Home Bible Study

"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

Search HBS Bible Lessons

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Daniel Chapters 4; 5

November 11, 2010
Bonus Lesson
Daniel Chapter 4; 5


I want to bring out an important point of interest in Daniel chapter five (which Les skipped in his last lesson) and yet a tie in so well with what Les has previously shown us.  Remember the image seen in king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream?  There would be a series of empires (future) coming on the scene leading right up to the final days.  King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom (or empire) was the head and it was made of gold.  His kingdom would fall and there would be another, which was made of silver.  We know from both Scripture and our history lessons that the armies that conquered Babylon were the Medes and the Persians, which today represent the nation Iran.  Let’s review.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s Image

Head = Gold = Babylonian Empire
Chest = Silver = Medo-Persian Empire
Belly = Bronze = Greek Empire
Legs = Iron = Roman Empire (East and West)
Ten Toes = Iron & Clay - Future Revised Roman Empire

In Daniel chapter five, there has been a significant change.  
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon has died (605  - 562 BCE) and his son Belshazzar is now on the throne.  The casual Bible reader may overlook this detail; and this is why I am presenting this lesson to you.  

First let’s visit chapter four of Daniel.  
Here we find King Nebuchadnezzar praising the Most High God - which is the LORD God of Israel.  Empty words, when you consider there is no faith in God behind them...  Keep this in mind, as this Bible lesson unfolds.

Daniel 4  (This is King Nebuchadnezzar speaking.)
1: Nebuchadnezzar the king to all peoples, nations, and men of every language that live in all the earth:  “May your peace abound!”
2: “It has seemed good to me to declare the signs and wonders which (Watch this) the Most High God (All capitals so who is Nebuchadnezzar referring to?  God!  The term “Most High God” is the phrase gentiles used to refer to God, whereas the Israelites, who believed to even speak His name was blasphemy, used the word Yahweh or Jehovah.) has done for me.
3: “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.”

To make a long story short, King Nebuchadnezzar has had another vision.
In this vision, he sees a large, strong tree flourishing, visible to the whole earth, it bore abundant fruit, food for all, and all the earth’s creatures found shade under it.  
(Read: Daniel 4: 4-18).

Then an angelic one descended from heaven and said, “Chop down the tree...”
The king was disturbed by this vision and called for Belteshazzar (Daniel) to interpret it for him; which he did.  (See Daniel 4: 19-27).

This “tree”  that was to be “chopped down” represented King Nebuchadnezzar and his kingdom; unless he chose to “recognize that it is Heaven that rules...”  (Verse 26).

Here’s what we have then.  

It is safe to say, at this point, that the Creator God (Jehovah) has made Himself known to Nebuchadnezzar.   Most recently by appearing with and protecting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego in the fiery furnace.  Oh yea, King Nebuchadnezzar knew there was only One, all Powerful, all Knowing, Mighty God.  

But what did he do with this information?  Sadly, just the most of the people living toady, he left it right where he found it.  However, should he choose to recognize the Most High God for all that He is, then both he and his gentile kingdom would indeed flourish.  We know from both history and the Scriptures his choice.                  

Skip to verse 28.

Daniel 4  (This is King Nebuchadnezzar speaking.)
28: “All this happened to Nebuchadnezzar the king.
(What happened to the king?  Exactly what the angelic messenger from God said would happen.  This message is conveyed in Daniel 4 beginning at verse 19.)
29: “Twelve months later he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon.
30: “The king reflected (Or he looked out upon this great, beautiful city of Babylon.) and said, ‘Is this not Babylon the great, which (Here it comes) I myself have built as a royal residence by the might of my power and for the glory (Of whom?) of my majesty?’
31: “While the word was in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven, saying, “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: sovereignty has been removed from you.”

The Creator God permitted King Nebuchadnezzar’s rise to power.  
He was  God’s instrument.  He was the one chosen by God to punish the Southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin who had gone the way of Idolatry and sinfulness.        

It is said that in the year 598 BCE King Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Jewish Temple which King Solomon built.  

Yet, He could have been a “blessing” to many, under God of course.  
Pride and a lack of faith in God was his undoing (Where ever you find a lack of faith, pride is the reason for it).  Like King Nebuchadnezzar, PRIDE is the main reason the majority of people past, present, and future will spend eternity without God.   Prideful individuals will not humble themselves before their Creator God and Savior and accept His offer of mercy.   

So, the LORD God, by this vision, is showing King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen to him and his kingdom because of his unbelief unless he changes his mind and heart.

Hasn’t God declared to His creation the very same cause and affect?   

