The Scriptures speak with one voice. It is the voice of God. However, there seems to be some confusion as to the Gospel purpose behind the Word of the Lord. The Apostle writes to Timothy and to us, by the Spirit, as to the Purpose of the Scriptures.
Herein lies the reason for Gods Word.
The Word "doctrine" is the Hebrew word leqach . It is translated as doctrine, learning and fair speech and is taken from the root word laqach  which means to take, receive bring or fetch. In the New Testament we see the word doctrine as didache  which is also translated as teaching. What is fascinating about this is that the word translated as Master, didaskalos  identifying the Lord Jesus, is taken directly from didache. Therefore, we may infer that the word for doctrine and master are intimately related. The fact is, the teaching of the Scriptures is FIRSTLY of the MASTER. This is the reason for God putting the word Doctrine first in Pauls list concerning the use of Holy Scripture. The scriptures are all about Christ, who is Himself the Doctrine of GOD.
Of course the reason for Holy Scripture is also for our reproof and correction as it instructs us in walking with, and properly before God. This we see as the practical reasons for Holy Writ.
The focus however, of these studies, is to see Christ in all the Scriptures. In order to see Christ, we must look for Christ. Moreover, we must be shown Christ, and only God can reveal Christ in all the scriptures.
The Reason for Writing Nebuchadnezzar
About three years ago I attended a Bible conference featuring a faithful bible teacher and respectable man of God.
The topic was Nebuchadnezzar.
For the entire duration of the conference, which consisted of some 6 hours of lectures, Nebuchadnezzar, and chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the book of Daniel, were expounded in such a way as to identify Nebuchadnezzar as anti Christ or the personification of satan. It was not so much that the general principles discussed at the conference were in error, but rather the application of the scriptures were faulty to the extent of reinterpreting the Bible. The application was twisted in such a way as to prove and reinforce the idea that Nebuchadnezzar is a type of the fallen angel of destruction, satan. While following the logic of the lectures I began to notice a consistent misinterpretation of basic Bible texts and a misappropriation of biblical principles. The Bible was no longer being used as its own dictionary and commentary. Superstition and mans ideas had superceded the Truth of Gods Word. For example:
This passage was expounded to prove that base men will finally be set up over the kingdom of God as satan rules in the final days. Yet, when we realize that the kingdom of God is a synonym for the body of Christ and the saints and is also representative of the Church, we know that this kind of interpretation is inaccurate. Furthermore, when we compare the Scriptural language, we find that it is the elect of God who become saints by divine decree who are called the basest of men. The Apostle writes,
The believers are dramatically in view in these verses. The Word here for chosen is the word election. When we compare this precept with Daniel 4:17 we see the intention of God. God sets up as the rulers of the kingdom the base, elected ones. These are those who are base, in and of themselves, and yet the Spirits of Just men made perfect by and in Christ.
God, therefore, in no way in this passage of Daniel, is saying that He will give over the kingdom to unsaved men. Unsaved, wicked men may assault the kingdom, but God never undoes what He has done, i.e. setting up His People to rule over His kingdom. The saints are a kingdom of Priests and Kings and shall tread upon serpents and scorpions. It was in the exposition of this text of Daniel that I began to see some serious misinterpretation and misappropriation of Scripture. We must remember that the Kingdom of Christ is already set up here upon the earth as a result of the Victory of the Cross. His dominion is an everlasting dominion and He is the Sovereign King NOW.
What was even more disturbing as I listened to this bible expositor, was that while I followed along in my own Bible, I began to notice margin notes (which I had made years before) which were diametrically opposed to the conclusions being drawn by the teacher. I was beside myself. The issue became one of fundamental importance.
Who was this King Nebuchadnezzar?
Was he a type of God or Satan?
Upon returning to my duties as pastor, I was plagued by these thoughts. Was I to heed the counsel of some of my most trusted companions and bury the issue as to not stir controversy, or was I to follow on through greater personal study, to know the truth? I decided to bury the issue.
However, after 3 long months, I could no longer hold my peace. I had been studying the Scriptures with passion and became increasingly more and more convinced that Nebuchadnezzar depicted certain aspects of God, and especially the Atoning Lord Jesus in Daniel Chapter 4. In comparing Scripture with Scripture, and by using solid Biblical Logic and Precepts, I was certain that my conclusions were faithful to the truth.
I was then determined to speak.
At that time, I began to question other traditionally accepted premises, and one by one placed them into the fiery furnace of the Scriptures to see if they were truth or error. I can tell you that at the time I was deeply concerned. I was concerned both for myself and for my brethren under my ministry. I hoped that my brethren would also question and plunge into the Scriptures, see the truth and be courageous enough to dismiss any foreign doctrine as acceptable truth, no matter how strongly tradition applauded it. In doing this they may be subject to being labeled heretics.
