2426.) Daniel 9

August 20, 2018

Daniel 9   (NRSV)

Daniel’s Prayer for the People

Daniel recounts the revelation he received concerning the prophecy of Jeremiah about the seventy years of Jerusalem’s desolation (Jeremiah 25:11,12; 29:10). Significantly, the revelation follows Daniel’s prayer confessing the sinfulness of God’s people and the justice of Jerusalem’s desolation, and seeking the favor of God for the restoration of the city and the temple.  (The Reformation Bible)

In the first year of Darius son of Ahasuerus, by birth a Mede, who became king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the Lord to the prophet Jeremiah, must be fulfilled for the devastation of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

When exactly did the seventy years begin? At the time of the destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar? The time of Daniel’s own captivity? Or is it to be understood as a round number for a human lifetime? Opinions vary.

Then I turned to the Lord God, to seek an answer by prayer and supplication with fasting and sackcloth and ashes.

This implies determination in prayer. Daniel had an objective to achieve in prayer, and he approached God as a man who would not be denied. He did this because he was rightly convinced that his prayer was in the will of God, and knew it was not motivated by any selfish desire. Daniel wasn’t passive as God’s prophetic plan unfolded before him. In his approach to God, he made a requestasking God to perform His promise in the way that Daniel thought would bring God most glory.

–David Guzik

I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying,

The Prayer of Daniel. digital art by Ted Larson.

The Prayer of Daniel. digital art by Ted Larson.

“Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land.

“Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. Open shame, O Lord, falls on us, our kings, our officials, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him, 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.

Daniel’s petitions are based on the character of God (His greatness, awesomeness, faithfulness, righteousness, forgiveness, mercies) and on His interests (Your people, Your city, Your holy mountain, Your sanctuary).

–William MacDonald

11 “All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. So the curse and the oath written in the law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against you. 12 He has confirmed his words, which he spoke against us and against our rulers, by bringing upon us a calamity so great that what has been done against Jerusalem has never before been done under the whole heaven. 13 Just as it is written in the law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us. We did not entreat the favor of the Lord our God, turning from our iniquities and reflecting on his fidelity. 14 So the Lord kept watch over this calamity until he brought it upon us. Indeed, the Lord our God is right in all that he has done; for we have disobeyed his voice.

15 “And now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand and made your name renowned even to this day—we have sinned, we have done wickedly. 16 O Lord, in view of all your righteous acts, let your anger and wrath, we pray, turn away from your city Jerusalem, your holy mountain; because of our sins and the iniquities of our ancestors, Jerusalem and your people have become a disgrace among all our neighbors. 17 Now therefore, O our God, listen to the prayer of your servant and to his supplication, and for your own sake, Lord, let your face shine upon your desolated sanctuary. 18 Incline your ear, O my God, and hear. Open your eyes and look at our desolation and the city that bears your name. We do not present our supplication before you on the ground of our righteousness, but on the ground of your great mercies.

Here Daniel prays on firm New Testament ground. His confidence isn’t in his goodness, but in God’s goodness. And actually, this is what it means to pray in the name of Jesus. Those aren’t words we tack on to the end of a prayer, but they should express the fact we are praying in merits and righteousness of Jesus, not our own.

–David Guzik

19 O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, listen and act and do not delay! For your own sake, O my God, because your city and your people bear your name!”

The Seventy Weeks

“The Seventy Weeks” is a name often applied to Daniel 9:24-27, a prophecy that presumably, in contrast to the general prophecies in Daniel 2 and 7, pinpointed the exact time within the fourth kingdom when the Messiah would appear. Almost all scholars agree that the “weeks” designate 490 years. The prophecy is (1) divided–the successive periods are described as 7, 62, 1;  (2) dated–“from” and “until” in 9:25;  (3) determinative–Its purposes regard Israel (v. 24), redemption (v. 24), the Messiah (vv. 24, 26-27),  the sacrifices (v. 27), and Jerusalem (vv. 25-27);  and debated (see below). 

Three primary views are held. (1) The critical view posits that the “prophecy” was written by a pseudo-Daniel in 165 B.C. and synchronizes (inaccurately) with the history between 586 B.C. (Jerusalem’s fall) and 164 B.C. (Antiochus IV Epiphanes). (2) The dispensational view has the sixty-ninth week terminating before Jesus’ crucifixion, leaving the seventieth (the present age being a “great parenthesis”) to be fulfilled in the great tribulation. (3) The conservative or traditional view asserts that the seventieth week was introduced by Jesus’ baptism and bisected (three and a half years) by his death, thus causing the sacrifices to cease (v. 27).  (The Archaeological Study Bible)

20 While I was speaking, and was praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God on behalf of the holy mountain of my God— 21 while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen before in a vision, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.

22 He came and said to me, “Daniel, I have now come out to give you wisdom and understanding. 23 At the beginning of your supplications a word went out, and I have come to declare it, for you are greatly beloved. So consider the word and understand the vision:

24 “Seventy weeks are decreed for your people and your holy city: to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place. 25 Know therefore and understand: from the time that the word went out to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the time of an anointed prince, there shall be seven weeks; and for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with streets and moat, but in a troubled time.

Gabriel’s message to Daniel is simple and striking. 483 years – that is, 69 units of seven years – would pass from the time of the command recorded in Nehemiah 2:1-8 until the appearance of Messiah the Prince.

–David Guzik

26 After the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing,

Messiah Cut Off. digital art by Ted Larson.

Messiah Cut Off. digital art by Ted Larson.

and the troops of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

Many interpreters agree that the assailants are the armies of Titus who destroyed Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Others believe the prince himself is the Antichrist of the future.  (The Reformation Bible)

Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed. 27 He shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall make sacrifice and offering cease; and in their place shall be an abomination that desolates, until the decreed end is poured out upon the desolator.”



There are great numbers of books/charts/timelines purporting to interpret Daniel’s revelations. Just as a foretaste, go to Google Images and look up “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks” — you will see dozens of charts and interpretations! I do not claim to understand all the viewpoints, or even to give you a good representation of the various points of view.  As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 2:2 — For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.  For that reason,  I give you a song about our Savior, crucified and risen; desolations cease as we draw nearer to the Lord.  HERE  is “The Risen Christ” by Keith Getty and Phil Madeira.


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
70 years.   http://www.hamilton-exhibits.com/home/
Ted Larson.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2014/01/23/1234-daniel-9/
70 weeks.   https://images.knowing-jesus.com/i/daniel-9-24-seventy-weeks-have-been-decreed-for-your-people-brown
Gabriel appears to Daniel.   http://www.thebibleschool.com/Bible-School-web/FB9.htm

2425.) Proverbs 18

August 17, 2018

Proverbs 18 (ESV)

1Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire;
he breaks out against all sound judgment.

To cut one’s self off from family, friends, and community is often to express a selfish desire. It shows an unwillingness to make the small (and sometimes large) sacrifices to get along with others.

Jewish tradition uses this passage to teach the necessity of not separating from the community, because people have responsibilities as social beings.

–David Guzik

2A fool takes no pleasure in understanding,
but only in expressing his opinion.
3When wickedness comes, contempt comes also,
and with dishonor comes disgrace.

“Adam and Eve” by Peter Paul Rubens

“As soon as sin entered, shame followed.”

–Matthew Henry

Genesis 3:6-8 (Good News Translation)

The woman saw how beautiful the tree was and how good its fruit would be to eat, and she thought how wonderful it would be to become wise. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, and he also ate it.  As soon as they had eaten it, they were given understanding and realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and covered themselves.

That evening they heard the Lord God walking in the garden, and they hid from him among the trees.

4The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.

Not that everyone’s speech is deep and meaningful! Rather, we reveal the depths of our heart by the words of our mouth.

5It is not good to be partial to the wicked
or to deprive the righteous of justice.
6A fool’s lips walk into a fight,
and his mouth invites a beating.

He who thinks by the inch and speaks by the yard deserves to be kicked by the foot!

7 A fool’s mouth is his ruin,
and his lips are a snare to his soul.
8 The words of a whisperer are like delicious morsels;
they go down into the inner parts of the body.

9Whoever is slack in his work
is a brother to him who destroys.
10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Because the name of Yahweh represents His character in all its aspects, the believer can think about the aspects of God’s character and find a strong, safe refuge in them. It can be as simple as this:

· Lord, You are a God of love – so I find refuge in your love.