Let’s return to Daniel chapter four.  Drop in at verse 32.  
Here we find the consequences of king Nebuchadnezzar’s unbelief.

32: and you will be driven away from mankind, and your dwelling place will be with the beasts of the field.  You will be given grass to eat like cattle, and seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes.  
(What does that mean?  God permits man to have authority over other men, under God always.  Remember, we touched on this subject back when Noah and his family disembarked from the ark).
33: Immediately the word concerning Nebuchadnezzar was fulfilled...

God said, “...seven periods of time will pass over you until you recognize that the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind and bestows it on whomever He wishes,” and that’s what happened.

34: “But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed (Who?) the Most High and praised Him who lives forever...

Who’s he speaking of?  Why, it’s the LORD God of the old testament.  
That’s who king Nebuchadnezzar is speaking to and about in the following verses.  
You may wish to read these on your own.  (Daniel 4: 34-35).

King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom is returned to him, he regains his health and a sound mind once again.  “Greatness was added to me,” he said.

Now let’s look at Daniel chapter five.  Please remember what I am showing you today.  King Nebuchadnezzar is no longer the sovereign ruler of all when you reach Daniel chapter five.  King Nebuchadnezzar has died and his son Belshazzaar is on the throne.  We pick up this fact in the first verse of chapter five.

Daniel 5
1: Belshazzar the king held a great feast for a thousand of his nobles, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.
(I’ve never thrown a party and invited that many people to attend.  I don’t know about you of course; but this gives us some idea of his wealth.  As we read on, we see Belshazzar is not a believer in the LORD God of Israel.)

2: When Belshazzar tasted the wine, he gave orders to bring the gold and silver vessels which Nebuchadnezzar his father had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem, so that the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines might drink from them.
(When the Babylonians sacked the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, the took everything of value and brought these to king Nebuchadnezzar.  Among the items confiscated were the utensils the Jewish priests used daily in their practice.  These items were holy (set apart) for God’s purpose.  The Jewish priests could not touch them without first a ceremonial washing of themselves prior to offering the sacrifice to God.  For an unbeliever to use these gold and silver cups in such a way as king Belshazzar was doing was an affront to the LORD God.  Read on.)

3: Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God which was in Jerusalem; and the king and his nobles, his wives and his concubines (Did what?) drank from them.

4: They drank the wine and praised (Who?  Not the One and only God but) the gods of gold and silver, of bronze, iron, and wood and stone.

Here we see God’s response to their insult!

5: Suddenly the fingers of a man’s hand emerged and began writing opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, and the king saw the back of the hand that did the writing.
(This hand began to write on the plaster wall in the presence of the king and all his nobles.  King Belshazzar was terrified.)

6: The the king’s face grew pale and his thoughts alarmed him, and his hip joints went slack and his knees began knocking together.  

So, this ghostly image wrote a message on the wall for all to see.
The king ordered all his wise men to come and decipher this message.
No one could interpret the message for the king.
The queen entered the banquet hall and told Belshazzar there is a man in his kingdom, who in the days of his father, was able to interpret such things.  King Nebuchadnezzar had promoted him to chief of all magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans and diviners.  His name is Daniel.  

Daniel interprets the Handwriting on the Wall.

When offered special favors by the king for his ability to reveal the message on the wall, Daniel refused them.  Let’s drop in now at verse 18.

18: “O king, the MOST HIGH GOD granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father.  
(You can’t make it any plainer than that.)

19: Because of the grandeur which He (God) bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every language feared and trembled before him; whomever he wished he killed and whomever he wished he spared alive; and whomever he wished he elevated and whomever he wished he humbled.

20: “But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him.

21: “He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys.  He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the MOST HIGH GOD is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.  

22: “Yet you, his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this,
(Any different from mankind today?  Hardly.  Read on.)

23: but you have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before you, and your nobles, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them; and you have praised the gods of silver, and gold, of bronze, iron, wood and stone, which do not see, hear or understand.  But the God in whose hand are your (Now watch this) life- breath and all your ways, you have not glorified.

Here is the interpretation.

25: “Now this is the inscription that was written out: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

26: “This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENE - God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it.

27: ‘TEKEL - you have been weighed on the scales (Judged by God) and found deficient.

28: ‘PERES - your kingdom has been (Now watch this) divided and given over to (Whom?) the Medes and the Persians.”
(This is in fulfillment of that prophetical image from God to king Nebuchadnezzar back there in Daniel chapter two.  Babylon would fall and the kingdom divided by the conquering armies of Mede and Persia.)

30: That same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain.

31: So Darius the Mede received, the kingdom at about age of sixty-two.  

Gary Heitzman
Home Bible Study Group -Odessa, Florida