Chris Papazis

Home » Bible Study » Session VII: Answering the Two Questions; Daniel, Chapter 4

Session VII: Answering the Two Questions; Daniel, Chapter 4


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Answering the Two Questions

Good evening! Welcome to FUEL – RockChurch’s midweek Bible study where we are taking very seriously God’s command found in Colossians 3:16, where through the Apostle Paul, He tells us to let the Word of Christ Dwell in us richly. We’ve learned that we are to receive with meekness the implanted word and when we let the Word get deep inside of us and we mix it with faith, we begin to see that it produces good, godly fruit  in our lives. We continue to be transformed day by day into the image of Christ. More love, more power, more of God in our lives.

And that’s a tall order. We live in a world that has the tendency to suck life out of us – Not put life into us. The day to day challenges and all the negatives and struggles that come our way can leave us feeling empty and hopeless sometimes.

But God says to his children, this does not have to be our story. He’s given us everything we need for life and godliness in His Word, through Christ Jesus, and so we’ve established Thursday nights as a major opportunity to fill up. Tonight our church is like a gas station. And we get to be like Mary, in the gospel of John, who amongst all the busyness and cares of this life took the time to sit at the feet of Jesus and receive the Word. Everybody say “The Word” Jesus is the Word made flesh, and so on Thursday nights we’ve been taking the time to just sit and soak in all God is saying to us, and as we do we are receiving Fuel to continue to power through, day after day, week by week – to live this life that God has so graciously given to us. Sometimes the FUEL is there for us to power through obstacles. Sometimes the FUEL gives us strength to endure the trials we are currently go through. Sometimes survival is the victory, amen?  – but the bottom line is we’re discovering, there is life, strength, wisdom, and anything else we need in the Word, because it’s not man’s Word. It’s the Word of God given to us as a gift and a love letter from our infinitely powerful, and infinitely loving God

And the portion of the love letter that we’ve been putting in at since early December is the book of Daniel. We’ve been digging into some of the richest, meatiest truth we can imagine. We’ve been through the first three chapters and as we have been doing so, we’ve been seeing several themes beginning to emerge. There have been many many take aways so far, but there are several themes that God seems to be accentuating in this book. The first thing is the main theme of the entire book. It’s the theme that states that God is in control. No matter how hard it has gotten for these 4 Jewish boys in captivity. No matter how the deck seemed to be stacked against them God has shown that He is in control. He has shown the most powerful man in the world at the time, King Nebuchadnezzar, that he is in control. He is not only in control in Babylon, He is in control of all human history.

That’s the major theme of the book, but the secondary theme. One I would almost call a twin theme is that you can’t go wrong choosing God. When you live, to the best of your ability, according to his ways, and you take the appropriate stands at the appropriate times, in the appropriate way, you are putting yourself in a wonderful position. By choosing to live for God you can expect him to be present and moving in your circumstances. Even when it seems like he’s not moving or not going to do anything. We saw the last time Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah – AKA Shadrach, Meschach, and Abendnego ready to do the right thing just because it’s right. That’s where the victory is. When you’re hoping for a good outcome, but regardless of the outcome you do something because it’s the right thing to do. And these guys told the King, God can save us but even if he doesn’t we’re going to do the right thing by him. We’re not going to bow to your image – we are not going to serve your God. We’ve seen these two major themes – 1. God is in control and 2. The benefits of staying faithful to God even when it’s hard played out several times already and we’ll see them again before the book is finished.

And we’ve seen a third theme, which we’ve found to be very cool and that’s the fact that God is interested in giving us insight into the future. God actually wants his people to have some details about the way everything is going to play out. When we see turmoil and chaos in our world, he doesn’t want it to take us by surprise, but he wants us to be strengthened by the knowledge that it’s going to be okay – and also, that he wants us to partner with him, even though things are in chaos, so that we can help as many people as possible. Amen?

So it’s been a great journey so far and it’s going to continue tonight. Everybody say tonight.

Tonight we’re going to finish up some unfinished business from last time by taking a look at the two questions we were keeping in the back of our mind as we went through chapter 3,

1.       Where was Daniel in chapter 3

2.       What in the New Testament does this remind you of?

Then, when we finish addressing that, we’ll begin digging into another remarkable part of this book. Chapter 4, where we will see it’s not Daniel who writes this chapter, but it’s actually King Nebuchadnezzar who writes it. Did you know that King Nebuchadnezzar is one of the authors of the Bible and many Bible teachers believe that based on his story in chapter 4, that we will see him in heaven? They believe in chapter 4 that we witness this king who has been surrounded by evil advisers and has been an instrument of evil himself, they believe we see his conversion story here. You can make up your own mind about it, but it’s extremely fascinating.