· Lord, You are a God of mercy – so I find refuge in your mercy.

· Lord, You are a God of strength – so I find refuge in your strength.

· Lord, You are a God of righteousness – so I find refuge in your righteousness.

–David Guzik

11 A rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
and like a high wall in his imagination.
12 Before destruction a man’s heart is haughty,
but humility comes before honor.

“It is not humility to underrate yourself. Humility is to think of yourself, if you can, as God thinks of you.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

13If one gives an answer before he hears,
it is his folly and shame.

The adage says, “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason!  Listen twice as much as you speak!”

14A man’s spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear?
15An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16A man’s gift makes room for him
and brings him before the great.

As an example . . .

What gifts were most frequently given to Nixon by foreign Heads of State?
Framed photographs, paintings and decorative household objects such as vases and figurines were some of the most popular gifts given to President Nixon. Many of the gifts that Richard Nixon received reflect the native crafts of the culture they represent. For example, gifts from Africa include carved ivory tusks, traditional wooden masks and African jewelry.

What was the most unusual gift that President Nixon received?
The gift of two giant pandas, Ling-Ling and Hsing-Hsing, were perhaps the most unique gifts ever given to a president. The pandas were a Head of State gift from the People’s Republic of China. They were given as a token of friendship in response to President Nixon’s goodwill trip to China in 1972.

What type of gifts did President Nixon give to foreign Heads of State on behalf of the United States of America?
President Nixon usually presented Heads of State with gifts made by American companies or with American themes. Typical gifts given include Franklin Mint limited edition medallions, Ansel Adams prints depicting America’s national parks, Boehm porcelain figurines, and collector’s plates with reproductions of American artist Winslow Homer’s artwork. In addition, President Nixon often gave a framed photograph of his family to foreign Heads of State.

— from the Nixon Archives

17The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.
18 The lot puts an end to quarrels
and decides between powerful contenders.

“Verse 18 speaks of a practice that was widely practiced and highly regarded in ancient Israel, the casting of lots to settle disputed matters. The intent is to give the controversy over to God.”

–Duane A. Garrett

19A brother offended is more unyielding than a strong city,
and quarreling is like the bars of a castle.
20 From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied;
he is satisfied by the yield of his lips.

Proverbs 18:20 (Good News Translation)

You will have to live with the consequences of everything you say.

Proverbs 18:20 (The Message)

Words satisfy the mind as much as fruit does the stomach;
   good talk is as gratifying as a good harvest.

Proverbs 18:20 (Contemporary English Version)

Make your words good–

   you will be glad you did.

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
22He who finds a wife finds a good thing
and obtains favor from the LORD.

(Guys — Today would be a good day to tell her how much you appreciate her!)

23The poor use entreaties,
but the rich answer roughly.
24A man of many companions may come to ruin,
but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.



So many of the verses in this chapter speak to the words we speak.  HERE  is Tim Hughes with “May the Words of My Mouth.”

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart
Bless Your name, bless Your name, Jesus
And the deeds of the day and the truth in my ways
Speak of You, speak of You, Jesus

For this is what I’m glad to do
It’s time to live a life of love that pleases You
And I will give my all to You
Surrender everything I have and follow You
I’ll follow You

Lord, will You be my vision, Lord, will You be my guide
Be my hope, be my light and the way
And I’ll look not for riches, nor praises on earth
Only You’ll be the first of my heart

I will follow
I will follow
I will follow You


English Standard Version (ESV)   The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.

Images courtesy of:
Words kill, words give life.   https://i.pinimg.com/originals/07/15/40/071540c179203544fbbb4c11bce3dbe1.png
Rubens.   https://www.myartprints.co.uk/kunst/noartist/p/p_p_rubens__adam_and_eve.jpg
ruler.   http://i00.i.aliimg.com/photo/v0/293609546/12_inch_18_inch_Wooden_Ruler.jpg
gossip.  http://28.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_l9ria4862R1qa7ieoo1_500.jpg
strong tower.   http://earnestlycontending.com/LUJesus/wp-content/gallery/proverbs/Prov18-10b.jpg
2 ears 1 mouth.    https://www.citywatchla.com/index.php/jay-bradley/12116-two-ears-and-one-mouth-use-them-accordingly
Nixon.  http://prmanwithus.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/president-nixon.jpg
Thank you.  http://rlv.zcache.com/soft_red_rose_thank_you_cards-p137442045531177021qiae_400.jpg

2424.) Daniel 8

August 16, 2018

Dan8 Goat-Vs-Ram

Daniel 8   (NRSV)

Daniel resumes writing in Hebrew for the last five chapters.  He used Aramaic in 2:4 to 7:28.  (The Reformation Bible)

Vision of a Ram and a Goat

In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar

This vision happened while Babylon was securely in power. Though the vision will deal with the emergence and destiny of the Greek Empire, the Greek Empire was not much of anything at the time the prophecy came to Daniel.

a vision appeared to me, Daniel, after the one that had appeared to me at first. In the vision I was looking and saw myself in Susa the capital, in the province of Elam, and I was by the river Ulai. I looked up and saw a ram standing beside the river.

Vision of the Ram. digital art by Ted Larson.

Vision of the Ram. digital art by Ted Larson.

It had two horns. Both horns were long, but one was longer than the other, and the longer one came up second. I saw the ram charging westward and northward and southward. All beasts were powerless to withstand it, and no one could rescue from its power; it did as it pleased and became strong.

In this same chapter (Daniel 8:20) this ram was clearly identified as representing the Medo-Persian Empire, which succeeded the Babylonian Empire.

It wasn’t a stretch to use a ram to represent the Medo-Persian Empire. “Ammianus Marcellinus, a fourth century historian, states that the Persian ruler bore the head of a ram as he stood at the head of his army.” (Wood) “The ram was the national emblem of Persia, a ram being stamped on Persian coins as well as on the headdress of Persian emperors.” (Strauss)

The ram was noted for the proportion of its two horns — one was higher than the other. This was an accurate prediction of the partnership between the Medes and the Persians, because the Persians were larger and stronger in the partnership. They also emerged after the Medes (the higher one came up last).

“The principle theatre of their wars, says Calmet, was against the Scythians, northward; against the Greeks, westward; and against the Egyptians, southward.” (Clarke)

–David Guzik, and all following comments in red

As I was watching, a male goat appeared from the west, coming across the face of the whole earth without touching the ground.

From ancient history we know the goat was a common representation of the Greek Empire. 

Vision of the Goat. digital art by Ted Larson.

Vision of the Goat. digital art by Ted Larson.

The goat had a horn between its eyes. It came toward the ram with the two horns that I had seen standing beside the river, and it ran at it with savage force. I saw it approaching the ram. It was enraged against it and struck the ram, breaking its two horns. The ram did not have power to withstand it; it threw the ram down to the ground and trampled upon it, and there was no one who could rescue the ram from its power. Then the male goat grew exceedingly great; but at the height of its power, the great horn was broken, and in its place there came up four prominent horns toward the four winds of heaven.

In this same chapter (Daniel 8:21-22) this male goat was clearly identified with Greece and its horns are identified with the rulers of the Greek Empire.  This prophetic description of the male goat was proved to be accurate regarding the Greek Empire:

  • The Greek Empire rose from the west of previous empires.
  • The Greek Empire rose with great speed; Alexander defeated the Persian Empire in only three years. (suddenly . . . without touching the ground).
  • The Greek Empire had a notable ruler, Alexander the Great (a notable horn).
  • The Greek Empire had a famous war with the Medo-Persian Empire (I saw him confronting the ram).
  • The Greek Empire and the Medo-Persian Empire greatly hated each other (with furious power . . . moved with rage). Some of the greatest, fiercest battles of ancient history were fought between the Greeks and the Persians.
  • The Greek Empire conquered the Medo-Persian Empire (no one that could deliver the ram from his hand).
  • The reign of the notable leader of the Greek Empire was suddenly cut short when Alexander died at age thirty-three (the large horn was broken).
  • After the end of Alexander the Great’s reign, the Greek Empire was divided among four rulers (in place of it four notable ones came up).
  • The four rulers of the Greek Empire after Alexander ruled their own dominions, not the entire empire together (came up toward the four winds of heaven). 
  • The greatness of Alexander’s Empire was not only in its vast dominion but also in its cultural power. Alexander the Great was determined to spread Greek civilization, culture, and language across every land he conquered (the male goat grew very great).

