Nebuchadnezzar's Golden Image
1Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 6And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego[B]
8Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 9They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. 10Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: 11And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
13Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.14Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?
16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
The Fiery Furnace
19Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
24Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. 26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27And 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.
28Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, 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. 29Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.
The dimensions Nebuchadnezzar's golden image has the same proportions of most obelisks including the Washington monument.
Nebuchadnezzar's image was 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide. So its height was 10 times larger than its base. The Washington monument's height is also 10 times larger than its base.
Monument Height: 555' 5.125"
Monument Width: 55' 1.5"
Could Nebuchadnezzar's image been an obelisk?
It is interesting that Daniel recorded its dimensions. Could Daniel (God) been trying to tell us something?
Daniel > Belteshazzar
Hananiah > Shadrach
Mishael > Meshach
Azariah > Abednego
Nebuchadnezzar Confesses God's Kingdom
1Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. 2I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.
3How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.
Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of a Great Tree
4I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: 5I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 6Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream. 7Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. 8But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying, 9O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods[A] is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof.
10Thus 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.
11The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:
12The 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.
13I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;
14He 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:
15Nevertheless 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:
16Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
17This matter is by the decree of the watchers, 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.
18This 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 Interprets the Second Dream
19Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies. 20The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; 21Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: 22It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. 23And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Hew the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof 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 of the field, till seven times pass over him; 24This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king: 25That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.26And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. 27Wherefore, 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 tranquillity.
The Second Dream Fulfilled
28All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar. 29At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. 30The 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? 31While 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. 32And 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. 33The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: 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 grown like eagles' feathers, and his nails like birds' claws.
34And 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:
35And 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?
36At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellers and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37Now 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.
Nebuchadnezzar's god was Ba'al. Ba'al means 'the lord'. Today people still call God 'the lord'.
They say "Hear O Israel, the lord is our god" instead of "Hear O Israel, Yahuah is our god", erasing and replacing our God's name with a generic title.
Derived from Semitic ba'al meaning "lord" or "possessor". This was the name of various local deities, often associated with storms and fertility, who were worshipped by the Canaanites, Phoenicians, and other peoples of the ancient Near East.
[A] Notice how the translators used spirit of the holy GODS instead of spirit of the holy GOD. This is possibly another example of translator bias trying to 'prove' the trinity with their pen.
The Hebrew word 'elohim' is like our English word 'deer'. Both words can be singular or plural. I could say:
"The hunter shot a deer" or;
"There were deer in our backyard this morning"
The first statement being singular and the second statement meaning plural.
The English standard version of the Bible recognizes this and offers an alternate translation as shown below.
Knowing this. How would you translate this verse? Who did Nebuchadnezzar believe Daniel's god was? Is there translator bias?
False Understanding of Prophecy
Many sincere people have searched the scriptures, looking for the time that Yahusha would return. There is no inherit harm of this. Daniel even tried to understand how long Israel's captivity would be based on Jeremiah's prophecy. Our Lord and master even rebuked the pharisees for not understanding the times they were living in by saying:
"When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times? (Matthew 16:2-3)
The pharisees were rebuked for not understanding the times they lived in. How much more in error would we be, if we not only didn't understand, but never even tried to discern the times we lived in.
Nevertheless, despite people's sincerity, no one has been able to pinpoint the date of Yahusha's return. People have quit their jobs and sold everything they owned, believing the Messiah's return was imminent. When they were wrong and they found out Yahusha was not coming back at the time they thought, many people were humiliated and worse yet some lost faith.
What they should have done was admitted there error, taken any humiliation sent their way, but continue to search the scriptures. Unfortunately instead of admitting their error many clung to their beliefs with white knuckles. They couldn't be wrong. The scriptures must have been fulfilled in a way they didn't recognize it they thought.
This has led to even greater error and we will be discussing many of these errors over time.
To start let's look at the Jehovah's Witnesses belief of 1914. This is in no way an attack against Jehovah's Witnesses. The reason we are starting with them is because a belief they hold comes from the chapter we are currently reading (Daniel chapter 4).
