This evening I’d like to tie together some loose ends before moving on. I believe that we’ve sufficiently covered the importance and the lessons of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. But there are some things which I think are fascinating, and which if properly approached should raise our love and appreciation of the Lord. I have been able to build a four point message which sounds sermonic, but it might be too generous to call this a “sermon.”

We looked at “Daniel and the Dream” last Sunday night, and then “Nebuchadnezzar and the Dream” this morning. Now let’s turn to “Jehovah and the Dream.” This dream was divinely ordained and interpreted. Nebuchadnezzar was divinely ordained and replaced. Babylon was divinely ordained and destroyed. And Nebuchadnezzar’s malady was divinely ordained and removed.

First, this dream was divinely ordained and interpreted.
We don’t need to spend any more time on this point. The dream was given by Daniel’s God – Jehovah – and the recipient didn’t understand its meaning. So God gave the interpretation to Daniel to share with the king. As we said this morning, there is no other explanation for this other than the will and power of the Lord.

And the meaning should be obvious – Jehovah rules in the kingdom of men. He will not tolerate the pride of man usurping God’s office and authority. He can easily humble the most pride-filled man or the most powerful person on earth. All humanity needs to bow before this omnipotent God. I don’t know what else to say about this – it has all been said a dozen times in the past three weeks.

But let’s return and emphasize that Nebuchadnezzar was divinely ordained and replaced.
For this we have to think about some scriptures beyond the Book of Daniel. I think that we looked at some of this material before, but it needs to be done once again. Reaching back into history, Hezekiah was one of the more godly kings of Judah. He ruled over that nation about 250 years before the Book of Daniel. Now please understand the time difference – Hezekiah and Nebuchadnezzar were kings separated by more years than presidents George Washington and Barak Obama. In Isaiah 38 Hezekiah was sick and apparently dying. But he humbled himself before the Lord and besought God for an extension of his life. This was then granted, and Hezekiah ruled Judah for a few more years. But after his recovery, he got spiritually sloppy and somewhat proud.

Further study in Kings, Chronicles and Isaiah, reveals that Hezekiah’s primary foreign headache was Assyria. The greatest empire in the world then was Assyria under Sennacherib, and his capital was Ninevah. That was the same Ninevah where Jonah was sent to preach repentance. Assyria was the nation who humbled the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel and took them into captivity. And this Sennacherib kept his thumb on just about everyone including Judah and ancient Babylon.

Now let’s all turn to Isaiah 39:1 – At that time Merodach-baladan, the son of Baladan, was king of Babylon. Merodach was one of a succession of weak Babylonian kings, many of whom ruled for short periods. His immediate predecessor reigned for a month, and he ruled for only nine months. Of course, he was hoping for more and to throw off the Assyrians, but he didn’t and couldn’t. He was hoping to establish alliances with other nations, but none were strong enough to be of any help.

Isaiah 39:1 – “At that time Merodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present to Hezekiah: for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered. And Hezekiah was glad of them, and shewed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armour, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah shewed them not. Then came Isaiah the prophet unto king Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not shewed them. Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the LORD of hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” The visit of these representatives of Babylon helped to spark Nebuchadnezzar’s plunder of Judah 250 years later. They saw the vast wealth of Judah and Hezekiah, and they made their report back home. The Babylonians never forgot it. And notice that God knew of it, exposed it and prophesied of it, because it was ordained by the Lord. About 250 years before he was born, Nebuchadnezzar was ordained of God as a means of judging Judah for her sins.

But even that prophesy isn’t the beginning of the story. At least a year earlier – in Isaiah 13 – God’s prophet was ordained to prophesy against Babylon. This time the prophecy isn’t about the rise of Babylon, but about her fall. But at that time Babylon was hardly big enough to deserve a footnote, let alone a great prophecy. The details of that prophecy are so crisp and clear that Bible critics have tried to say that it was written by someone other than Isaiah 300 years after his death. “The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt: And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” After describing some of the terrible cruelty and destruction that eventually came upon Babylon, the Lord got very specific. “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” The thing to remember is that this was written about 250 years before Nebuchadnezzar, and it was after Nebuchadnezzar that these things were fulfilled. Babylon fell to the Medes in their alliance with the Persians. The rise and fall of Babylon was ordained by God.

So Nebuchadnezzar was raised up by God to judge Judah, and that he did, as we see in Daniel 1 and elsewhere. But it had already been foreordained that Babylon would be a short-lived empire. Before we get through half the Book of Daniel we will see the Medes destroy this kingdom. All of this was ordained, prophesied and completed by the omnipotent God of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar, the dreamer of Daniel 4, was ordained by God and was later replaced by God. All of this prophecy should stir our hearts and cause us to lift up our voices in praise to the Lord who controls all things according to His will.

Now consider that the city of Babylon was divinely ordained and destroyed.
And my emphasis is on the fact that it was divinely ordained, not ordained by Nebuchadnezzar – even though he wanted to take credit for it. “At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.”

