Friday, February 12, 2010

Tribulation Parallel in Daniel 4

Just recently doing some study in the book of Daniel and a passage stood out to me like a sore thumb. The passage was Daniel 4:28-36. This passage deals with king Nebuchadnezzar's second dream which was about a great tree that is cut down. I put a blog entry about the details of that dream in another post. That blog entry deals with the subject of pride. So, make sure you check it out if you are struggling with pride and humility.

What is so interesting about the passage is it holds a view of God's sovereignty and parallels an image of time to that of the tribulation. First, under the subject of God's sovereignty, this passage illustrates that God gives to whomever He will, whatever He desires. God removed king Nebuchadnezzar from his position as king and allowed him to graze in the fields like an ox because of his prideful position.

King Nebuchadnezzar was king of the Babylonians which included the Chaldeans. These people were ruthless people. They took what they wanted, when they wanted it, and used it however they wanted to. They were an evil people overall. But if we recollect the Biblical account, we see that the Babylonians had overtaken the Jewish people and their land. It was Habakkuk that cried out to God asking why He would let a more evil people such as the Chaldeans overtake His chosen people. You can see the account in Habakkuk 1:2-11. The Jews had refused to repent and obey the Lord, so (as Jeremiah had warned) the Babylonian army came in 606–586 B.C. and conquered the land. We can learn an important truth from this. You see, just because you think you are better than someone else doesn't mean you have it all together and within the blessings of God. God's standard is the only standard you can be measured by.

The other area that stands out concerning this passage is the picture of what will happen to the nations in the latter days. The nations will be boasting of their greatness and glory (sound familiar?) and then God will send seven years of horrible judgment upon them. At the end of the seven year period, Christ will return to earth to establish His kingdom. Those that have trusted Him will enter into it; the others will be cast out. Like Nebuchadnezzar, the believers will be converted from their pride and unbelief and will enjoy the blessing of God.

This is not necessarily a passage predicting the tribulation but definitely gives us a picture of the confusion and chaos that will accompany it.

Be prepared!

Boanthropy - The result of pride?

Have you ever heard of the word boanthropy? I had not heard of this word until I was doing some study in Daniel chapter 4. The condition that king Nebuchadnezzar experienced was something similar to a condition known as boanthropy. The un-technical definition of this term is to think and act as an ox. Have you ever experienced it?

King Nebuchadnezzar experienced his second dream in Daniel chapter 4. In this dream he saw a great tree that was tall, strong, and beneficial to all who were around it. A "watcher" then appeared and ordered the tree to be cut down. The stump and the roots were to be protected but the individual whom it represented would have a mind and heart as that of a beast. As a result he would graze in the fields for a period of time.

The king not knowing what this meant summoned the wise men to interpret the dream. However, they could not give the king the meaning. Daniel then was given the opportunity to give the king the interpretation and he told the king that the tree was the king himself. The Holy One would then remove him from power and give him the heart of a beast and he would be removed from his throne and graze in the fields with the other wild animals. At the end of the interpretation, Daniel tells the king "break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity". [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).]

Daniel essentially told the king that if he did not shape up and acknowledge the true reason the king had been given power then he would suffer the consequences. The king seemed to heed Daniel's words for a period of time. However, one year later the king spoke words that were driven by the pride in his heart. He said "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?" [The New King James Version. (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982).] This was a picture of pride. He obviously forgot the words of Daniel, just like Adam and Eve forgot the words of God in Genesis.

Pride is a terrible thing. In the case of the king it resulted in immediate expulsion from the throne and he thought himself an animal, grazing in the fields. Why is pride such a big deal? It is because it is a sin. Look at these verses dealing with the subject:

Proverbs 6:16-20

These six things the LORD hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.

Proverbs 16:18-19
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before a fall.
Better to be of a humble spirit with the lowly,
Than to divide the spoil with the proud.

Obviously God does not like pride, especially when He is the reason behind everything you have. When we point our success to our own hands and not to God's blessing then we take on an element of pride. God made king Nebuchadnezzar graze with the wild animals for that very reason; however, he was restored when he lifted up his head to heaven and acknowledged and praised God the Father. This is a great example of placing God where he ought to be in our lives.

So the next time pride gets in the way consider the taste of pond water and grass.

In Christ,