The Appointed Times of Dominion & Demise

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel which would take place from the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon through the first year of the reign of Cyrus king of Persia. More specifically, today’s passage is found in chapters four through seven of this Old Testament prophetic book. THERE COMES A SECOND DREAM! “I thought it good to shew 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” (Daniel 4:1-3). I WAS AT REST IN MINE HOUSE, AND FLOURISHING IN MY PALACE! I SAW A DREAM WHICH MADE ME AFRAID, AND THE THOUGHTS UPON MY BED AND THE VISIONS OF MY HEAD TROUBLED ME! I MADE A DECREE TO BRING ALL THE WISE MEN OF BABLYON BEFORE ME, THAT THEY MIGHT MAKE KNOWN UNTO ME THE INTERPRETATION OF THE DREAM! THE MAGICIANS ONCE MORE PROVED TO BE INFERIOR! THE ASTROLOGERS ONCE MORE PROVED TO BE INFERIOR! IT IS THE LORD ALONE WHO REVEALS DREAMS AND PROVIDES THEIR INTERPRETATION! THE LORD WHO HUMBLES THE WISDOM OF MEN! [THE LORD NOT ONLY HUMBLES THE GREAT KING OF BABYLON, BUT ALSO ONCE MORE HUMBLED THE WISE MEN OF BABYLON] THEY DID NOT MAKE KNOWN UNTO ME THE INTERPRETATION THEREOF! [BUT AT THE LAST DANIEL CAME IN BEFORE ME, WHOSE NAME WAS BELTESHAZZAR, ACCORDING TO THE NAMES OF MY GOD, AND IN WHOM IS THE SPIRIT OF THE HOLY GODS! BEHOLD A TREE! THE TREE GREW! THE DREAM, THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL, THE LION’S DEN, THE BEGINNING OF VISIONS AND DREAMS! THE GOD WHO CAN HUMBLE KINGS! THE GOD WHO CAN HUMBLE THRONES OF KINGDOMS AND EMPIRES! WHEN THE LORD HUMBLES THE PRIDE OF KINGS! WHEREFORE, O KING, LET MY COUNSEL BE ACCEPTABLE UNTO THEE, AND BREAK OFF THY SINS BY RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THINE INIQUITIES BY SHEWING MERCY TO THE POOR; IF IT MAY BE A LENGTHENING OF THY TRANQUILITY!

            “I lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me”

            “Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase”

            WHEN THE PRIDE OF ONE KING IS FOLLOWED BY ANOTHER! BELSHAZZAR THE KING MAD A GREAT FEAST TO A THOUSAND OF HIS LORDS, AND DRANK WINE BEFORE THE THOUSAND! BELSHAZZAR, WHILES HE TASTED THE WINE, COMMANDED TO BRING THE GOLDEN AND SILVER VESSELS WHICH HIS FATHER NEBUCHADNEZZAR HAD TAKEN OUT OF THE TEMPLE WHICH WAS IN JERUSALEM; THAT THE KING, AND HIS PRINCES, HIS WIVES, AND HIS CONCUBINES, MIGHT DRINK THEREIN! [THEY BROUGHT TE GOLDEN VESSELS THAT WERE TAKEN OUT OF THE TEMPLE OF THE HOUES OF GOD WHICH WAS AT JERUSALEM; AND THE KING, AND HIS PRINCES, HIS WIVES, AND HIS CONCUBINES, DRANK IN THEM! THEY DRANK WINE, AND PRAISED THE GODS OF GOLD, AND OF SILVER, OF BRASS, OF IRON, OF WOOD, AND OF STONE] IN THE SAME HOUR CAME FORTH FINGERS OF MAN’S HAND, AND WROTE OVER AGAINST THE CANDLESTICK UPON THE PLAISTER OF THE WALL OF THE KING’S PALACE: AND THE KING SAW THE PART OF THE HAND THAT WROTE! THE KING’S COUNTNENACE WAS CHANGED, AND HIS THOUGHTS TROUBLED HIM, SO THAT THE JOINTS OF HIS LOINS WERE LOOSED, AND HIS KNEES SMOTE ONE AGAINST ANOTHER! THEN WAS BLESHAZZAR GREATLY TROUBLED, AND HIS COUNTNANCE WAS CHANGED IN HIM, AND HIS LORDS WERE ASTONIED! THERE IS A MAN IN THY KINGDOM, IN WHOM IS THE SPIRIT OF THE HOLY GODS; AND IN THE DAYS OF THY FATHER LIGHT AND UNDERSTANDING AND WISDOM, LIKE THE WISDOM OF THE GODS, WAS FOUND IN HIM; WHOM THE KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR THY FATHER, THE KING, I SAY, THY FATHER, MADE MASTER OF THE MAGICIANS, ASTROLOGERS, CHALDEANS, AND SOOTHSATERS; FORASMUCH AS AN EXCELLENT SPIRIT, AND KNOWLEDGE, AND UNDERSTANDING, INTERPRETING OF DREAMS, AND SHEWING HARD SENTENCES, AND DISSOLVING OF DOUBTS, WERE FOUND IN THE SAME DANIEL, WHOM THE KING NAMED BELTESHAZZAR [WHEN THE LORD REMINDS ONE KING OF ANOTHER KING’S PRIDE AND ARROGANCE] TAKE A LESSON FROM YOUR FATHER!