I agree with the majority of Jehovah's Witnesses beliefs, but it is still my duty to point out errors, especially if it leads to other doctrinal errors.
Again, many denominations have gotten this wrong, not just Jehovah's Witnesses. This is not about them. This is about training ourselves as students of God's word so we can understand where these teachings come from and how we can teach others all truth. As we learn we will see that many of the end time calculations used by different denominations are very similar to each other.
Jehovah's Witnesses believed Yahusha was going to return in 1914. They got this date from Daniel chapter 4. They believed Nebuchadnezzar's tree being cut down also represented Israel's throne or kingship being removed when they were taken to Babylon. They believed the tree being 'restored' also meant that Israel's kingship would be restored by a king that God would choose (Yahusha).
So now that we have a basic understanding on what Jehovah's Witnesses believe, let's read a shortened version of his dream again.
10Thus 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.
11The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, ... and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven...and said...
Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, ....
15Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass....
16Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. (A 'time' is a year. so seven times is seven years)
The Jehovah's Witnesses focus on the phrase 'let seven times pass over him'.
When Daniel interpretted the dream he states:
24This is the interpretation, O king...25That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field...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.26And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.'
The tree, or Nebuchadnezzar was cut down, but not destroyed, and preserved with a band of iron and brass.
At the end of 7 years Nebuchadnezzar stated: 34And 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.
So we see this prophecy was about Nebuchadnezzar and the prophecy was fulfilled. The only debate is if this prophecy is supposed to be fulfilled twice (a dual prophecy).
The Bible has many physical events that have a spiritual meaning behind them (ex. the passover lamb); however, I do not believe many prophecies will be physically fulfilled twice.
When Nebuchadnezzar became as a beast for 7 years, that prophecy was physically fulfilled. If that prophecy also represented Yahusha's physical return then that would mean the prophecy had a dual physical fulfillment.
The Date Calculation
Babylon was destroyed around 607 B.C., which is the date Jehovah's Witnesses use for Babylon's Destruction.
In prophecy a day often represents one year. So if you were given a prophecy that there was a 7 day famine coming, you might interpret that the famine would last 7 years instead of 7 days. This is called the 'day for year principle'.
I believe in the 'day for year principle', but I don't think we should apply it to every prophecy, including Nebuchadnezzar's dream of a tree.
In Nebuchadnezzar's dream, the tree was to be cut down for 7 times (7 years), and they start the timer when Babylon was destroyed in 607 B.C.
The average year in Israel had 360 days.(Except for when they had a 13th "leap" month)
If the tree was to be cut down for 7 years then...
7 times 360 = 2520
2520 would be the number of days in 7 years, which represents 2520 prophetic years (to them).
We then Subtract 607, the date Babylon was destroyed, from 2520, coming to 1913.
We then add one year to this, leaving us at the year 1914. The date Jehovah's Witnesses thought Yahusha would return.
The reason we add a year at the end is because there is no such thing as 0 B.C. or 0 A.D. The time went from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. not from 1 B.C. to 0 B.C. and then to 1 A.D. Likewise the time from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D. is 1 year not 2, so we have to add a year to account for the fact that there is no 0 B.C.
So there you have it. That is the 1914 doctrine in a nutshell.
As I mentioned earlier, the correct thing to do at 1914 when Yahusha didn't return would have been to admit your error and move on, continuing to study the scriptures.
Again, I am not bashing Jehovah's Witnesses. They love and serve the One True God, Yahuah (Jehovah) just like I do.
We need to know the times we live in, but we also must be careful with date setting and also be careful about quitting our job, selling our house, and stopping to have children based on 'a date Yahusha is going to return.
Many people use the 1914 doctrine to try and claim Jehovah's Witnesses are false prophets. Jehovah's Witnesses are not false prophets. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A false prophet is someone who states God told them in a dream that Yahusha was coming back on a certain date and says "Thus says the lord!, Jesus is coming back at Superbowl 2018, now repent you cowboys and cheeseheads and be saved!"
That is a false prophet, not misinterpreting scripture.
As we continue to read the scriptures, pray for discernment and the wisdom to understand the truth.