As God guided history, He used Alexander’s passion to spread Greek culture to prepare the world for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of Alexander’s influence, koine (common) Greek became the common language of the civilized world – and the language of the New Testament.

Out of one of them came another horn, a little one, which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the beautiful land (note: Palestine).

Dan8 coin

According to v. 23, this “little horn” symbolizes a wicked ruler who will arise in one of the four Greek kingdoms after a long interval of time (“at the latter end of their kingdom”).  The descriptions of the actions of this ruler (vs. 9-14; 23-25) indicate that he is Antiochus IV Epiphanes, ruler of the Selucid kingdom from 175-164 B.C.  (The Reformation Bible)

On the coin above:  the image is Antiochus IV, and the inscription in Greek is translated  “Antiochus, image of God, bearer of victory.”

10 It grew as high as the host of heaven. It threw down to the earth some of the host and some of the stars, and trampled on them. 11 Even against the prince of the host it acted arrogantly; it took the regular burnt offering away from him and overthrew the place of his sanctuary. 12 Because of wickedness, the host was given over to it together with the regular burnt offering; it cast truth to the ground, and kept prospering in what it did.

Antiochus IV Epiphanes attempted to abolish traditional Jewish worship and Hellenize the Jewish people by force. He blasphemed the Lord, caused the sacrifices to cease in Jerusalem, and desecrated the temple by offering a pig on the altar in the Most Holy Place. He burned copies of Scripture. By some estimates he was responsible for the murder of more than 100,000 Jews. All this he did with apparent success.

13 Then I heard a holy one speaking, and another holy one said to the one that spoke, “For how long is this vision concerning the regular burnt offering, the transgression that makes desolate, and the giving over of the sanctuary and host to be trampled?” 14 And he answered him, “For two thousand three hundred evenings and mornings; then the sanctuary shall be restored to its rightful state.”

The temple was cleansed and rededicated under the leadership of Judas Maccabeus in December, 164 B.C.  (The Reformation Bible)

Gabriel Interprets the Vision

Gabriel and Daniel in the Citadel. digital art by Ted Larson.

Gabriel and Daniel in the Citadel. digital art by Ted Larson.

15 When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I tried to understand it. Then someone appeared standing before me, having the appearance of a man, 16 and I heard a human voice by the Ulai, calling, “Gabriel, help this man understand the vision.”

The angel Gabriel is mentioned four times in Scripture:  twice he appears to Daniel (here and 9:21), once to Zechariah (Luke 1:19), and once to Mary (Luke 1:26).  His name means “God is mighty.”

17 So he came near where I stood; and when he came, I became frightened and fell prostrate. But he said to me, “Understand, O mortal, that the vision is for the time of the end.”

18 As he was speaking to me, I fell into a trance, face to the ground; then he touched me and set me on my feet. 19 He said, “Listen, and I will tell you what will take place later in the period of wrath; for it refers to the appointed time of the end. 20 As for the ram that you saw with the two horns, these are the kings of Media and Persia. 21 The male goat is the king of Greece, and the great horn between its eyes is the first king. 22 As for the horn that was broken, in place of which four others arose, four kingdoms shall arise from his nation, but not with his power.

So is this prophecy fulfilled already? Or, as the angel says, is it for the end times?

The prophecy in this passage below reads equally true of both Antiochus and Antichrist. This is an example of a prophetic passage that has both a near and far fulfillment.

23 At the end of their rule,
    when the transgressions have reached their full measure,
a king of bold countenance shall arise,
    skilled in intrigue.
24 He shall grow strong in power,
    shall cause fearful destruction,
    and shall succeed in what he does.
He shall destroy the powerful
    and the people of the holy ones.
25 By his cunning
    he shall make deceit prosper under his hand,
    and in his own mind he shall be great.
Without warning he shall destroy many
    and shall even rise up against the Prince of princes.
But he shall be broken, and not by human hands.

Some interpreters perceive the Antichrist in the description of the “little horn” of this chapter. Antiochus IV is viewed as a type pointing forward to a later manifestation of satanic power in the person of the Antichrist.  (The Reformation Bible)

26 The vision of the evenings and the mornings that has been told is true. As for you, seal up the vision, for it refers to many days from now.”

27 So I, Daniel, was overcome and lay sick for some days; then I arose and went about the king’s business. But I was dismayed by the vision and did not understand it.

Daniel probably couldn’t understand why God would allow such a mighty persecutor of His people to come to power and seeming success.



The hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” was written by William Cowper (1731-1800).  It is re­port­ed­ly the last hymn Cow­per ev­er wrote, with a fas­cin­at­ing (though un­sub­stan­ti­at­ed) story be­hind it.

Cow­per oft­en strug­gled with de­press­ion and doubt. One night he de­cid­ed to com­mit su­i­cide by drown­ing him­self. He called a cab and told the driv­er to take him to the Thames Riv­er. How­ev­er, thick fog came down and pre­vent­ed them from find­ing the riv­er (ano­ther ver­sion of the story has the driv­er get­ting lost de­liber­ate­ly). After driv­ing around lost for a while, the cab­by fin­al­ly stopped and let Cow­per out. To Cowper’s sur­prise, he found him­self on his own door­step: God had sent the fog to keep him from kill­ing him­self. Even in our black­est mo­ments, God watch­es over us.

HERE  is Lori Sealy singing a hymn that Daniel would surely understand.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs and works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take; the clouds ye so much dread
are big with mercy and shall break in blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.

God moves in a mysterious way that’s often not my own
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.

His purposes will ripen fast, unfolding every hour
The bud may have a bitter taste, but sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err and scan His work in vain.
God is His own interpreter and He will make it plain.

God moves in a mysterious way that’s often not my own.
His wisdom guides each path I take, His mercy leads me home.
Help me to trust when I don’t understand
Grant me the peace of resting in your plan.

God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.
He plants His footsteps in the sea, and rides upon the storm.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense, but trust Him for His grace.
Behind a frowning providence He hides a smiling face.


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Grecian Empire takes Persia.    http://kenraggio.com/He-Goat-Vs-Ram.jpg
all Ted Larson.  https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2014/01/22/1233-daniel-8/
coin.    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/92/AntiochusIVEpiphanes.jpg

2423.) Daniel 7

August 15, 2018
The Ancient of Days. digital art by Ted Larson.

The Ancient of Days. digital art by Ted Larson.

Daniel 7   (NRSV)

Visions of the Four Beasts

Here is the traditional Christian interpretation of this chapter:  It is very clear that the history of the world, from Babylon to Christ’s second coming, is given in Daniel 7 as in Daniel 2. There were to be but four universal kingdoms until the setting up of God’s kingdom, according to Daniel 2; history has confirmed this story. Since Daniel 7 also gives us four and they are presented as succeeding one another (Daniel 7:4-7,23), it is evident that we are dealing with Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.

In the first year of King Belshazzar of Babylon, Daniel had a dream and visions of his head as he lay in bed. Then he wrote down the dream:

Daniel chapters 1 through 6 describe the life and times of Daniel. Chapters 7 through 12 describe visions Daniel had. In order of events, the vision described in Daniel 7 took place during the time between Daniel chapters 4 and 5.

This first vision — one of four described between Daniel 7 through 12 — was the most comprehensive. The other three visions go into greater detail within the general framework of this first vision.

I, Daniel, saw in my vision by night the four winds of heaven stirring up the great sea, and four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. 4 The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings.

The Lion with Wings. digital art by Ted Larson.

The Lion with Wings. digital art by Ted Larson.

Then, as I watched, its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a human being; and a human mind was given to it.

The first beast was more majestic than any of the following beasts (lions and eagles are “kings” of their realms). But this majestic beast was humbled (wings were plucked off) and made human (a man’s heart was given to it).

A little later (Daniel 7:17) Daniel tells us that these four beasts are four kingdoms ruling over the earth. The first kingdom is the Babylonian Empire, represented by a lion and an eagle. This fits in well with the majesty and authority of Nebuchadnezzar in his reign over the empire of Babylon.

Jeremiah used both the lion and the eagle as pictures of Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 49:19-22), and Babylon’s winged lions can be seen at the British Museum today.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

Another beast appeared, a second one, that looked like a bear.

Dan7 bearIt was raised up on one side, had three tusks in its mouth among its teeth and was told, “Arise, devour many bodies!”