            “it pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; and over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm”

            Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God”

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find the remaining portion of the biographical and historical section of the book of Daniel taking place in chapters four through six, while in the seventh chapter you will find the beginning of the prophetic portion of the book. If and as you study the words which are found in the prophetic book of Daniel you will find that there is a core progression that takes place within the historical narrative that is found within this book. In the first and opening chapter we are introduced to the captivity of the house of Judah during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, while also learning how in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon he called and commanded that certain of those from the captivity would be set apart and prepared for his service. It is within this particular narrative we find Daniel purposing within his heart that he would not defile himself with the meat and wine from the king’s table and from the king’s provision. After securing permission to be tested for ten days with himself, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah eating nothing but pulse and drinking water, Daniel and his companions were evaluated, and it was determined that their countenance looked fairer and fatter than all those who were being prepared for the king’s service. We dare not and must not miss the importance of this, for when you come to the final verses of the first and opening chapter you will find the LORD honoring Daniel and his three Hebrew companions above all those who were enlisted into the king’s service and granting unto them great wisdom, knowledge, understanding and discernment. Concerning Daniel we also find that the LORD granted him the ability to understand dreams and visions—a truth that would find itself played out in the very next chapter as within the second chapter we find the king of Babylon having a dream which not only escaped his memory, but also greatly troubled him. When the king summoned all the magicians, all the astrologers, and all the wise men of the Chaldeans he realized and recognized that they could not fulfill his request of not only telling him the dream which he dreamed upon his bed, but neither could they grant unto him the interpretation of the dream. In a fit of rage, fury and anger Nebuchadnezzar ordered that all the wise men within the realm of the Chaldeans be killed and executed—including Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael.

            As you continue reading within the second chapter you will find that when Daniel heard of the decree and order of the king and how urgent it seemed, Daniel was able to secure an audience with the king himself—and not only securing an audience with the king, but also securing time that he might not only reveal the dream which he dreamed, but also provide unto him the interpretation. Daniel would then take this matter unto his three Hebrew companions that they might beseech the tender mercies of the living God concerning this awesome matter, for only the living and eternal God could fulfill the request of the king. Scripture reveals how the LORD would indeed respond in His grace and mercy, as the LORD would reveal unto Daniel the dream which the king of Babylon dreamed, as well as the interpretation of that dream in a night vision. Scripture goes on to reveal how Daniel would enter into the presence of the king and would reveal unto him the dream he had, which was of a large statute with a head made of gold, its arms and belly made of silver, its thighs made up of brass, its legs made up of iron, and its feet made up of iron and clay. As Nebuchadnezzar continued to behold this great image which was before him he would see that a rock would be cut from a mountain—but not with human hands—and this great stone would strike the statue and image at the base at its feet and would cause the entire image to collapse upon itself. Moreover, all the gold, the silver, the brass, the iron and the clay would all be mixed together and would become like the chaff which the wind would blow away until it was no more. The stone which had been hewn from the mountain, and which had struck the statute and image would then grow to become a great kingdom that would fill the entire earth. Essentially the interpretation of the dream was that Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon was the head of gold as the first kingdom and empire in what would be a history of kingdoms and empires. There would be a second kingdom and empire that would follow that of Babylon—the arms and belly of silver—as the kingdom and empire of the Medes and Persians would be that empire which would rise up and emerge in the midst of the earth as the next great empire. The kingdom and empire of the Medes and Persians, however, would not last forever as the Grecian empire would emerge thereafter, and would control and exercise dominion and authority over the face of the earth during their appointed time of authority in the midst of the earth. Of course we know and understand that the Grecian empire would be followed by the Roman empire, which would perhaps be the most dominant kingdom and empire upon the face of the earth, and would continue unto the times of Christ, and would even continue nearly three hundred years after the life of Jesus the Christ died, was buried, was raised to life, and would ultimately ascend unto the right hand of the Father in heaven.

