration fabulous, just very quickly couple minutes will be done. Verse 34 notice and at the end of the day's Swanson expert I back to the first person, he's back to his senses. I Nebuchadnezzar restored and transformed what he do I lifted up mine eyes into heaven and mine.
Understanding return to me and I blessed the most high, and I praised and I honored him who lives forever whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. All mandated output music that Jessica Psalm and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing. Then he do with according to his will in the Army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay his hand or say to him what do is now hello got the message. Any he's transformed love God can save behind the mighty if they get humble you know that. And I'll tell you something, God will humble every man someday best that we be humbled, while we still have the opportunity to accept his grace right maybe that's how you gutsy. So this is Nebuchadnezzar's own testimony. Verse 36.
At the same time. I reason return to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor, and brightness returned on the me and my counselors in my Lords saw them to me and I was established in my kingdom and excellent majesty was added on to me.
I get that is reason came back, his glorious kingdom is honor his brightness returned, and waxes. Even the counselors and the Lord sought after him. I didn't say don't go near that raving maniac he's been freaked out for seven years. Stay away everybody except the kingdom except in the whole deal as if nothing would happen and I was established and excellent majesty was added on to me all the king could be, but had the right reaction. Now I Nebuchadnezzar what do I do with my life. I praise I extol high honor the King of heaven all whose works are truth, and his ways justice and those that walk in pride he is able to humble you get the message will you know it. What a great truth. God resists the proud, and gives grace to the that's John MacArthur, Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary. He's currently showing you what the prophet Daniel predicted about the rise and fall of world powers. That's the title of John study and friend as John mentioned earlier today, we are so grateful for your partnership that allows us to take God's word to people all over the world helping men and women from all walks of life grow spiritually to express your support. Get in touch with us today. You can send your tax-deductible donation to grace to you.
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Do you on this station now for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson. Thanks for being here today and make sure you are back tomorrow when John examines what may be the most famous graffiti in history. It's another half hour of unleashing God's truth verse at a time on grace