The second beast didn’t have the majestic bearing of either the lion or the eagle. A bear is slower, stronger, and more crushing than a lion — and this bear had a voracious appetite for conquest (Arise, devour much flesh!)

The bear represented the Medo-Persian Empire, succeeding the Babylonian Empire. In this partnership between the Medes and the Persians, the Persians dominated the relationship. Most think the three ribs represent their three great military conquests: Babylon, Egypt and Lydia.

The slow, crushing armies of the Medo-Persian Empire were well known. They simply overwhelmed their opponents with superior size and strength.

After this, as I watched, another appeared, like a leopard. The beast had four wings of a bird on its back and four heads; and dominion was given to it.

Dan7 leopard

The leopard was known for its sudden, unexpected attacks. This one was especially swift (with four wings), and clever (having four heads).

Each animal is mighty, but dominates its prey in a different way. “The lion devours, the bear crushes, and the leopard springs upon its prey.” (Strauss)

The leopard represented the Greek Empire. Alexander the Great quickly conquered the civilized world by age 28. “Nothing in the history of the world, was equal to the conquests of Alexander, who ran through all the countries from Illycrium and the Adriatic Sea to the Indian Ocean and the River Ganges; and in twelve years subdued part of Europe, and all Asia.” (Clarke)

After his sudden death at age thirty-three, his empire was divided into four parts (four heads). Specifically, the four heads were Casander, Lysimachus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy, who inherited Alexander’s domain after his death.

After this I saw in the visions by night a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth and was devouring, breaking in pieces, and stamping what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that preceded it, and it had ten horns.

The Beast with Ten Horns. digital art by Ted Larson.

The Beast with Ten Horns. digital art by Ted Larson.

I was considering the horns, when another horn appeared, a little one coming up among them; to make room for it, three of the earlier horns were plucked up by the roots. There were eyes like human eyes in this horn, and a mouth speaking arrogantly.

The fourth beast was indescribable, and uniquely horrific in its power and conquest.

In the ancient world horns expressed the power and fearsomeness of an animal. This fourth beast was so strong it had ten horns.

In historical fulfillment, the fourth beast represents the Roman Empire, which was the largest, strongest, most unified and enduring of them all.

Judgment before the Ancient One

As I watched,
thrones were set in place,
    and an Ancient One took his throne,
his clothing was white as snow,
    and the hair of his head like pure wool;
his throne was fiery flames,
    and its wheels were burning fire.
10 A stream of fire issued
    and flowed out from his presence.
A thousand thousands served him,
    and ten thousand times ten thousand stood attending him.
The court sat in judgment,
    and the books were opened.

11 I watched then because of the noise of the arrogant words that the horn was speaking. And as I watched, the beast was put to death, and its body destroyed and given over to be burned with fire. 12 As for the rest of the beasts, their dominion was taken away, but their lives were prolonged for a season and a time. 13 As I watched in the night visions,

I saw one like a human being
    coming with the clouds of heaven.
And he came to the Ancient One
    and was presented before him.

The Son of Man. digital art by Ted Larson.

The Son of Man. digital art by Ted Larson.

14 To him was given dominion
    and glory and kingship,
that all peoples, nations, and languages
    should serve him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
    that shall not pass away,
and his kingship is one
    that shall never be destroyed.

Daniel’s Visions Interpreted

15 As for me, Daniel, my spirit was troubled within me, and the visions of my head terrified me. 16 I approached one of the attendants to ask him the truth concerning all this. So he said that he would disclose to me the interpretation of the matter: 17 “As for these four great beasts, four kings shall arise out of the earth. 18 But the holy ones of the Most High shall receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever—forever and ever.”

comparison of Daniel chapters 2 and 7

The divine interpretation of the dream shows that this vision covers the same material as Nebuchadnezzar’s vision in Daniel 2, which also described the rise of four empires, which are succeeded by the kingdom of God.

Yet Daniel’s vision was different, seeing the kingdoms from God’s perspective, not man’s. Nebuchadnezzar saw the present and future world empires in the form of a stately and noble statue of a man. Here God showed how He regarded them: as ferocious and wild animals who devour and conquer without conscience.

19 Then I desired to know the truth concerning the fourth beast, which was different from all the rest, exceedingly terrifying, with its teeth of iron and claws of bronze, and which devoured and broke in pieces, and stamped what was left with its feet; 20 and concerning the ten horns that were on its head, and concerning the other horn, which came up and to make room for which three of them fell out—the horn that had eyes and a mouth that spoke arrogantly, and that seemed greater than the others. 21 As I looked, this horn made war with the holy ones and was prevailing over them, 22 until the Ancient One came; then judgment was given for the holy ones of the Most High, and the time arrived when the holy ones gained possession of the kingdom.

There was much interest in all these four beasts, but Daniel was especially interested in the fourth, most terrible beast – and especially about its conspicuous horn.

23 This is what he said: “As for the fourth beast,

there shall be a fourth kingdom on earth
    that shall be different from all the other kingdoms;
it shall devour the whole earth,
    and trample it down, and break it to pieces.
24 As for the ten horns,
out of this kingdom ten kings shall arise,

 These ten kings do not have a literal fulfillment in the Roman Empire of history. If they are literal, they are still in the future.

    and another shall arise after them.
This one shall be different from the former ones,
    and shall put down three kings.
25 He shall speak words against the Most High,
    shall wear out the holy ones of the Most High,
    and shall attempt to change the sacred seasons and the law;
and they shall be given into his power
    for a time, two times, and half a time.
26 Then the court shall sit in judgment,
    and his dominion shall be taken away,
    to be consumed and totally destroyed.
27 The kingship and dominion
    and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven
    shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High;
their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom,
    and all dominions shall serve and obey them.”

In the day of persecution by this blasphemous ruler, the Messiah will establish His kingdom for His people.

28 Here the account ends. As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly terrified me, and my face turned pale; but I kept the matter in my mind.



“My thoughts greatly terrified me,” Daniel says. How often is that not the case for us as we face our future with its unknowns!  Yet it need not be so, for the Lord has promised us everlasting peace: Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way . . . (2 Thessalonians 3:16).   HERE  is Libera and John Rutter’s serene “Deep Peace.”

Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the gentle night to you.
Moon and stars pour their healing light on you.
Deep peace of Christ,
of Christ the light of the world to you.
Deep peace of Christ to you.


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Larson, all.   https://dwellingintheword.wordpress.com/2014/01/21/1232-daniel-7/
bear.    http://bptnews.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/bear3.jpg
leopard.   http://www.friendsofgod.org/assets/daniel_7_leopard_sm.jpg
comparison of chapters 2 and 7.   http://www.pathlights.com/My-Bible-School-2010/BS-14.htm

2422.) Daniel 6

August 14, 2018
Daniel. a serigraph by John August Swanson.

Daniel. a serigraph by John August Swanson.

Daniel 6   (NRSV)

The Plot against Daniel

It pleased Darius

Darius the Mede is not referred to in surviving historical sources outside the Scripture, and there is no interval between Belshazzar and the accession of Cyrus of Persia.  Commentators have suggested that “Darius the Mede” (Daniel 5:31) could be a throne name for Cyrus, the founder of the Persian Empire; a title; or a designation for Gobryas, a general who had defected from Nebuchadnezzar to Cyrus and later captured Babylon.  Cyrus made Gobryus governor over the territories the Persians took from the Babylonians.  (The Reformation Bible)

to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. The men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”

No skeletons in Daniel’s closet. Just an unwavering faithfulness to God. When he considered Daniel’s integrity, Spurgeon bemoaned our modern compromises:

“As for Lord Fair-Speech, Lord Time-Server, Mr. Smooth-Man, Mr. Anything, Mr. Facing-both-Ways, Mr. Two-Tongues, and all the members of their club, Mr. By-Ends included, the entire company of them will be swept away when the Judge comes with the besom of destruction.” 

So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”

The unchangeableness of their law is also attested in extrabiblical writings.  (The Reformation Bible)

It was an established principle in the Medo-Persian Empire that when a king formally signed and instituted a decree, it was so binding that not even the king himself could change it. He was thought to speak for the gods, who could never be wrong and thus never needed to change their minds.

Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.

The proposal would appear to Darius to be more political than religious, and would serve to consolidate his authority over newly conquered territories.  (The Reformation Bible)

Daniel in the Lions’ Den

10 Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously.