            At the end of the second chapter we find Nebuchadnezzar honoring Daniel because of his ability to not only reveal the dream which he had dreamed, but also reveal the interpretation of the dream. Moreover, in Daniel’s newly appointed position we find him securing places for his fellow companions—Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael—which would ultimately set the stage for the events which took place in the third and following chapter. It would not only be the image which the king of Babylon would see in his dream, but also the appointment of Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael—those whose names would be changed to Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego—which would set the stage for the events which take place immediately after this. Within the third chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel we find the king of Babylon setting up a great image of gold which was set up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon in the land of the Chaldeans. Moreover, Nebuchadnezzar would issue a decree that at whatsoever time those within the kingdom heard the sound of music they were to fall down, bow down and worship this golden image. What we find, however, is [at least] three Hebrews who were unwilling to bow down and worship this image made of gold. We learn from Scripture that Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael refused to bow down and worship this image made of gold, and being brought into the presence of the king because of their defiance and rebellion concerning worshipping this image of gold. It would be in the presence of the king these three Hebrews would not only declare and speak of the LORD’s ability to deliver them from the fiery furnace—which was the punishment and judgment for all those who refused to worship this image made of gold—but also declare unto the king that even if the LORD their God chose not to deliver them from the fiery furnace, they would not bow down, nor would they worship this image made of gold. Responding in full force of rage and fury the king of Babylon ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal, and then had these three Hebrews bound and ultimately cast alive into the fiery furnace. What the king would witness and behold next would be something that would perhaps astonish him more than the dream(s) which he would have, for when he looked at the furnace of fire—not only did he see four men loose and unbound walking in the midst of it, but he also saw one whose appearance was as the Son of man.

            The third chapter of this prophetic book concludes with Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael being delivered from the fiery furnace, and upon their coming forth from the midst of the fire and flames—not only was not a hair on their body singed, but neither was the smell of smoke found on them, nor were their clothes burned with fire. Pause for a moment and consider how awesome and wonderful this truly is, for most of us would expect and anticipate the LORD to deliver His servants FROM the furnace of fire, and yet in the case and instance of these three Hebrews we find the LORD of hosts did not deliver them FROM the fiery furnace, but delivered them through and in the midst of it. Even though refused to compromise their faith by bowing down and worshipping this image made of gold, the LORD would still allow them to be bound and cast into the fiery furnace. I can’t help but wonder in those final moments leading up to being cast into the fiery furnace these three Hebrews wondered if the LORD would indeed deliver them from the midst of the flames of the furnace of fire. I would love to know what went through the hearts and minds of these three Hebrews in those final moments leading up to their being cast into the furnace of fire, and even when they were cast into the midst of it. They chose to honor the living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and they refused to bow down and worship an idol and image made of gold which had been set up in the midst of the land, and yet they were still cast into the fiery furnace. I would have to say that in that moment they were cast into the midst of the fiery furnace they did not know whether or not the LORD would deliver them, and yet Scripture reveals how as the king of Babylon looked upon the furnace of fire he not only saw four men walking around and talking in the midst of the fire, but saw them all loosed, and one having the appearance of the Son of man. The courage of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to not only refuse to bow down and worship the image made of gold, but also to brave the flames of the fiery furnace would ultimately not only bring about their deliverance out of the furnace of fire, but would also cause the king of Babylon to issue a powerful decree concerning worshipping the living and eternal God of these three Hebrews. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the final verses of this chapter beginning with the twenty-sixth verse:

            “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have not hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellers, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that deliver after this sort. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon” (Daniel 3:25-30).