Okay, let’s tackle the two questions first by going over some of the facts from chapter 3

1.       King Nebuchadnezzar, the global dictator of the time, has an image of himself created

2.       He commands his government officials, with representatives from all the various parts of the world, to worship the image

3.       Anybody who refuses to worship is executed

4.       The 3 Jewish men refuse and face execution

5.       God himself helps them endure the fiery furnace

6.       Daniel is nowhere to be seen

Now, let’s go ahead and look at Revelation, chapter 13. Remember we said that the New Testament is in the Old Testament concealed, and the Old Testament is in the New Testament revealed. Take a look at this and see what you think. Also, what’s really cool is that we are actually going to come back here and do an in-depth interpretation of this chapter when we hit chapter 7 so this will actually help with familiarization for when we get to that session, but for now, we are going to lift some main facts from it.
Revelation 13, starting at verse 1. John is continuing to describe to us the amazing things that Jesus is showing to him. He says:

And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, with ten diadems on its horns and blasphemous names on its heads. 2 And the beast that I saw was like a leopard; its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And to it the dragon gave his power and his throne and great authority. (John is seeing and describing the rise of the antichrist. Like I said, we’ll prove that out when we do Daniel 7. Continuing in verse 3, it reads) 3 One of its heads seemed to have a mortal wound, but its mortal wound was healed, and the whole earth marveled as they followed the beast. 4 And they worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”

5 And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. 6 It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. 7 Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them. And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, 8 and all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain. 9 If anyone has an ear, let him hear:

10 If anyone is to be taken captive,
to captivity he goes;
if anyone is to be slain with the sword,
with the sword must he be slain.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

11 Then I saw another beast rising out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast in its presence, and makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose mortal wound was healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in front of people, 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. 15 And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain.

Now, let’s take each one of the facts from Chapter 3, and overlay them with the facts here in Revelation 13, and let’s see if there is a picture emerging, and let’s see if God is showing us something

1.       King Nebuchadnezzar, the global dictator of the time, has an image of himself created

Antichrist is the global dictator during the tribulation. Through his false prophet, he has an image of himself created

2.       Nebuchadnezzar commands his government officials, with representatives from all the various parts of the world, to worship the image

Antichrist, again through his false prophet, commands universal worship of himself (The power behind Nebuchadnezzar’s command was satanic, as too the antichrist’s will be.)

3.       Anybody who refuses to worship Nebuchadnezzar’s image is executed

Anybody who refuses to worship antichrist’s image is executed

4.       The 3 Jewish men refuse and face execution

144,000 Jews and the faithful remnant refuse to worship the antichrist’s image and face execution or live under extreme persecution, having to go 100% underground

5.       God himself helps them endure the fiery furnace

The fiery furnace – fire represents trouble, judgment, tribulation. The fiery furnace represents the Great Tribulation. These people that refuse to worship will go through the fiery furnace of the Great Tribulation, but the fourth man in the fire, Jesus himself will be with them.  Whether they die or live during this period, they have Jesus and he is with them. And carries them through

6.       Daniel is nowhere to be seen

Now, this last fact can be troublesome. This last fact could be hard to correlate with Revelation 13… unless….Daniel represents the Church. There are many people who love and serve Jesus who believe the Church will be going through the Great Tribulation. There are also a great many people who love and serve Jesus who believe we are not going through the Tribulation. They believe in what is called, if you’re not familiar with this, the Pre-Trib rapture. At RockChurch we believe in the Pre-Trib rapture. We believe the evidence of Scripture shows that Jesus will come for his Bride before the tribulation happens and take us out of this earth. Because the Tribulation shows the wrath of God being poured out on the earth, and because the Bible says the Church is no longer under the wrath of God, we won’t be here. That’s what we believe here and RockChurch, but I want to say it’s not something that we would argue about. It’s not one of the key essentials of the faith and if you believe we are going through the Tribulation, that shouldn’t be a point of division, amen. The bottom line is there is good teaching on both views, we just happen to fall on the side that says we are out of here.

Now, with that in mind, where’s Daniel?

When we look at Daniel chapter 10 we see Daniel is called, “Daniel, a man greatly loved” Interesting title. What’s another name for the Church – Jesus’ Beloved”

Could it be, that the Holy Spirit, who has given us this amazing picture in Daniel that we can clearly see maps to the time of the end and of the Antichrist. Could it be, that by purposely keeping Daniel out of the story he is giving us a clue that there will be a group of people – those greatly loved, or God’s beloved, that will be absent during this worst time in human history? Good stuff to ponder! Amen?

Alright, I didn’t want to move forward into chapter 4 until we tied up that loose end. Let’s keep digging into this book. Turn if you would back to Daniel, chapter 4, verses 1-3
Scripture

King Nebuchadnezzar to all peoples, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you! 2 It has seemed good to me to show the signs and wonders that the Most High God has done for me.

3 How great are his signs,

how mighty his wonders!

His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,

and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

1.    Letter from King Nebuchadnezzar to the entire world, or at least his entire kingdom

2.    Traditional greeting – Peace be multiplied to you

a.     Reminiscent of Paul’s greetings in the New Testament

3.    Purpose of the letter – show the signs and wonders that God did for him. He feels it’s his responsibility to tell somebody about it

4.    Bursts out in praise as soon as he gets ready to start.

5.    Reminiscent of Paul again. He’ll begin to talk about something but as he does it seems praise and love for God is so full in his heart that he bursts into praise and thanksgiving.