Dan6 praying

What was Daniel’s custom in prayer?

He prayed in his upper room – this was private prayer, made with no intention to impress others.

He prayed with his windows open toward Jerusalem, remembering the place of sacrifice even when there was no sacrifice.

He prayed according to Scripture, because in 1 Kings 8 Solomon asked God to give special notice to the prayers of His people when they prayed towards Jerusalem and the temple: And may You hear the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place (1 Kings 8:3).

He knelt down on his knees, praying just as Jesus did, (Luke 22:41), as Stephen (Acts 7:60), as Peter (Acts 9:40), as Paul and other leaders in the church (Acts 20:36), and as Luke (Acts 21:5). “Kneeling is a begging posture and we must all come to God as beggars.” (Heslop)

He prayed three times that day, knowing that though a little prayer is good, much prayer is far better. We also remember that Daniel was one of three governors over an empire – yet still had time to pray. “That does not tell you how often he prayed, but how often he was in the posture of prayer. Doubtless he prayed 300 times a day if necessary — his heart was always having commerce with the skies; but thrice a day he prayed formally.” (Spurgeon)

He prayed and gave thanks, because great prayer is filled with thanksgiving. “Prayer and praise should always go up to heaven arm in arm, like twin angels walking up Jacob’s ladder, or like kindred aspirations soaring up to the Most High.” (Spurgeon)

–David Guzik

11 The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God.

12 Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they responded to the king, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day.”

14 When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed.

He realized he had been manipulated by his advisers.

He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. 15 Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”

16 Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” 17 A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

Dan6 Freese

Psalm 22:21-22   (NIV)

Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
    save me from the horns of the wild oxen.

I will declare your name to my people;
    in the assembly I will praise you.

Daniel Saved from the Lions

19 Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. 20 When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

Because of this faith, Daniel is recognized in Hebrews 11:33 as one who by faith stopped the mouths of lions.

24 The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

My mother used to say — What you put into the lives of others, comes back into your own.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: “May you have abundant prosperity! 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:

For he is the living God,
    enduring forever.
His kingdom shall never be destroyed,
    and his dominion has no end.
27 He delivers and rescues,
    he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
for he has saved Daniel
    from the power of the lions.”

28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

HERE  is a poetic look back over Daniel’s long and faithful life.



A wonderful piece for today!  HERE  is “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel,”  sung by the Westminster Chorus.


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)  New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Swanson.    http://www.johnaugustswanson.com/default.cfm/PID%3D1.2.html
Daniel praying in his room.   http://thebiblerevival.com/clipart3/danielatprayerdaniel6-10-11.jpg
Daniel praying in the lions’ den, by Emerson L. Freese, Jr.   http://www.senorfrogsmb.com/free-pictures-of-daniel-in-the-lions-den/free-pictures-of-daniel-in-the-lions-den-daniel-in-the-lions-den-emersonlfreesejr-on-deviantart-cow-coloring-pages/

2421.) Daniel 5

August 13, 2018
The Writing on the Wall. digital art by Ted Larson.

The Writing on the Wall. digital art by Ted Larson.

Daniel 5   (NRSV)

Daniel 5 is the transition from the head of gold to the chest of silver as revealed to Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2. The last Babylonian king has his moment and then descends into the ages of obscurity.

Daniel, by divine providence, is there to record the events, to witness the fulfillment of the dream he interpreted in chapter 2, and to watch the transfer of one empire to another.

–Fred Butler (and all further comments in blue)

Belshazzar’s Feast



Jean Sibelius’ incidental music for “Belsazars Gästabud” (“Belshazzar’s Feast”) was composed for a play of the same name which was written by Sibelius’ friend Hjalmar Procopé. The play is based upon King Belshazzar of the Old Testament book of Daniel, focusing specifically on the fifth chapter of Daniel. The first movement of the suite, Orientalisk Marsch (“Oriental Procession”), and the second, Solitude, are presented  HERE  as performed by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra led by Pietari Inkinen.  If you wants to hear the rest of it — the third movement of the suite, Nocturne (“Night Music”), and the fourth, Khadras dans (“Khadra’s Dance”), are presented  HERE.


King Belshazzar made a great festival for a thousand of his lords, and he was drinking wine in the presence of the thousand.

When we come to Daniel 5, Nebuchadnezzar is no longer the king of Babylon. How did it pass from Nebuchadnezzar to Belshazzar? The ancient historian Berosus gives us the following order of events:

  • Nebuchadnezzar died after a 43-year reign
  • His son, Evil-Merodach (described in 2 Kings 25:27-30 and Jeremiah 52:31-34) ruled for only two years when he was assassinated by his brother-in-law Neriglassar, because his rule was arbitrary and licentious.
  • Neriglassar (mentioned as Nergalsharezer in Jeremiah 39:3, 13) ruled for four years until he died a natural death.
  • His son, Laborosoarchod, only a child and of diminished mental capacity, ruled for only nine months when he was beaten to death by a gang of conspirators.
  • The conspirators appointed Nabonidus, one of their gang, to be king. He ruled until Cyrus the Persian conquered Babylon.

–David Guzik (and all further comments in red)

For many years skeptics and mockers ridiculed this section of Daniel. Belshazzar could not be a king in Babylon, it was argued, because there was no record anywhere naming him as a royal official, let alone the last king of Babylon. Everyone knows it was Nabonidus.

But that changed in 1861 when a cuneiform tablet was found at Ur that contained the name “Bel Shazur.” Then in 1882, the “Nabonidus cylinder” was uncovered. (Note:  it is now on display at the British Museum.) It chronicled how the crown prince, one named Bel Shazur, was regarded as king because he was left in control of the army of Babylon from 549-545 B.C. while Nabonidus established a new military in Tema located in north east Arabia. By 1924 it was well established that Belshazzar had been appointed king over the city of Babylon by his father.

Under the influence of the wine, Belshazzar commanded that they bring in the vessels of gold and silver that his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple in Jerusalem, so that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. So they brought in the vessels of gold and silver that had been taken out of the temple, the house of God in Jerusalem, and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank the wine and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze, iron, wood, and stone.

sac·ri·lege  (skr-lj)
Desecration, profanation, misuse, or theft of something sacred.

The Writing on the Wall

Rembrandt — “Belshazzar’s Feast”

Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and began writing on the plaster of the wall of the royal palace, next to the lampstand.

The lampstand would be shining with lit candles, so the mysterious characters would be best seen near it. Perhaps this was one of the lampstands taken from the temple of Jerusalem, the nearness of the writing to it intimating that the rebuke was directed against the sacrilege. 

The king was watching the hand as it wrote.

This, of course, is where we get the proverbial phrase the writing on the wall.

Then the king’s face turned pale, and his thoughts terrified him. His limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together. The king cried aloud to bring in the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners; and the king said to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever can read this writing and tell me its interpretation shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around his neck, and rank third in the kingdom.”

He calls out to his wise men “with strength” as the text states, which means he is screaming for them. There is writing on the wall. He can read it, but he obviously can’t understand what it means. Belshazzar promises them great reward even to the point of making the one who can interpret the writing third highest ruler (which implies Nabonidus is the first and he is the second).

Then all the king’s wise men came in, but they could not read the writing or tell the king the interpretation. Then King Belshazzar became greatly terrified and his face turned pale, and his lords were perplexed.

10 The queen, when she heard the discussion of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall.

This queen is hard to identify with certainty. Probably it was Belshazzar’s mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

The queen said, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts terrify you or your face grow pale. 11 There is a man in your kingdom who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods. In the days of your father he was found to have enlightenment, understanding, and wisdom like the wisdom of the gods. Your father, King Nebuchadnezzar, made him chief of the magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and diviners, 12 because an excellent spirit, knowledge, and understanding to interpret dreams, explain riddles, and solve problems were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar. Now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.”

Interesting that the queen refers to Daniel by his Hebrew, rather than his Babylonian, name. Does it indicate respect for Daniel?

The Writing on the Wall Interpreted

Dan5 mene

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king said to Daniel, “So you are Daniel, one of the exiles of Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you that a spirit of the gods is in you, and that enlightenment, understanding, and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the enchanters, have been brought in before me to read this writing and tell me its interpretation, but they were not able to give the interpretation of the matter. 16 But I have heard that you can give interpretations and solve problems. Now if you are able to read the writing and tell me its interpretation, you shall be clothed in purple, have a chain of gold around your neck, and rank third in the kingdom.”