            It is truly something remarkable and astonishing to read the words which are found within these final verses, for not only do we find the king of Babylon witnessing and beholding four men loose and walking in the midst of the fire, but he also saw the fourth whose appearance was as the Son of God. As a direct result of this spectacle the king of Babylon would call these three Hebrews to come forth out of the midst of the furnace of fire, and upon them coming forth the princes, the governors, the captains, and the king’s counsellers gathered together and saw these men who had come forth from the midst of the fire. What’s more, is that as they looked upon and beheld these men they saw that the fire had no power upon them, nor was a hair of their head singed, nor were their coats changed, nor was the smell of fire upon them. How absolutely wonderful, remarkable and powerful this truly is when you take the time to think about it—particularly and especially when you read how the fire had no power over these three Hebrews, and how even the king of Babylon acknowledged that they were willing to yield their bodies that they might not worship any image, any idol, or any God except their own God. Perhaps the underlying question is whether or not we have the same courage and conviction to be unwilling to worship any image, any idol, and any god within this earth, save the one true and living God. Moreover, the question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are willing to yield our bodies, our members, and ourselves that we might bow down and worship anything or anyone but the one true and living God of heaven and earth. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego refused to bow down and worship the image which the king of Babylon had made of gold, and they even yielded their bodies to the flames of the furnace of fire knowing that the LORD could indeed deliver them from that terrible fate and judgment, but not knowing if the LORD would. Regardless of whether or not the LORD would deliver them from the midst of this fiery furnace, these three Hebrews would not bow down, nor would they worship this image of gold which the king of Babylon had set up in the midst of the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. What is so amazing and awesome is that not only would the LORD deliver these three Hebrews out of the midst of, and through the furnace of fire, but he would also cause a decree to be issued throughout all Babylon that no one ought speak anything blasphemous against the God of these three Hebrews, for no other God could deliver after this manner and out of this sort. Moreover, we find Nebuchadnezzar promoting Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in the province of Babylon after the fire of the furnace had absolutely no power over and upon them.

            When you come to the fourth chapter of this prophetic book you will once more find the king of Babylon having a dream in the night, which greatly troubled him. Just as he had done when he had the previous dream he called for all the magicians, all the astrologers, and all the wise men of Chaldea to reveal unto him the dream which he dreamed, as well as the interpretation thereof. Scripture reveals how none of those who came into the presence of the king could reveal the dream and its interpretation unto the king of Babylon until Daniel at last entered the presence of the king. It would be in the presence of Daniel the king of Babylon would proceed to reveal the dream which he had—a dream which would include a tree, a stump, a watcher, and a period of time when that one mentioned in the dream would be given over unto the mind of a beast. If you begin reading with and from the tenth verse of this chapter you will find the following words written and recorded concerning this dream: “Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof to the end of all the earth: the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven; He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches: nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter is by the decree of the waters, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee” (Daniel 4:10-18).

            After the king of Babylon had revealed unto Daniel the dream which he had dreamed we find that Daniel was astonished for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him when he thought about the dream. When the king realized that Daniel was astonished and troubled at the dream which was told unto him, he instructed him to not let the dream trouble him, nor its interpretation. Upon hearing the words spoken by the king Daniel whose name was Belteshazzar spoke and declared unto the king how he wished the dream and its interpretation be unto those who hated him, and unto his enemies rather than he himself. At this Daniel would go on to reveal how the tree which the king of Babylon had seen, which grew, and was strong, and whose height reached unto the heaven was the king of Babylon himself, for he had grown, and become strong, and his greatness is grown, and reached unto the heavens, and his dominion to the end of the earth. Furthermore, Daniel would go on to reveal that as the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and calling for the tree to be hewn down and destroyed, yet the stump of the tree remaining, even with a band of iron and brass in the grass of the field till seven times pass over him, so the matter would be established in heaven and could not be altered. The interpretation thereof was that he would be driven from among men, and his dwelling place would be with the beasts of the field, and they would make him to eat grass as oxen, and they would wet him with the dew of heaven, and seven times would pass over him, until he knew that the most High ruled in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever he will. The declaration concerning the stump being left in the grass of the field, Daniel would go on to reveal that his kingdom would be sure unto him after he realized and recognized that the heavens do rule over the kingdoms and empires of men. Furthermore, Daniel would go on to declare unto the king concerning his counsel, and admonishing him to break off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor, and if it were possible that they might be a lengthening of his tranquility and peace.

