Current Message - King Nebuchadrezzar 11/22/08 through 1/03/09
TKC Ministries - Leon Hagins
King Nebuchadrezzar is one of many interesting characters found in the bible. His name is listed 60 times in the bible within 5 books. 2Kings., Ezra, Esther, Jeremiah, Daniel. First we’ll look at some historical facts about this great king, then we will dive into the bible and review the biblical facts concerning this Babylonian leader.
The following information was obtained from the book “Who’s Who in the Bible” published by :Reader’s Digest.
For 43 years (605-562 B.C.) the Middle East was dominated by a Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) King named Nebuchadnezzar (neb uh kuhd nez’ uhr ). He was the eldest son of his father, Nabopolassar, who founded the empire.
Prior to becoming king, in 605, Prince Nebuchadrezzar led the Babylonian army to a victory over Egypt. The victory established Babylonian power throughout Syria and Palestine.
When his father died, Nebuchadrezzar hurried home to lay claim to the throne. Afterwards he almost immediately returned to war. From June to December of 604, he marched into Palestine, reduced King Jehoiakim of Judah to vassal status, attacked Philistia, and totally destroyed Ashkelon. Over the next 20 years Nebuchadnezzar was repeatedly involved in campaigns to solidify the Babylonian expansion into Syria and Palestine and to keep Egypt at bay.
In December 601, Nebuchadrezzar tried to conquer Egypt itself but was stopped by “Pharaoh Neco”. Both sides suffered heavy losses.
For the next two years Nebuchadrezzar rebuilt his army and expanded into Arabia. During this time King Jehoiakim foolishly rebelled against Babylon, with the hopes of gaining support from Egypt.
Nebuchadrezzar waited a year to put down the rebels, and in December 598 he marched against Jerusalem. This same month, King Jehoiakim died, possibly by assassination. His eighteen year old heir Jehoiachin reigned only three months before surrendering to Nebuchadrezzar. The book of Jeremiah records that Nebuchadrezzar deported 3023 Jews to Babylon (Jer. 52:28) This is sometimes called the Babylonian exile. The captives included Jehoiakim and most of the aristocracy of Jerusalem. Babylonian chronicles record that Nebuchadrezzar, after capturing Jerusalem, appointed it a new king named Zedekiah, Jehoiachin’s uncle.
During the following years Nebuchadrezzar was engaged in various parts of the empire. In Elam, Tyre and Syria. Meanwhile Jerusalem became a hotbed of rebellion. Also there were optimistic prophets who claimed God was about to break the yoke of Babylon. However there was one prophet named Jeremiah who warned that rebellion against Nebuchadrezzar would bring disaster, he was considered a traitor.
When Zedekiah led Judah into open rebellion, Nebuchadrezzar blockaded Jerusalem for a two year siege. At the end of this bitter war in July 587, the Babylonian forces flattened Jerusalem’s walls, stripped the temple of all it’s valuables and burnt it to the ground, set the city afire, and deported 832 more prominent citizens. In his own land Nebuchadrezzar was know as a famous builder. He constructed and beautified dozens of temples across southern Mesopotamia. He expanded Babylon’s fortifications, paved streets, dug canals, and repaired the great ziggurat of Marduk. Nebuchadrezzar is said to have built the famous hanging gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, to remind a princess from media to whom he was married, of her mountainous homeland.
Though Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple, in Jewish tradition he is usually remembered as an instrument God used to punish Judah’s apostasy, and thus he is often treated positively in the bible. In the book of Daniel, for example, he is portrayed as a wise pagan king who was sometimes deceived by evil counselors but was ready to recognize the superiority of Israel’s God. Ref. ’Who’s Who In The Bible.There is no doubt that King Nebuchadrezzar was and extraordinary man. Now let’s take a look in the bible and see what God’s word has to say about this great Babylonian king.
In Jer. 52 & 2Ki. 24:18-20 - we find the coming to power of Zedekiah king of Judah he was 21 years old and was the last king of Judah to reign. The predictions of Hosea 3:4 have literally been fulfilled., which states the children of Israel will abide many days without a king or without a prince. The next king will be Messiah or Christ.
Zedekiah did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, just as Jehoiakim did.
Josiah was the last good king in Judah. Jehoiakim, with his evil nature allowed many of the pagan practices to return which his father had put an end to. He even defied God and burned the scroll of prophecies addressed to him warning him of his fate, and that of Judah, if he persisted in sin. He also gave tribute money to Pharaoh - that which he had collected in a special tax program throughout Judah. So it seems Zedekiah continued with this foolishness. Both Zedekiah and Jehoiakim served under Nebuchadrezzar and then rebelled against him.