Daniel shows no fear! He reminds Belshazzar of what he (Belshazzar) knows and then castigates him for not recognizing God’s truth which has been right in front of him.

17 Then Daniel answered in the presence of the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, or give your rewards to someone else! Nevertheless I will read the writing to the king and let him know the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave your father Nebuchadnezzar kingship, greatness, glory, and majesty. 19 And because of the greatness that he gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. He killed those he wanted to kill, kept alive those he wanted to keep alive, honored those he wanted to honor, and degraded those he wanted to degrade. 20 But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit was hardened so that he acted proudly, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and his glory was stripped from him. 21 He was driven from human society, and his mind was made like that of an animal. His dwelling was with the wild asses, he was fed grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until he learned that the Most High God has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and sets over it whomever he will. 22 And you, Belshazzar his son, have not humbled your heart, even though you knew all this! 23 You have exalted yourself against the Lord of heaven! The vessels of his temple have been brought in before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines have been drinking wine from them. You have praised the gods of silver and gold, of bronze, iron, wood, and stone, which do not see or hear or know; but the God in whose power is your very breath, and to whom belong all your ways, you have not honored.

“So from his presence the hand was sent and this writing was inscribed.
25 And this is the writing that was inscribed: mene, mene, tekel, and parsin. 26 This is the interpretation of the matter: mene, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; 27 tekel, you have been weighed on the scales and found wanting; 28 peres, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

· God had Belshazzar’s number, and it fell short.

· God weighed Belshazzar, and he came up light.

· God would therefore divide Belshazzar’s kingdom to the Medes and the Persians.

29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made concerning him that he should rank third in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, the Chaldean king, was killed. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus relates that the Persian King Cyrus conquered Babylon by diverting the flow of the Euphrates into a nearby swamp. This lowered the level of the river so his troops marched through the water and under the river-gates. They still would not have been able to enter had not the bronze gates of the inner walls been left inexplicably unlocked. This was exactly what God predicted in Isaiah 44:28-45:7 and Jeremiah 51:57-58. God opened the gates of the city of Babylon for Cyrus, and put it in writing 200 years before it happened.

  • “In October 539 bc, Cyrus advanced into lower Mesopotamia and, leaving Babylon till last, conquered and occupied the surrounding territory. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, Nabonidus of Babylon deserted his city, leaving it in the charge of his son Belshazzar . . . the taking of Babylon was as bloodless and effortless as Daniel 5 implies.” (J. Alec Motyer, in his commentary on Isaiah)
  • “Empires do not stand by human might, man-made machines and missiles. There is not a wall high enough nor thick enough to prevent a nation from falling when God pronounces that nation’s doom.” (Mark L. Strauss)

Dan5 new-yorker-cartoon_________________________

New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Larson.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan5-writing-wall.jpg
Nabonidus Cylinder.   http://www.bible.ca/psychiatry/psychiatry-mental-illness-bible-nebuchadnezzar-god-struck-insanity-sin-pride-nabonidus-cylinder-elshazzar-585bc-dan5.jpg
Rembrandt, Belshazzar’s feast.    http://www.bookwormroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Belshazzars-Feast.jpg
Handwriting on the wall.   https://www.neverthirsty.org/bible-studies/bible-book-studies-book-of-daniel/get-the-message/
Warren Miller cartoon, from The New Yorker.    http://imgc.allpostersimages.com/images/P-473-488-90/60/6058/LB6D100Z/posters/warren-miller-mene-mene-tekel-upharsin-what-kind-of-cookie-is-this-new-yorker-cartoon.jpg

2420.) Psalm 137

August 10, 2018


Psalm 137    (ESV)

How Shall We Sing the Lord‘s Song?

In 586 BCE, Judah was taken captive to Babylon. Losing their homeland and temple was a traumatic experience for the Israelites. The Babylonians added insult to injury by mockingly requesting that they sing songs of Zion as the Israelites struggled to learn to worship God in a foreign land without the benefit of the temple.

By the waters of Babylon,
    there we sat down and wept,
    when we remembered Zion.
On the willows there
    we hung up our lyres.
For there our captors
    required of us songs,
and our tormentors, mirth, saying,
    “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”

How shall we sing the Lord‘s song
    in a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
    let my right hand forget its skill!
Let my tongue stick to the roof of my mouth,
    if I do not remember you,
if I do not set Jerusalem
    above my highest joy!

“In my Babylonian moods keep the vision of Jerusalem alive in my heart and teach me new songs of praise.”

–Eugene H. Peterson, Praying with the Psalms: A Year of Daily Prayers and Reflections on the Words of David

Remember, O Lord, against the Edomites
the day of Jerusalem,
how they said, “Lay it bare, lay it bare,
down to its foundations!”
O daughter of Babylon, doomed to be destroyed,
blessed shall he be who repays you
with what you have done to us!
Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones
and dashes them against the rock!

This awful blessing is understood in light of the previous line. No doubt the singer had seen this done to the little ones of Jerusalem, and the horrible image was seared upon his mind. He prayed that the Babylonians would get as they had given.

–David Guzik

“Let those find fault with it who have never seen their temple burned, their city ruined, their wives ravished, and their children slain; they might not, perhaps, be quite so velvet-mouthed if they had suffered after this fashion.”

–Charles Haddon Spurgeon

An interesting application on v. 9 comes from the Rule of St. Benedict. He advises his monks to capture their evil thoughts, which are the conception of sin, and dash them against the rock of Christ before they can grow up.


In 1937 Stephen Vincent Benet published a post-apocalyptic short story called “By the Waters of Babylon.”  It is one of my favorites!  I could tell you a bit about it, but it is better that you just jump in and figure it out as you read!  Click  HERE  or  HERE  to read it for yourself!


“By the Waters of Babylon,” by Evelyn de Morgan (1882)


HERE  is a beautiful rendition of the opening of this psalm — Sweet Honey in the Rock sings “By the Waters of Babylon.”

And  HERE  is a  round, different but equally moving, by Don McLean (only a minute and a half).


2419.) Daniel 4

August 9, 2018
"Nebuchadnezzar" copper engraving by William Blake, 1795.

“Nebuchadnezzar” copper engraving by William Blake, 1795.

Daniel 4    (NRSV)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Second Dream

This unique chapter is the testimony of a Gentile king and how God changed his heart. 

King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages that live throughout the earth: May you have abundant prosperity! The signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me I am pleased to recount.

How great are his signs,
    how mighty his wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
    and his sovereignty is from generation to generation.

4 I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living at ease in my home and prospering in my palace.

Memo:  to the King
From:  Benjamin Franklin
Re:  Pride

“The greatest monarch on the proudest throne, is obliged to sit upon his own rear end.”

I saw a dream that frightened me; my fantasies in bed and the visions of my head terrified me. So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, in order that they might tell me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the diviners came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not tell me its interpretation. At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and who is endowed with a spirit of the holy gods—and I told him the dream: “O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, I know that you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods and that no mystery is too difficult for you. Hear the dream that I saw; tell me its interpretation.

10 Upon my bed this is what I saw;
    there was a tree at the center of the earth,
    and its height was great.
11 The tree grew great and strong,
    its top reached to heaven,
    and it was visible to the ends of the whole earth.
12 Its foliage was beautiful,
    its fruit abundant,
    and it provided food for all.
The animals of the field found shade under it,
    the birds of the air nested in its branches,
    and from it all living beings were fed.

Dream of the Great Tree. digital art by Ted Larson.

Dream of the Great Tree. digital art by Ted Larson.

The tree in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream was noted for its size, strength, prominence, beauty, fruit, and shelter.

–David Guzik (and all further comments in green)

13 “I continued looking, in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and there was a holy watcher, coming down from heaven. 14 He cried aloud and said:

‘Cut down the tree and chop off its branches,
    strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit.
Let the animals flee from beneath it
    and the birds from its branches.
15 But leave its stump and roots in the ground,
    with a band of iron and bronze,
    in the tender grass of the field.
Let him be bathed with the dew of heaven,
    and let his lot be with the animals of the field
    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.

The watcher (presumably an angel) explained the fate of the tree. He noted that the tree was to be chopped down, and it would lose its size, strength, prominence, beauty, fruit, and shelter. He also said that the tree represented a man who would be changed and given the heart of a beast.