            What we find in the fourth chapter of this prophetic book of Daniel is not only the LORD humbling the wisdom of men, but also humbling kings of the earth. We cannot read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that not only was the LORD able to humble the wisdom of Babylon, but so also was the LORD able to humble the king of Babylon himself. In all reality, the LORD would greatly humble the wisdom of Babylon, as well as the dominion and authority of Babylon—dominion and authority which he himself had given unto him. You cannot read the words found within this passage of Scripture and not encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that the living and eternal God not only humbled the wisdom of the magicians, the astrologers and the wise men of the Chaldeans, but the LORD would also humble the pride, the arrogance, and the boasting of the king of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar had absolutely no clue what he would do, nor even what he would say that would ultimately bring about the fulfillment of this dream, but we find beginning with the twenty-eighth verse of the chapter that at the end of twelve months he would walk in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon, and would speak, and declare, “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?” Scripture reveals that while the word was still in the mouth of the king, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, ”O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.” In that very same hour was the thing fulfilled upon the king of Babylon, and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were groan like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws. It would be at the end of the days that the king of Babylon would lift up his eyes unto heaven, and his understanding returned unto him, and he blessed the most High, and praised and honoured him who lives for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion. Consider if you will the narrative that took place at the end of the fourth chapter concerning the king of Babylon in that moment and in that hour when he would lift his eyes toward the heavens, and his understanding returned unto him:

            “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

            Scripture reveals how in that very same hour Nebuchadnezzar’s reasoning returned unto him, and he acknowledged the living and eternal God of heaven his lords sought unto him, and he was established in his kingdom, and greater majesty was added unto him. What makes this narrative so absolutely and incredibly powerful is when you consider how the chapter begins and concludes, for in the final verse of the chapter we read how Nebuchadnezzar “praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways are judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” In the opening verses of this particular chapter we find the following words which the king had spoken after he had experienced this tremendous encounter before the LORD who had humbled and brought him low that he might acknowledge the one true and living God of heaven and earth. In the first three verses of this chapter we find the following words which were spoken by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon which helped set the stage for the events recorded in the chapter: “Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew 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 “ (Daniel 4:1-3). In the opening verses of this chapter we find the king of Babylon speaking of the great wonders and signs the LORD showed him, as well as making great and powerful declarations concerning the LORD. It would be in the first and opening verses of this chapter we find the king of Babylon declaring concerning the LORD that great were His signs, and mighty were His wonders, and His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion was from generation to generation. It would be in the final verses of this same chapter we find the king emphatically declaring that the LORD of hosts was able to humble the pride of man, and to bring those low who choose to walk in the pride and arrogance of their own hearts. In all reality, the entire fourth chapter of this prophetic book is about the authority of the kingdom of heaven over that of the kingdoms and empires of the earth—and not only the dominion of heaven being greater than the dominion of men, but also the LORD’s ability to humble and bring low the wisdom of men, as well as the pride and arrogance of men.

            The more I read and consider the words which are found within these chapters in the prophetic book of Daniel the more I can’t help but be drawn to the awesome and incredible fact that the living and eternal God is supreme and sovereign, and is the ultimate authority over all authority, all government, all power, and all strength within and upon the face of the earth. What’s more, is the living and eternal God can indeed and can in fact interject Himself in the affairs of men, and can indeed exercise His own dominion and authority over kings and kingdoms, thrones and dominions, and even over the wisdom and might of men. It would be in the second chapter where the LORD would humble the wisdom of the magicians, the astrologers and the wise men of the Chaldeans as they would be unable to reveal unto the king of Babylon the dream he dreamed, as well as the interpretation. Moreover, it would be through that dream the LORD would not only reveal what was going to take place in the coming days, but also reveal and demonstrate the authority of the LORD of hosts over the kingdoms and empires of the world. It’s interesting to note how in the temptation of Jesus the Christ in the wilderness Satan showed unto him all the kingdoms, all the dominions, and all the powers of the world in but a moment’s time, and declared unto him that he would give them all unto him if He would but bow down and worship him, for they had been delivered into his hand. The prophetic book of Daniel, however, reveals that even though the kingdoms and empires of the earth might have been delivered into the hands of the enemy and adversary, it is the LORD of hosts alone who exercises dominion, authority, strength, might and power over them. The historical chapters of the prophetic book of Daniel reveal just how much the LORD of hosts would exercise His own wisdom above the wisdom of the world, and His own authority over the authority and government of men. In the second chapter the LORD would reveal His authority over the kingdoms and empires of the earth, while in the third chapter He would exercise His dominion and authority over false images and graven images which were formed and fashioned in the midst of the earth. It would be in the fourth chapter where we find the king of Babylon himself being humbled, abased and brought low by the one true and living God, as the LORD would drive him from men into the field, and it would be there in the field during the appointed time he would be given over to the mind of a beast until he acknowledged that the LORD of hosts was indeed the one true and living God, and that His dominion and His kingdom was an eternal dominion and kingdom, and that His kingdom was above the kingdoms, the empires, and the thrones of men.

