Daniel 4

atpollard

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Daniel Explains the Second Dream

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.”
Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!

20 “The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, 21 whose leaves werelovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home— 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.

23 “And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.

26 “And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules. 27 Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to thepoor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s Humiliation

28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.

It has been suggested that Daniel 4:27 is a verse about God blessing people for giving alms to the poor and it has even been suggested that almsgiving will remove sin (with this verse sited as an example). So let’s read the verse in context and see what Daniel really wrote and what God actually had to say. Does Daniel teach charity as a means to forgiving sin? I think not.

Prior to verse 19, the king received a vision in a dream and called on Daniel to interpret it. From 19 to 26 we have Daniel presenting an interpretation outlining a prophetic curse upon the king. Then we pick up at the critical verse 27.

Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to thepoor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.

First observation: THEREFORE. It is not a general admonition to the people from God, this is a specific message from Daniel to the king delivered because of a specific reason … because of what has come before the “THEREFORE”. In this case, what follows is advice for anyone that God has provided with the specific prophecy that Daniel has just delivered. So if God gives you the dream that God gave the king, then the THEREFORE of Daniel 4:27 is meant for you. If the prophecy does not apply to you, then the THEREFORE in response to that prophecy does not apply to you either.

Second observation: “let my advice”. This is advice to the king in response to the prophecy. Just like the THEREFORE predicted. Advice to the king to avoid a curse is not a universal command of God to all men. That should not require too much thinking to understand the difference.

So what is this advice:
  1. “Break off your sins” ... that means “stop sinning”. That is good general advice for anyone and both the OT and NT canon would agree. However, “stop sinning” is very different advice than “make a large charitable donation so that God will forgive your sins”.
  2. ”by” … what follows is explicit advice about HOW the king can stop sinning. It would seem that the king was sinning by doing the opposite of what Daniel is telling him to do.
  3. ”being righteous” … the way to break off your “sins” is by “being righteous”. Note the word for “sin” here comes from a root meaning “to miss the mark” and the word for “righteous” comes from “doing or being morally right”.
  4. ”and your iniquities” … the king had both “sins” (missing the mark) and “iniquities”. The word for “iniquities” comes from a word meaning “perversity” with a root meaning of “bent or twisted”. The king was not only “missing the mark” (not being good), he was “bent, twisted or perverse” (doing evil).
  5. ”by showing mercy to the poor” … Daniel lists “showing mercy to the poor” as the cure for the kings “iniquity” (bent, twisted, perversity).
  6. Thus the advice to the king is to STOP avoiding doing right (like honoring God) and STOP abusing the poor but rather show mercy to the poor.
Nothing here about amnesty for almsgiving. Everything here is about repenting (turning from) evil and seeking righteousness (found only in God) and doing good. This is the message of the GOSPEL.

From verses 28 to 33, we catch a glimpse of the heart of the king as he rejects the advice of Daniel and continues on his course. A believer in the Doctrines of Grace might point to this as yet another example of natural man being incapable of accepting the GOSPEL in his own power. Only when God intervenes and restores his mind can fallen man finally truly acknowledge God as his God. Of course, nobody would ever believe something like that. Everyone knows that God is depending on men to help save themselves … right?

Just ask Nebuchadnezzar. ;)
 

Andrew

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Cool!

Now that we all agree that this particular case of a kings dream being interpreted by a prophet of God was a personal matter concerning the judgment of the kings very deeds (or lack thereof) by virtue of whether or not he had (and apparently not) repented his sin before God.. let us now see if we can find anything in the Bible that is similar yet likewise as personal to those who have ears to hear.. namely us New Testament Christians who are called to repentance, concerning our place of judgment among the world.

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal"
Matthew 25:31-46
 
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atpollard

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@Andrew
Why is it that no matter WHAT verse is being discussed in any topic, you want to refocus the discussion on another verse in another book?

Is Daniel 4 not worth discussing?
Do you have some OTHER agenda?

(No thank you. I pass on jumping over to Matthew 25, however feel free to exegete Matthew 25 in another topic and perhaps others might be interested in discussing it. I came to this topic to discuss Daniel 4 … hence the name: “Daniel 4”.)
 

Andrew

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@Andrew
Why is it that no matter WHAT verse is being discussed in any topic, you want to refocus the discussion on another verse in another book?

Is Daniel 4 not worth discussing?
Do you have some OTHER agenda?

(No thank you. I pass on jumping over to Matthew 25, however feel free to exegete Matthew 25 in another topic and perhaps others might be interested in discussing it. I came to this topic to discuss Daniel 4 … hence the name: “Daniel 4”.)
I'm not going to play dumb with you, I know what this thread is in regards to and no, I don't have a habit of derailing topics.
 

NathanH83

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I'm not going to play dumb with you, I know what this thread is in regards to and no, I don't have a habit of derailing topics.

We all know
 

atpollard

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This thread was created because all of the quotes from Daniel 4 kept REFUSING to address what Daniel 4 was actually talking about. Somebody needed to tell the truth about Daniel 4.

It was not about supporting the ”trade alms for sins” message of Tobit that some wanted to read into it.
Clearly, nobody actually cares about Daniel 4 (based on the responses here), so the previous quotes from it were all just a pretext.
 
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NathanH83

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This thread was created because all of the quotes from Daniel 4 kept REFUSING to address what Daniel 4 was actually talking about. Somebody needed to tell the truth about Daniel 4.

It was not about supporting the ”trade alms for sins” message of Tobit that some wanted to read into it.
Clearly, nobody actually cares about Daniel 4 (based on the responses here), so the previous quotes from it were all just a pretext.

Of course Daniel isn’t saying that. And neither is Tobit.
 
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