17 The sentence is rendered by decree of the watchers,
    the decision is given by order of the holy ones,
in order that all who live may know
    that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdom of mortals;
he gives it to whom he will
    and sets over it the lowliest of human beings.’

Like most kings – ancient and modern – Nebuchadnezzar wanted to believe that he ruled instead of God or anyone else. “Both the Assyrian and the Babylonian kings thought of themselves as rulers over all the earth, so describing themselves in their inscriptions.”

–Leon Wood

18 “This is the dream that I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are unable to tell me the interpretation. You are able, however, for you are endowed with a spirit of the holy gods.”

Nebuchadnezzar heard these words in his dream. In light of this, the dream wasn’t hard to interpret – it clearly dealt with the humbling of a great king. No wonder none of Nebuchadnezzar’s counselors wanted to interpret the dream for him. But the king knew he could get an honest answer from Daniel, even when the truth was hard to bear.

Daniel Interprets the Second Dream

19 Then Daniel, who was called Belteshazzar, was severely distressed for a while. His thoughts terrified him. The king said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or the interpretation terrify you.” Belteshazzar answered, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you, and its interpretation for your enemies! 20 The tree that you saw, which grew great and strong, so that its top reached to heaven and was visible to the end of the whole earth, 21 whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and which provided food for all, under which animals of the field lived, and in whose branches the birds of the air had nests— 22 it is you, O king!

Daniel applied the point without ambiguity. Instead of reaching for a general point (such as saying, “We all could use a little more humility”) Daniel brought the truth in love. This was similar to what the prophet Nathan said to King David: You are the man! (2 Samuel 12:7).

You have grown great and strong. Your greatness has increased and reaches to heaven, and your sovereignty to the ends of the earth. 23 And whereas the king saw a holy watcher coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Cut down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the ground, with a band of iron and bronze, in the grass of the field; and let him be bathed with the dew of heaven, and let his lot be with the animals of the field, until seven times pass over him’— 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and it is a decree of the Most High that has come upon my lord the king: 25 You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the wild animals. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, you shall be bathed with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals, and gives it to whom he will. 26 As it was commanded to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be re-established for you from the time that you learn that Heaven is sovereign. 27 Therefore, O king, may my counsel be acceptable to you: atone for your sins with righteousness, and your iniquities with mercy to the oppressed, so that your prosperity may be prolonged.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Humiliation

Nebuchadnezzar's Exile. digital art by Ted Larson.

Nebuchadnezzar’s Exile. digital art by Ted Larson.

28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon, 30 and the king said, “Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?”

Babylon was truly one of the spectacular cities of the ancient world, which included the famous hanging gardens built by Nebuchadnezzar. 

In the British Museum, there are six columns of writing recovered from Babylon with describe the huge building projects of Nebuchadnezzar and his zeal to enlarge and beautify the city.

Most of the bricks found in the excavations of Babylon carry this stamp: “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, supporter of Esagila and Ezida, exalted first-born son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon.”

31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! 32 You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.” 33 Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws.

There is no corresponding record of this seven-year (seven times) period of insanity in the secular historical records of Babylon – exactly as we would expect, considering the customs of that time. Nevertheless, Abydenus, a Greek historian, wrote in 268 B.C. that Nebuchadnezzar was “possessed by some god” and that he had “immediately disappeared.” (quoted by Leon Wood)

Some dismiss this account of Nebuchadnezzar’s madness as unhistorical, but there is no historical record of his governmental activity between 582 B.C. and 575 B.C. This silence is deafening, especially when we keep in mind how Near Eastern leaders liked to egotistically trumpet their achievements – and hide their embarrassments.

Nebuchadnezzar Praises God

34 When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me.

I blessed the Most High,
    and praised and honored the one who lives forever.
For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty,
    and his kingdom endures from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
    and he does what he wills with the host of heaven
    and the inhabitants of the earth.
There is no one who can stay his hand
    or say to him, “What are you doing?”

36 At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven,

for all his works are truth,
    and his ways are justice;
and he is able to bring low
    those who walk in pride.

The abiding lesson is plain: God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). There have been many who rise from humble origins to great glory, and then fall. Perhaps it is better to have never been raised up than to rise and then fall. Most, if not all, fall through pride; and a proud look is number one on the list of God’s most hated sins (Proverbs 6:16-19).

We also see that God will glorify himself among the nations. When Nebuchadnezzar took some of the treasures of the Jerusalem temple and put them in the temples of his gods, he had reason to believe that his gods were stronger than the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. By the end of Daniel 4, Nebuchadnezzar knew which God was the true God. And when Nebuchadnezzar knew it, he wasn’t shy about telling people what he had learned — he was a true witness, giving testimony to God’s great works.



Psalm 47:6-8   (NASB)

Sing praises to God, sing praises;
Sing praises to our King, sing praises.
For God is the King of all the earth;
Sing praises with a skillful psalm.
God reigns over the nations,
God sits on His holy throne.

HERE  is “All Creatures of Our God and King,” by Fernando Ortega.


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Blake.   http://www.artbible.info/images/blake_nebuk_grt.jpg
dream of the tree.   https://shaunamanfredine.blogspot.com/2017_06_17_archive.html
Larson, Dream.  https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan4-tree.jpg
Larson, Exile.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan4-neb-field.jpg
Nebuchadnezzar with hairy legs.   https://graceuniversity.edu/iip/2015/07/daniel-41-37/

2418.) Daniel 3

August 8, 2018
Four in the Furnace. digital art by Ted Larson.

Four in the Furnace. digital art by Ted Larson.

Daniel 3   (NRSV)

The Golden Image

King Nebuchadnezzar made a golden statue whose height was sixty cubits and whose width was six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.

There is a discernible link between Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2 and the image he made in Daniel 3. It seems that Nebuchadnezzar deliberately made an entire statue of gold, to say that the day of his reign and authority would never end — in contradiction to God’s declared plan.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

Then King Nebuchadnezzar sent for the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to assemble and come to the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. So the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, assembled for the dedication of the statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up. When they were standing before the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, the herald proclaimed aloud, “You are commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, that when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, you are to fall down and worship the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire.”

The command to worship the image is a test of allegiance; the refusal is treason.

Furnaces or kilns were used in Babylon for firing bricks.  (The Reformation Bible)

Therefore, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, all the peoples, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the golden statue that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

Dan3 image

Accordingly, at this time certain Chaldeans came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble, shall fall down and worship the golden statue, 11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These pay no heed to you, O king. They do not serve your gods and they do not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”

Dan3 before the king

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought in; so they brought those men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods and you do not worship the golden statue that I have set up? 15 Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, drum, and entire musical ensemble to fall down and worship the statue that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be thrown into a furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god that will deliver you out of my hands?”

We can imagine the enormous pressure on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego to compromise. Everything in front of them — the king, the furnace, the music, their compatriots, their competitors — all of it conspired to convince them to compromise. Yet God was more real to them than any of those things.  Spurgeon wrote:  “Do not judge the situation by the king’s threat and by the heat of the burning fiery furnace, but by the everlasting God and the eternal life which awaits you. Let not flute, harp, and sackbut fascinate you, but hearken to the music of the glorified. Men frown at you, but you can see God smiling on you, and so you are not moved.”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. 17 If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.”

They did not doubt God’s ability, but neither did they presume to know God’s will.  In this they agreed with Job: Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).  They recognized that God’s plan might be different than their desires.

The Fiery Furnace

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with rage against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego that his face was distorted. He ordered the furnace heated up seven times more than was customary, 20 and ordered some of the strongest guards in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and to throw them into the furnace of blazing fire. 21 So the men were bound, still wearing their tunics, their trousers, their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the furnace of blazing fire. 22 Because the king’s command was urgent and the furnace was so overheated, the raging flames killed the men who lifted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 But the three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down, bound, into the furnace of blazing fire.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up quickly.

dan3 nebu furnace

The Septuagint says in Daniel 3:24 that Nebuchadnezzar’s attention was caught when he heard the men singing praises in the furnace. We can imagine that the king had them cast into the furnace and didn’t intend to look twice, believing they would be immediately consumed. As he walked away with a satisfied look on his face, he was immediately stopped by the sound of singing coming from the furnace. At a safe distance from the raging heat, he peered inside — and saw four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire.

 If this singing in the furnace is true, it reminds us of Paul and Silas singing in the Philippian jail (Acts 16:25).