            As I sit here today thinking about and considering the awesome reality and truths that are found within these chapters I can’t help but be struck by the tremendous concept that during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar he would encounter the one true and living God of the very people who he had brought out of the land of Judah. The words which you find in the second, third and fourth chapters describe two dreams which Nebuchadnezzar had during his days as king over the Babylonian empire with the first dream dealing with kingdoms and empires upon the earth, and the second dream dealing specifically and exclusively with him as an individual. It’s quite intriguing to think about the fact that during the days of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign the LORD would reveal unto him two distinct events that would take place in the coming days—one which Scripture reveals would take place twelve months after the dream and interpretation were given, and the other which would come at the appointed time and seasons ordained by the living God. Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream would reveal kingdoms and empires that would rise up and emerge within the earth, as the LORD would show unto Nebuchadnezzar what He was going to do in the coming days—namely, bring an end to the Babylonian empire, and raise up three distinct empires upon the face of the earth thereafter. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this, for the LORD of hosts would show a heathen and Gentile king that which he was about to do—something that would happen centuries and generations earlier during the days of Joseph. If you journey back into the Old Testament book of Genesis you will find that the LORD gave Pharaoh king of Egypt two distinct dreams of which none of his magicians, nor any of his astrologers could interpret and provide the meaning. It would be at that time when it would seem all hope was lost that the cupbearer of the king would remember Joseph and how he had interpreted his dream while they were in the prison of the king. As Joseph was brought forth from the prison to the palace he would reveal that the two dreams were actually one in the same, for the LORD was showing unto Pharaoh that which He was going to do upon the earth in the coming days. Scripture reveals how the LORD would send seven years of great increase and abundance upon the earth, but how once those years of abundance and increase were over the LORD would send seven years of famine upon the earth.

            Upon reading the words which are found in the prophetic book of Daniel I find myself being absolutely captivated with and by the awesome reality that this would be the second [and third depending on how you like at it] time the LORD would reveal unto a Gentile ruler that which He was about to do in the earth. In the Old Testament book of Genesis the LORD would reveal unto Pharaoh king of Egypt that He was going to send seven years of abundance upon the earth, which were going to be followed by seven years of famine, while in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel the LORD would reveal unto the king of Babylon what He was going to do in the midst of the earth—namely, how He was going to raise up kingdoms and empires upon the face of the earth. The LORD showed unto Pharaoh king of Egypt abundance and famine, while the LORD would show unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon the kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the face of the earth—including that of Babylon which Nebuchadnezzar would himself be king and ruler over. Unto the king of Egypt the LORD showed what He would do concerning plenty and famine, while the LORD would reveal unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon the reality of kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the face of the earth after the time of the Babylonians would come to an end. What makes both of these dreams so incredibly compelling is that they dealt specifically with times and seasons—not only times and seasons and famine, and not only times and seasons concerning kingdoms and empires, but even in Nebuchadnezzar’s second dream we find the subject of times and seasons mentioned as well, for the subject of his being given unto the field and the mind of a beast had an appointed time to it. We dare not and must not miss the awesome importance of this, for the entire Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel deals with times and seasons—and not only times and seasons, but also that which has been appointed and ordained by the living God.