Zedekiah has a horrific end. Nebuchadrezzar’s army breach the city of Jerusalem. They catch Zedekiah as he’s attempting to escape. The Chaldees ( Babylonians) kill Zedekiah’s sons as he watches, then they put his eyes out and bound him with fetters of brass and carried him away to Babylon, and put him in prison, where he stayed until his death.The book of Daniel 1:1-21 - I suggest you read the entire book for it is nothing short of divine dynamite as God displays his sovereignty and power to Daniel, the three Hebrew boys, the king, and all those present.
After Nebuchadrezzar besieged Jerusalem he spoke with the chief of his eunuchs, Ashpenaz, and told him he should bring certain ones of the children of Israel to the palace. Those of the king’s seed and of the princes: Children with no blemishes, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, along with the ability to stand in the king’s palace and learn the language of the Chaldees. They were to have the same food and wine as the king, and after three years they would be brought before the king. Now among these chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah. Upon their arrival the prince of the eunuchs gave them new names
Daniel - he gave the name Belteshazzar
Hananiah - he gave the name Shadrach
Mishael - he gave the name Meshach
Azariah - he gave the name Abednego
However Daniel had purposed in his heart that he would not *defile himself by eating or drinking wine from the king’s portions.
* Evidently there were certain things of the king’s table that had been forbidden by the law of Moses, hence he did not want to break the law and be defiled. It could be that the meat was not butchered properly and that it was offered to idols. Ref. Dake’s bible pg. 1445 ( letter s ) , Ex. 34:15 ; 1 Cor. 10:20
v. 9 - Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the Eunuchs. ( you see how God can bring you favor, even in a bad situation)
However Melzar, the man, the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel and his three friends, became quite afraid and told Daniel that if you don’t eat properly, you will look poor and weak when you go to stand before the king, and the king will have my head.
Then Daniel challenged , Melzar, to give them *pulse to eat and water to drink for ten days, and then compare them to those who ate from the king’s portion. Melzar consented to the challenge, and at the end of tens days, Daniel and his friends looked better and healthier than those who ate from the king’s portion. Melzar then allowed them to continue eating pulse.
*Pulse - seeds; that which is sown. It consisted of vegetables and grains - wheat, barely, rye, peas, beans, lentils ( v 12,16; 2 Sam. 17:28). This does not mean that Jews were strict vegetarians, but that they could not legally eat of meats not properly killed and dedicated.
v. 17 - As for these four men (Daniel and his friends) God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
Now after three years all the individuals involved in this process of being made ready for the king were brought before king. And Nebuchadrezzar communed with them all and there were not none among them like Danieal, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore they stood before the king. The king found that in matters of wisdom and understanding, that these 4 men were ten times as wise as all the magicians and astrologers he had employed at the palace.Daniel chapter 2 - During his second year as king, Nebuchadrezzar had a dream and it was very troublesome to his spirit. He called all the magicians and astrologers together and told them to interpret the dream. They responded that surly they would do so, just tell them what the dream was about. The king said he could not remember what the dream was and if they didn’t tell him what it was along with an interpretation, they would be cut to pieces and there houses shall be made a dung hill. However if you do tell me the dream along with the interpretation I will give you gifts and rewards and great honor.
Needless to say there was great fear throughout the magician’s circle, for they could not interpret the dream. Therefore the king’s anger became red hot, and he commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. When they came to get Daniel and his companions, Daniel asked if he could see the king. He requested that the king give him time to get the interpretation from his God. The king granted his request. Then Daniel and his 3 friends prayed earnestly before the God in heaven, for their lives were at stake.
That same night God revealed the secret of dream. Dan. 2:19
Dan. 2:25 - 49 - In these passages of scripture Daniel is brought before the king. He tells the king that in his dream he saw a great, brilliant and terrible image, whose body was composed of four types of metal, which represented four great empires. The image’s head was made of gold, it’s chest and arms made of silver, it’s belly and thighs of bronze, it’s legs of iron, it’s feet part clay part iron. Then a stone came crashing into the image and completely obliterates the image.
The Gold represents “The Babylonian Empire” 606 B.C.
The Silver represents “The Media-Persia Empire” 536 B.C.
The Bronze represents “The Grecian Empire” 330 B.C.
The Iron represents “The Roman Empire” 27 B.C.