He said to his counselors, “Was it not three men that we threw bound into the fire?” They answered the king, “True, O king.” 25 He replied, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the middle of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the fourth has the appearance of a god.” 26 Nebuchadnezzar then approached the door of the furnace of blazing fire and said, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!” So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men; the hair of their heads was not singed, their tunics were not harmed, and not even the smell of fire came from them.

John 16:33 (NRSV)

“I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!”

28 Nebuchadnezzar said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who trusted in him. They disobeyed the king’s command and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.

Romans 12:1   (NRSV)

I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that utters blasphemy against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins; for there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.



HERE  is Louis Armstrong with “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.”  It is a clip from a 1951 movie, “The Strip,” starring (a young!) Mickey Rooney.


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
Larson.   https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan3-furnace.jpg
the golden image.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan3-image.jpg
standing before the king.    https://www.pinterest.com/pin/218143175679489926/
four in the furnace.    http://www.thefinalcall.org/prophecies/deliverance_daniels-freinds.jpg

2417.) Daniel 2

August 7, 2018

Dan2 prophecy_statue

Daniel 2   (NRSV)

Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

In the second year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed such dreams that his spirit was troubled and his sleep left him. So the king commanded that the magicians, the enchanters, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans be summoned to tell the king his dreams. When they came in and stood before the king, he said to them, “I have had such a dream that my spirit is troubled by the desire to understand it.”

The Chaldeans said to the king (in Aramaic), “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will reveal the interpretation.”

From Daniel 2:4 to 7:28, the Biblical text is in Aramaic — not Hebrew. This is the only section of the Bible written in Aramaic, the language of the Babylonian Empire.

–David Guzik (and all following comments in red)

The king answered the Chaldeans, “This is a public decree: if you do not tell me both the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you do tell me the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore tell me the dream and its interpretation.”

They answered a second time, “Let the king first tell his servants the dream, then we can give its interpretation.”

The king answered, “I know with certainty that you are trying to gain time, because you see I have firmly decreed: if you do not tell me the dream, there is but one verdict for you. You have agreed to speak lying and misleading words to me until things take a turn. Therefore, tell me the dream, and I shall know that you can give me its interpretation.”

Nebuchadnezzar formulated a test to see whether the advisers to the court had access to hidden knowledge, as they claimed. If they could not tell him the dream, then he would have no confidence in their interpretation.  (The Reformation Bible)

10 The Chaldeans answered the king, “There is no one on earth who can reveal what the king demands! In fact no king, however great and powerful, has ever asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king is asking is too difficult, and no one can reveal it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with mortals.”

12 Because of this the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed.

Though he was a despot, Nebuchadnezzar knew that false religion is worse than useless. He knew that it was a curse, and he had no use for wise men that could not bring him wisdom from God.

13 The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. 14 Then Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the king’s chief executioner, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; 15 he asked Arioch, the royal official, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. 16 So Daniel went in and requested that the king give him time and he would tell the king the interpretation.

God Reveals Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream

17 Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions with the rest of the wise men of Babylon might not perish.

Dan2 praying

The battle was won when Daniel prayed with his friends.

19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel said:
“Blessed be the name of God from age to age,
    for wisdom and power are his.
21 He changes times and seasons,
    deposes kings and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
    and knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what is in the darkness,
    and light dwells with him.
23 To you, O God of my ancestors,
    I give thanks and praise,
for you have given me wisdom and power,
    and have now revealed to me what we asked of you,
    for you have revealed to us what the king ordered.”

Daniel Interprets the Dream

24 Therefore Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will give the king the interpretation.”

25 Then Arioch quickly brought Daniel before the king and said to him: “I have found among the exiles from Judah a man who can tell the king the interpretation.”

26 The king said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to tell me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?”

27 Daniel answered the king, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or diviners can show to the king the mystery that the king is asking, 28 but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has disclosed to King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen at the end of days.

Just as Joseph had done in Egypt (Genesis 40:8; 41:16), so also Daniel attributes his knowledge of the dream to God. Daniel’s God revealed to this young man what astrology, magic, and the occult could not discover.   (The Reformation Bible)

Your dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed were these: 29 To you, O king, as you lay in bed, came thoughts of what would be hereafter, and the revealer of mysteries disclosed to you what is to be. 30 But as for me, this mystery has not been revealed to me because of any wisdom that I have more than any other living being, but in order that the interpretation may be known to the king and that you may understand the thoughts of your mind.

31 “You were looking, O king, and lo! there was a great statue. This statue was huge, its brilliance extraordinary; it was standing before you, and its appearance was frightening. 32 The head of that statue was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its middle and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 As you looked on, a stone was cut out, not by human hands, and it struck the statue on its feet of iron and clay and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold, were all broken in pieces and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, so that not a trace of them could be found. But the stone that struck the statue became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.

There is a progressive decrease in the value of the materials in the image from the head to the feet. 

Daniel first accurately reported the content of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. This gave Daniel credibility when explaining what the dream meant: the interpretation.

36 “This was the dream; now we will tell the king its interpretation.

Gold, silver, bronze, iron — The four kingdoms have been widely understood since Josephus (1st century A.D.) to be the empires of Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.  (The Reformation Bible)

37 You, O king, the king of kings—to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the might, and the glory, 38 into whose hand he has given human beings, wherever they live, the wild animals of the field, and the birds of the air, and whom he has established as ruler over them all—you are the head of gold. 39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to yours, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over the whole earth. 40 And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron; just as iron crushes and smashes everything, it shall crush and shatter all these. 41 As you saw the feet and toes partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom; but some of the strength of iron shall be in it, as you saw the iron mixed with the clay. 42 As the toes of the feet were part iron and part clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. 43 As you saw the iron mixed with clay, so will they mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. 44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed,

Isaiah 9:7   (NRSV)

His authority shall grow continually,
    and there shall be endless peace
for the throne of David and his kingdom.
    He will establish and uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time onward and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

Revelation 11:15   (NRSV)

Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying,

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord
    and of his Christ,
and he will reign forever and ever.”

nor shall this kingdom be left to another people. It shall crush all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever; 45 just as you saw that a stone was cut from the mountain not by hands, and that it crushed the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. The dream is certain, and its interpretation trustworthy.”

You can find all sorts of explanations for what is meant by the iron and clay portion of the image:  Was it the Holy Roman Empire? Is it Europe? Which nations are represented by the ten toes of the statue? Where does the Rapture fit in? The Anti-Christ? BREXIT? Etc. Sorting out these interpretations is way beyond me, so I leave that research to you, if you are so inclined.

Daniel and His Friends Promoted

46 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face, worshiped Daniel, and commanded that a grain offering and incense be offered to him. 47 The king said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery!” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel, gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court.

O God of every nation,
of every race and land,
redeem the whole creation
with your almighty hand.
Where hate and fear divide us
and bitter threats are hurled,
in love and mercy guide us,
and heal our strife-torn world.

From search for wealth and power
and scorn of truth and right,
from trust in bombs that shower
destruction through the night,
from pride of race and nation
and blindness to your way,
deliver every nation,
eternal God, we pray!

Lord, strengthen all who labor
that we may find release
from fear of rattling saber,
from dread of war’s increase.
When hope and courage falter,
Lord, let your voice be heard;
with faith that none can alter,
your servants undergird.

Keep bright in us the vision
of days when war shall cease,
when hatred and division
give way to love and peace,
till dawns the morning glorious
when truth and justice reign,
and Christ shall rule victorious
o’er all the world’s domain.



HERE  is “God of All Nations”  by the Newsboys.  Lord, be glorified, as every nation lifts You high!


New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)   New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Images courtesy of:
statue from the king’s dream.   http://www.thefinalcall.org/prophecies/prophecy_statue.jpg
men praying together.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/dan2-praying.jpg
Daniel interprets the dream.    https://i.pinimg.com/originals/c1/78/2b/c1782bd824c05fbdbd5b252dcbd3f7bc.jpg
God can.    http://image.spreadshirt.com/image-server/v1/designs/3532746,width=178,height=178/God-Can.png
Nebuchadnezzar’s dream.    http://www.bwmministries.com/CommentariesContinued/NebuchadnezzarsDream1003.jpg
Nebuchadnezzar’s statue.   https://falseprophetsexposed.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/ca151be4977d6ad7929e5f911892963d.jpg