            The more you read and the more you study this prophetic book the more you will encounter and come face to face with the awesome reality that it deals exclusively and primarily with the appointment of times and seasons which have been ordained by the living God. As early as the second chapter we find this concept of times and seasons ordained and appointed by the living God in the realm of kingdoms and empires which would emerge and rise up upon the face of the earth. It would be unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon the LORD would reveal a glimpse of the times and seasons which had been ordained upon the earth, as the statue and image found in his dream concerned the kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the face of the earth—each which would have its own appointed time of dominion and authority upon the earth. It would be unto Nebuchadnezzar this dream would be given, and it would be Daniel who would reveal unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon that this image and dream represented the succession of kingdoms and empires that would emerge upon the face of the earth before the LORD of heaven would destroy all the kingdoms of men and would set up His eternal kingdom upon the earth which would rule and reign over all. Even the second dream which Nebuchadnezzar would have dealt with the appointed times and seasons ordained by God, for Nebuchadnezzar’s being driven away from the palace and away from the kingdom and empire would have an appointed time which was ordained by the living God. How incredibly intriguing it is to think about the fact that Nebuchadnezzar’s first dream would deal with the appointed times and seasons ordained by the living God concerning kingdoms and empires, while his second dream would deal—not only with the living God dealing with the pride and arrogance found within his heart, but also the appointed time and season that was ordained for him to bring him to the place where he would acknowledge that the LORD alone is supreme and sovereign over all kingdoms, all dominions, all thrones, all nations, and all peoples upon the face of the earth. What’s more, is that when you come to the fifth chapter of this prophetic book you will find this concept of appointed times and seasons mentioned again—this time, however, with Belshazzar, the son of Nebuchadnezzar. Consider if you will the following words which are found in the fifth chapter of this prophetic book of Daniel beginning with the eighteenth verse:

            “O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour: and for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would set up; and whom he would he put down. But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him: and he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will. And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, thou thou knewest all this; but hast lifted up thyself against the LORD of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, and thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MEN, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. TEKEL: Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians. Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. IN that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about three-score and two years old” (Daniel 5:18-31).

            If you consider the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall you will find that it speaks of this concept and reality of the appointed times and seasons of God, for the very first word “MENE,” carries with it the interpretation of how God had numbered the kingdom of Belshazzar and finished it. What’s more, is that not only had God numbered the kingdom of Belshazzar and finished it, but God had also numbered the kingdom of Babylon and had finished it as well. The handwriting on the wall was a powerful statement and declaration that the appointed time of the LORD’s visitation upon the kingdom of Babylon had come, and that the LORD would now rise up in judgment and wrath against it, and would raise up another kingdom and empire in its place. It was the LORD alone who was responsible for raising up kingdoms, nations and empires—a reality which was revealed unto Nebuchadnezzar. It would be unto this earthly, Gentile and heathen king the LORD would reveal the secret of kingdoms and empires—and not only kingdoms and empires, but also of appointed times and seasons. We must pay close and careful attention to this awesome reality, for the handwriting on the wall not only spoke of the days and time of the kingdom of Babylon coming to an end, but also of the rise and emergence of another kingdom and empire in its place. What’s more, is that Nebuchadnezzar—despite it being revealed unto him concerning kingdoms and empires which would rise up in the midst of the earth after Babylon—would not know who or what kingdom and empire would emerge in the earth after that of Babylon. It would, however, be during the days of his son that the name of this kingdom and empire would be revealed, for it would be unto Belshazzar Daniel would reveal that his kingdom would be divided and given into the hands the Medes and the Persians. Nebuchadnezzar would not see, nor would he know the names of the kingdoms and empires that would emerge on the scene after Babylon, but his son would not only hear the name of that kingdom and empire that would rise up in the place of Babylon, but he would also be slain by that kingdom and empire. On the same night the handwriting on the wall appeared Belshazzar would be slain, and Darius the Mede would take the kingdom of Babylon and would begin ruling and reigning over it.