6.    Praise and thanksgiving should be the posture of the believer

Scripture 4:4-7

4  I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at ease in my house and prospering in my palace. 5 I saw a dream that made me afraid. As I lay in bed the fancies and the visions of my head alarmed me. 6 So I made a decree that all the wise men of Babylon should be brought before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. 7 Then the magicians, the enchanters, the Chaldeans, and the astrologers came in, and I told them the dream, but they could not make known to me its interpretation.

1.     Things were going well – He’s at ease and prospering

a.     Sometimes, when everything is going well, that’s when we need to be the most alert. When we’re going through a trial, we are usually more sensitive to God’s voice. God, what’s going on? But when things are good, we have the propensity to get comfortable

2.    God is always available for guidance and is always seeking to speak to us so we don’t veer off track

a.     Asked Adam “Where are you” So Adam could ask himself, where am I? Great question we can ask ourselves – be cognizant – be sensitive to God’s voice. One of his names his Jehovah Rohe – The Lord our Shepherd

3.    God speaks to Nebuchadnezzar, as he did in the past through dreams. The dream makes him afraid. He says these dreams and visions alarmed him and that gets his attention

4.    He has a process that he follows – we remember from chapter 2, he’s got this process where he calls in his wise men – most of which are occult advisors. They are magicians, enchanters, Chaldeans, and astrologer. The question for us is, where do we get our guidance from? What informs our decision making? It’s more than not just going to a psychic, or reading your horoscope. These things, Scripture shows, opens a door to let satanic forces mess with you. But it’s more than that. What beliefs do we hold from popular culture that oppose the Word of God? Again, it all comes back to the Word. The more time we spend with God in his Word, the more discernment we’ll have when the world tries to sell us lies. One of my favorite sayings – We know a line is crooked, because we know what’s straight. When somebody says something that is well said, and eloquent but opposes the Word of God, we can very quickly reject it and not take it to heart. Amen?

5.    Nebuchadnezzar tells them the dream and they can’t interpret it

Scripture: 4:8-17

8 At last Daniel came in before me—he who was named Belteshazzar after the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods—and I told him the dream, saying, 9 “O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. 10 The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. 11 The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. 12 Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

13 “I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. 14 He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. 15 But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. 16 Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. 17 The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ 18 This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.”

1.    Advisers of the occult cannot interpret but now Daniel comes in

2.    You can tell Nebuchadnezzar has genuine affection for Daniel. He has distinguished himself as being the real deal, so the king is eager to hear what he has to say

3.    He knows Daniel is different – his explanation is that the spirit of the holy gods are in him. He doesn’t have a full understanding of why Daniel is different, but he knows that the God Daniel serves is holy. When we are living for God, people might not understand it, but hopefully they can begin to see a picture of the good, loving God we serve. Amen?

4.    Notice Daniel’s prestigious position – Chief of the magicians. Daniel is the big dog – the Bible says exaltation comes not from the east or the west or the south, but from God. The principle we’ll see over and over again is that standing with God and doing things God’s way leads to promotion. Yes, it may be challenging. It may sometimes put you under scrutiny, but at the end of the day, following God’s ways distinguishes us from the crowd in a positive way. That’s why Christians should be the best employees.

5.    Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

a.     A very tall tree in the midst of the earth

b.    Grows, becomes strong, reaches to heaven, visible to the whole earth (It’s global)

c.     Leaves beautiful; fruit abundant

d.    Beasts found shade under it (represents protection)

e.     Birds lived in its branches and all flesh was fed from it (provision)

f.       A watcher comes down (this is an angel; holy one)

i.      Issues a proclamation

1.    Chop down the tree but leave the stump

ii.      Then we see that the tree is a man

1.    Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass. Let his mind be changed

2.    We see that he is literally going to lose his mind. He’s going to be given the mind of a beast. He’s basically going to be like  a wild animal. This is going to be for 7 periods of time – 7 years

g.     Purpose – that the living will know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men

h.    King Nebuchadnezzar has full confidence in Daniel

Scripture – 4:19

19 Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies!

1.    God gives Daniel the interpretation on the spot! And Daniel’s reaction. It says he is dismayed for a while. His thoughts alarmed him. Daniel is having a bad reaction to this interpretation. He is being affected by it in a negative manner and it’s because the interpretation has to do with somebody that Daniel has affection for. It’s about the king!

2.    The king sees Daniel and he knows he’s having a bad reaction so he encourages him by telling him to go ahead and tell him

3.    And Daniel shows that he has genuine affection for the king because he starts his interpretation by saying – “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! And then he begins to lay it out. It’s all about the King… and it’s not good.

Build up yourselves in your most holy faith. I hope this teaching tonight is adding to everything else God shows you in that you can have full confidence in His Word.  
Fuel Bible Study

FUEL meets every Thursday at 6:30 @ Rockchurch
Located at 1081 Upper Spring Bay Rd. East Peoria, IL 


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