Nebuchadnezzar’s city of Babylon was one of the most spectacular in the ancient world. It had been built on the rubble of countless other cities, but the one over which Nebuchadnezzar looked that evening was for all intents and purposes his. For example, since there was no rock that valley created by the Euphrates, the city was built entirely of brick. And upon those bricks were stamped the name of Nebuchadnezzar. Literally millions of bricks have been discovered with that king’s name imprinted on them. Historians speak about the size of the city, although there are differences about the actual dimensions. It is said to have been 45 to 60 miles in circumference – some say only 130 square miles. Most agree that it had 25 gates on each side, and from the gates there were paved streets which ran across the city intersecting one another at right angles. The walls are said to be 75 feet thick and 300 feet in height with exactly 100 gates of brass. The city was so large, that the homes inside were built on large lots – large enough for vineyards and orchards. The river Euphrates ran through the city, supplying water to all its residents and with bridges crossing it. On the north, outside the city was a reservoir large enough to divert the flood waters of the spring and to keep the water flowing in the city during the hot summer. It also supplied water to canals which carried water around the walls of the city and irrigated the valley. Inside there were the palace grounds, occupying several square miles, part of which included the famous hanging gardens, which the king had built for his wife. Those gardens contained a man-made mountain 400 feet high, so it could have been seen for miles outside the wall. And from that mountain, if not from the palace itself, Nebuchadnezzar could view the whole city. There was machinery built at the river’s edge to supply water for the lush vegetation of the garden. In fact there was all kind of machinery, science, and industry throughout Babylon. For a short period of time, Babylon truly was the capital of the world.

We can understand why, Nebuchadnezzar was so filled with pride when he thought about it. The strong economy was created by him; as was the peace that his people enjoyed. There were hundreds of magnificent buildings in Babylon which he personally designed or authorized. It was the commercial and manufacturing center of the region. But – it was only by the grace of God that his country prospered. Just as it is only by the grace of God that the United States has done so well during the last 200 years. And just as Babylon fell, there is every reason to think that this country will fall from prominence for her sins against the Lord. It was not Nebuchadnezzar who should have been praised for that city – it should have been Jehovah. The Lord permitted it to have this glory for a relatively short period of time.

Finally, Nebuchadnezzar’s malady was divinely ordained and then removed.
When we read of what happened to this man, most of us only shake our heads. It’s not that we don’t believe what the Bible tells us, but this is something so unusual that it seems uniquely miraculous. But actually, there is a recognized psychological problem described here. Some of you may have heard the word – but probably only those of you who read, watch and listen to stories that I deliberately avoid. My dictionary defineslycanthropyas “the magical ability to form the characteristics and appearance of a wolf.” I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that modern werewolf and some horror shows might throw around the words “lycanthropy” and “lycanthropes” “werewolves.” I was going to ignore this, and simply tell you that what Nebuchadnezzar suffered was a unique miraculous judgment from God. But then I looked the word up on the internet, where I found quite a bit of legitimate information.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about this subject – “Clinical lycanthropy is defined as a rare psychiatric syndrome which involves a delusion that the affected person can or has transformed into an animal, or that he or she is an animal. Its name is connected to the mythical condition of lycanthropy, a supernatural affliction in which people are said to physically shapeshift into wolves. The terms zoanthropy or therianthropy are also sometimes used for the delusion that one has turned into an animal in general and not specifically a wolf. A study on lycanthropy from the McLean Hospital reported on a series of cases and proposed some diagnostic criteria by which lycanthropy could be recognised: A patient reports in a moment of lucidity or looking back he sometimes feels as an animal or has felt like one. A patient behaves in a manner that resembles animal behavior, for example crying, grumbling, or creeping. According to these criteria, either a delusional belief in current or past transformation, or behaviour that suggests a person thinks of themselves as transformed, is considered evidence of clinical lycanthropy. The authors go on to note that although the condition seems to be an expression of psychosis there is no specific diagnosis of mental or neurological illness associated with its behavioural consequences. It also seems that lycanthropy is not specific to an experience of human-to-wolf transformation; a wide variety of creatures have been reported as part of the shape-shifting experience. A review of the medical literature from early 2004 lists over thirty published cases of lycanthropy, only the minority of which have wolf or dog themes. Canines are certainly not uncommon, although the experience of being transformed into hyenas, cats, horses birds and tigers has been reported on more than one occasion. Transformation into frogs, and even bees, has been reported in some instances.”

Along with this article are many others on this subject, which really are fascinating. By mentioning these things, I don’t want to detract from the miraculous nature of Nebuchadnezzar’s attack. It was sent by God and removed by God. It was ordained by the Lord – as is proven by the year old prophecy that it was coming. I only bring this “lycanthropy” to your attention to show that there is no reason for even the unbeliever to throw this testimony aside. Could there have been some sort of demonism involved? Yes, absolutely, but that is not mentioned, and it doesn’t really need to be considered. What happened to Nebuchadnezzar was real, even if it began as a spiritual/mental problem.

And last, I was asked a couple of weeks ago, if there is any outside verification or corroboration of Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity. I have found some, although I’m not really certain that we can trust it. We have to remember that ancient histories were generally written by employees of the crown. This means that most histories put the king in the most favorable light. The absence of strong corroboration doesn’t prove that the king wasn’t insane for seven years. That would have been something that his historians and recorders would have conveniently omitted. But according to one of my dictionaries, archeologists have discovered a bronze plaque which has been translated and ascribed to Nebuchadnezzar himself. Roughly translated, it appears to say – “For four years (?) … the seat of my kingdom … did not rejoice my heart. In all my dominions I did not build a high place of power, the precious treasures of my kingdom I did not lay up. In Babylon, buildings for myself and for the honor of my kingdom I did not lay out. In the worship of Merodach, my lord, the joy of my heart, in Babylon the city of his sovereignty, and the seat of my empire, I did not sing his praises, I did not furnish his altars with victims, nor did I clear out the canals.”

For some time, perhaps four years, but more precisely seven years, Nebuchadnezzar didn’t do any of those things which he generally loved to do. He didn’t build anything, write anything, plan military campaigns, plan projects or enjoy his people and his popularity. Certainly other explanations could be given, but the Biblical one is that he was insane for that period. And of course, the Bible record is true, whether there is any corroboration or not.

Taking all the pieces of this chapter and putting them together, I believe that we have a very powerful declaration of the omnipotence of our God. We also have an encouragement to worship Him as the one true and living God.