The feet and toes of part iron and clay represents the last kingdom, which will be divided and be both strong and weak, and they also don’t mingle well with one another. These tens toes represent the ten kings which will be in power during that time. They will give into the antichrist after three of them are defeated. Dan 7:23-24 ; Rev.17:12-17
This image represents God’s plan for the ages. The stone represents Jesus Christ putting and end to this wicked system, and then setting up his kingdom, right here on planet earth. History tells us that the that the order of the empires were as follows, The Egyptians, the Assyrians, The Babylonians, The Media-Persia Empire, The Greeks, and the Romans. When Daniel interprets the dream, the first two empires had already come and gone. The image begins with Babylon. The question is how could Daniel know what the order of the empires would be unless God had revealed them to him? I suggest that, when time permits, you read the entire book of Daniel, it’s very interesting, and you can read more about King Nebuchadrezzar, and more of Daniel’s visions and dreams.
Daniel chapter 3 - in this chapter we will discuss Daniel’s three comrades, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego also known as the “Three Hebrew Boys”. This is a popular story in most churches. It seems that King Nebuchadrezzar made a Golden image, then he gave a commandment that whenever the people hear the musical instruments begin to play, they are to fall down and worship this image the king had made, and whosoever does not fall down and worship the image will be thrown into a furnace of fire.
Needless to say the three Hebrew boys did not follow the king’s commandment. Thus they were brought before the king, and the king questioned them concerning this matter. The three men answered the king and said whether God delivered them from the king’s hands or not, they would not serve his gods or worship the image he had made.
The bible states that the king was furious, and commanded the furnace to be heated to seven times it’s normal temperature. The three Hebrew men were bound and tossed into the furnace. So hot had the flames become, that the ones who led them into the furnace were consumed by the flames. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego feel down bound in the midst of the furnace.
Then something miraculous takes place. Nebuchadrezzar looks into the furnace, and then asks, did we not throw three men into the furnace bound?, and they answered oh yes o’ great king we did. Then the king said Lo I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire, and the form of the fourth man is that of a son of God (an angel v.28).
The king then stood at the entrance of the furnace and said ye servants of the most high God, come forth and come hither. The king, the princes, governors, captains, the king’s counsel, and all those who had gathered, watched in amazement as these three men emerged with no burns, no singed hair, nor the smell of fire upon their clothes.
The king sent forth a decree stating that anyone who speaks anything amiss about the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, they will be cut in pieces and their houses shall be made a dung hill, because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.Daniel chapter 4 - this chapter is interesting because it’s being told by Nebuchadrezzar himself. I thought it good to shew ( (show) actual biblical spelling) the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! And how mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation. (Vs.2 -3 ) The king goes on to tell us about another dream he has in which he calls on Daniel again to interpret. In this dream the king saw a great tree whose height reached unto heaven. Then a holy one a watcher (angel) came down from heaven and cried aloud for the tree to be hewn down and his branches to be cut off, shake off the leaves and scatter his fruit. However the angel said to leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, and let it be wet with dew of heaven and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. An hour after Daniel had received the interpretation, he still hadn’t told it to the king, because he was very troubled by what he would have to disclose to the him. However the king insisted that Daniel tell him the interpretation of this dream.
Daniel tells the king that the great tree he saw is the king himself, for he has grown to be great and strong. The watcher cutting down the tree and leaving the stump with a band of iron and his portion with the beasts, represents that he would be driven out from men and would dwell with the beasts. Daniel in v.27 advises the king to stop sinning, and to show mercy to the poor.
As you read the text you can see God gives Nebuchadrezzar twelve months to clean his act up, but he just doesn’t get it. While walking through his palace he states is this not great Babylon that I have built by my might and power? And while he was yet speaking a voice from heaven said O king Nebuchadrezzar the kingdom is departed from thee, and they shall drive you from men, and you will dwell with the beasts and eat grass as they do. You will stay in this state for seven years so that you will know that the most high God ruleth in the kingdom of men. The same hour all this took place. He was driven from men, and did eat grass like an oxen, and his body was wet with dew from heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles feathers , and his nails like bird’s claws. At the end of seven years he was suddenly restored to sanity and began blessing the God of heaven for his mercy.
The mental disease Nebuchadrezzar had is rare. It is called Lycanthropy (from the Greek word lukos, wolf, : anthropos, man) because the person imagines himself to be a wolf or a bear, or some other animal.
Just a note - Saddam Hussein thought he was the reincarnation of King Nebuchadrezzar.
Do you remember Saddam’s capture? Do you recall the video clip? read Dan. 4:33