            I sit here today thinking about and contemplating this awesome reality of appointed times and seasons, and I can’t help but be drawn into and captivated by the fact that it would be during the days of Belshazzar where the LORD would reveal unto him the appointed times and seasons of Babylon, and would even reveal and speak unto him of Babylon’s end. It would be unto Belshazzar king of Babylon that the days of Babylon and its dominion and authority upon the earth would come to an end, as it would be succeeded by an empire that would be inferior to it. On the same night the handwriting on the wall appeared and manifested in the palace of the king after he and all those who were with him drank wine from the sacred and holy vessels of the living God, as well as praised the gods of gold, silver, wood, stone, brass and iron, the kingdom and empire of the Babylonians would be brought to an end and finished. It would be on that night the Medes and Persians would rise up into a place of authority upon the face of the earth, as they would exercise their dominion and government upon the face of the earth. The fifth chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel would end and conclude with Darius the Mede taking the city of Babylon—and not only taking the city of Babylon, but taking the entire kingdom itself. It would be on this night one king would be slain and deposed, and another king would be raised up in his place. We cannot read the prophetic book of Daniel without coming to the knowledge and understanding of the appointed times and seasons which have been ordained by the one true and living God, for it is the LORD of hosts who sets up kingdoms and empires—and not only sets them up, but also determines their appointed time of dominion within the earth, as well as the appointed time of their destruction. THE APPOINTED TIMES OF DOMINION AND DESTRUCTION! The handwriting on the wall is a powerful demonstration and declaration concerning the appointed time of the dominion and destruction of Babylon, for in one night the dominion of Babylon would come to an end, and the destruction of it within the earth would take place in one single night. It would be in one single night—the same night the handwriting of heaven appeared on the wall of the palace of the king—that the kingdom of Babylon would come to an end, and the kingdom of the Medes and Persians would emerge and rise upon the face of the earth.

            As surely and as certainly as the prophetic book of Daniel would deal with appointed times and seasons, it would also deal with kingdoms and empires seeking to exercise their dominion and control over worship and prayer. If and as you read the third and sixth chapters of this prophetic book you will find two distinct examples of an assault that would be made on the worship of the one true and living God, as well as the assault that would be made on prayer before and unto the God of heaven and earth. We cannot read this prophetic book without encountering the tremendous truth that during the days of Nebuchadnezzar there would be an assault on the worship of the one true and living God—and not only on the worship of the one true and living God, but also the worship of any god whom the nations and peoples within the province of Babylon worshipped. Nebuchadnezzar demanded that any who heard the sound of music would fall down and worship the golden image he had made and set up in the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon, and during the days of Darius the Mede a decree would be issued that anyone who prayed to anyone save the king alone would be cast alive into the den of lions. It would be these two realities I am absolutely and completely convinced must be carefully understood and considered, for what we find within these two chapters is a powerful picture of an assault on two of the core and fundamental principles and practices among the saints of God—namely, worship of the one true and living God, and prayer before and unto Him. We cannot and must not miss and lose sight of this awesome reality, for to do so would be to miss what the LORD is speaking concerning the days and generations in which we are living, for what we find in our days and generation is an assault on the core and fundamental principles of the divine word of God, as well as on prayer and worship before the living God. There is not a doubt in my mind that what we see and what we find in these two chapters is a powerful picture of the spirit of the antichrist working in the midst of kingdoms and empires to directly assault the worship of the one true and living God among His saints, as well as their freedom to pray before and unto the living God. What’s more, is that when you come to the sixth chapter of this prophetic book  you will find Daniel not only completely disregarding the decree and edict of the king, but you will find him opening his windows toward Jerusalem and kneeling down before and praying unto the LORD his God three times a day. Even after hearing the decree of the king, and even after knowing what the penalty for disobeying the decree of the king was, Daniel refused to compromise his relationship with the one true and living God, and chose to continue praying before and seeking Him—not once, not twice, but three times a day.

As I prepare to bring this writing to a close I feel it absolutely necessary and imperative to call and draw our attention to the tremendous truth that you cannot read the first six chapters of the prophetic book of Daniel without encountering a God who is not only sovereign over kingdoms and empires, but who is also sovereign over the times and seasons of men. Perhaps one of the single greatest truths concerning history is that it revolves around that which has been ordained and appointed by the one true and living God, and even history itself is divided by the life of Jesus the Christ. You cannot have a conversation about time and history without talking about the appointed times and seasons ordained by the living God, as well as recognize that history itself has at the very center of it the life, the death, the burial, the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus the Christ. When we speak about the appointed times and seasons we must recognize that it not only applies to our lives as individuals and as the saints of God, but it also applies to nations, to kingdoms, to empires, to peoples, and to everything that has ever taken place and will ever take place within human history. What’s more, is that the living and eternal God is absolutely and completely sovereign over the appointed times and seasons within each and every one of our lives, as well as over the nations, kingdoms and empires of the earth. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not truly recognize and understand the sovereignty of the living God over the times and seasons within our lives, and whether or not we completely and utterly surrender ourselves to that sovereignty and yield ourselves to His wisdom, for at the very heart of the sovereignty of God is His wisdom and His omniscience in not only knowing the end from the beginning, but also ordaining and appointing the events of history.

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