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Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Friday, January 08, 2010

Gleanings from Daniel [4]

The God of Dreams (Daniel 2:1-23)

Daniel and his three friends had been taken captive by the Babylonians and removed from Israel to Babylon. Once they arrived, they were selected to be trained as Chaldean wisemen so as to serve in the court of Nebuchadnezzar.

In a way, God was preparing a means by which He could protect His people who were to go into full captivity in 586 B.C. by placing Daniel and his friends in such a high level governmental position. God blessed their studies and as a result, Daniel and His friends were providentially placed where they could bring glory to the most High God.

In chapter 2, we see how God places Himself on display before one of the most powerful men on the planet at that time. Daniel is raised up to be the mouth piece on behalf of God to Neb. He obtains this position through the means of a dream.

- The Dream (vs. 1)

During the 2nd year of Neb's. reign he had a troubling dream.

[As an aside, the question is asked, "Wouldn't Daniel and his friends still be in training at this time?" According to 1:5, they were to receive three years of training. Also, the end of the first chapter has Daniel and his friends already in position. Quite possibly, this 2nd year of Neb's. rule was really his third. The Babylonians didn't necessarily count the first year of a kings reign for it was his succession year. Thus, this dream took place sometime shortly after Daniel was appointed to his new position after his three years of training.]

The dream was so horrific for Neb., the text states that his soul was struck. The idea being like striking something with a hammer. In other words, extremely upset by the dream he had, so much so his sleep left him and he was up.

- The futility of pagan interpreters (2-4)

Neb. was so troubled by this dream (more than likely because he recognized it as being more than "just a dream"). that he summons his wisemen.

Magicians, what would be his fortune tellers.
Astrologers, the Chaldean class who specialized in studying destinies by considering the stars and planets. Interestingly, their studies are valuable for chronological research.
Sorcerers, men who consulted the dead or the members of the afterlife.

Neb. tells them to interpret for him the dream. All of them said they would if Neb. told them the dream. It is at this point that the text of Daniel shifts from Hebrew to Aramaic, the main language of the world at that time. When the Chaldeans "spoke to the king in Aramaic," the remainder of Daniel's book up to the end of chapter 7 is all in Aramaic. Again, I believe God intended this for a reason: to be a message read by all people of His sovereign rule over all nations of the earth.

- His Demand (5-11)

Instead of him telling them the dream, Neb. wanted THEM to give him both the dream and the interpretation! There is question, due to the KJV translation "the thing has gone away from me," as to whether or not he demanded such a ridiculous request because he had forgotten the dream. But the phrase is better understood as meaning, "This is what I have decided." In other words, he remembered the dream quite vividly, but was going to make sure his wisemen weren't going to give him some snow job as to what it meant. To know the REAL interpretation, the wisemen would have to give him the REAL dream without prior knowledge.

They keep pestering Neb. to give them the dream, but he threatened the death penalty. If they would not comply with is demand he would cut them and their families into pieces, tear down their houses, and make them a "dung hill," or what is basically a public toilet. As we will see later with Neb. and his irrational behavior, this was no idle threat.

Note their response, which reveals the futility of their religious beliefs.

- There is no man on earth who can do what the king asks.
- No king had ever asked such things of the magicians before this time.
- Only the gods can reveal such a thing, and they don't live among men. Meaning, they don't reveal secrets to men.

Neb. is only angered by their response and he orders the immediate execution of all the wisemen, including Daniel and his three friends who are apparently unaware of the situation.

- God's Man Daniel (12-28)

Neb. was furious and wanted them destroyed. The guards - literally, means "slayers," which means that Arioch was probably the chief executioner. They began gathering the wisemen to be executed, in fact the language suggests some of them had already been killed when they reached Daniel. Recognizing the need to act wisely and quickly, Daniel went into Neb. and asked for some time to make the interpretation known. That means Daniel is taking a major step of faith in God.

He then returned to his friends and together they prayed to God, beseeching Him not to allow them to be slain with the other wisemen. In a night vision, God revealed to Daniel Neb's. dream. That stirs up praise on Daniel's part as he acknowledges God's attributes:

* All wisdom and power belong to God. He is the one who directs human events, the times, and the events.
* He is the one who is sovereign. He sets up kings and rulers and takes them down.
* He has all wisdom and knowledge. He knows all things and is the only source of divine revelation.
* He knows the deep, hidden things. Meaning, the thoughts of a person only known to that person. The things that are in the heart and mind of Neb. he alone knows.

Then, Daniel goes boldly to Neb. and announces to him to not destroy the wisemen.

The king asks him if he is able to make known to him the dream and the interpretation, and I love Daniel's response. He tells him NO.

He goes on, however, to say there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets and He can make it known. The Babylonian gods are impotent, because they don't exist. But the true God of heaven knows all.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Truth Unites... and Divides said...

Hi Fred,

If you want, please delete this comment after you see it. Because it is off-topic.

I just wanted you to see this post and its comment thread and obtain your evaluation:

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2010/01/can-homosexuals-be-christian/

It's titled "Can Homosexuals Be Christians?"

11:41 PM, January 07, 2010  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Thanks for the link. I may say something about it later. Next time, remember the email is linked in the profile page. That is why profile pages exist. They're handy that way. =-)

5:54 AM, January 08, 2010  

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