I was also greatly concerned for myself, that I was about to place myself under great scrutiny and undergo some of the most difficult years in my pastoral ministration because I was questioning some commonly held precepts of the Scriptures. Yet, I was fueled to know, "What saith the Scriptures?"
At that time I was presently engaged in a series of lectures during our Friday evening Bible studies at the Church on the Book of Job. We had moved into the verse which identified Job as a servant of God. It was from this text that I began to take opportunity to discuss Nebuchadnezzar. The lectures on Job also caused me to re-evaluate the doctrine of satan.
Who was satan?
I was always taught one thing, and made to believe certain acceptable notions of him as a fallen created angel, yet who or what was this adversary? Certainly, if he was a fallen angelic being, then how could God be concerned that he would take Jobs life when life and death are reserved only for God? cf Deut 32:39 The mere fact that God often personifies satan in Scripture, of itself can lead none to the conclusion that satan is a being. God personifies many things in the Scriptures that are not beings.
I needed to know. I prayed that I would know.
Being the undershepherd of Gods flock at the Reformed Bible Church of Suffolk County, could I afford not to know?
Could I stand in the pulpit week after week admonishing the people of God that the Scriptures are the rule and not search them myself thoroughly for all that they say?
This I could not do in right conscience.
I needed to know and was commanded to communicate what I had studied and concluded. It was a very frightening time.
Providence, along with Scriptural study, helped me to know what I needed to do. I was reading, at this time, various biographies of some of the great thinkers and philosophers of history most of whom were Christian men. I learned that the common belief in the days of Martin Luther was that the sun revolved around the earth. The position of the Church then was that if any denied this so called truth, they were counted as an heretic and promptly excommunicated. Everyone knew that the earth was the center of the universe. Even Gods world declared it to be so. According to Luther, Psalm 113.3 proved it. "From the rising of the sun unto the going down of the same, the LORDs name is to be praised."
This was clear language. The sun moved and the earth remained stationary. Secondly, Luther (and most others of his day) concluded from the account of Joshua 10:13, that in order for the sun to stand still it must be first moving. Therefore, it must be moving around the earth. Of course we laugh now at all this but this was serious business back then in the theological community. There were great consequences for those who went against commonly accepted so called Christian truths. One man who denied that this tradition, was Galileo. For that he paid dearly. The point being, is that we must be careful how we read Gods Word.
"Take heed therefore HOW YE HEAR:"
In this example, man used the Scriptures to make the earth the center of all things. Man still does that today. He places himself as the center of all things. We must see the physical sun as the center of the universe and the earth revolving around it, even as the Sun Who rises with healing in His wings is the center of all things, and those from the dust of the ground who are earthy, revolve around Him.
These lectures are expressly taken from those preached from the pulpit at the Reformed Bible Church of Suffolk County some years ago. It has been my desire to put these propositions into print form, that all may read and hear the entire argument from the Word of God and consider whether these things are so. Each of the lectures were transcribed verbatim in order for me to maintain the flow of thought and progression on paper as it was from the pulpit. I then proceeded to rewrite and refine each lecture, adding and editing some of the material to form a more cohesive and harmonious unity. I thought it also edifying and needful to include the prayers that began and ended each lecture. The important thing here to note is that it was not until years after the spoken lectures that I undertook the project of rewriting the series on Nebuchadnezzar. This provided a great benefit. After completing the lectures from the pulpit, I was then able in subsequent years to contemplate more of the various propositions and refine them by further study of Gods Word.
What you have here in the printed form varies quite a bit from the spoken sermons, yet, it maintains the main premise and argument. I have added much to the text in the way of literal translations and many corroborating verses desiring to be as comprehensive and exhaustive as possible. I believe these additions only prove to augment the conclusions which I have come to concerning this important figure of the Scriptures.
One difficulty I faced in the pulpit, while presenting these arguments, was the constant interruption of overzealous audience members. I was constantly taken from my concentration and thrust onto tangents which only proved to confuse, if not lose, the point that I was so urgently trying to make. Because of these interruptions, I was unable to sufficiently lay down fundamental precepts so as to develop my conclusions. Many of these poor souls were so traditionalized by what they had been taught that they had forgotten how to think and how to come to Biblical conclusions based on Biblical facts. The result was disastrous. Often some in the audience would insight others into becoming an angry mob. This was unfortunate. There was great vehement contention against simply considering an argument against a well- known and traditionally accepted thesis. Many in my congregation left in hatred against me and proved themselves to be less than kind in their exodus.
(I believe this problem of blatant unchristian conduct and malice amidst the theological and Christian community is of epidemic proportion. Throughout this ordeal there was manifested before my very eyes the wolves of antichrist who knew not the proper manner in which to conduct themselves in the face of disagreements yet proclaimed themselves guides to the blind and teachers of the babes.) I knew that in order to lay out the whole of the argument carefully and methodically, I would need no interruptions. Therefore, I am thankful for this opportunity to place these propositions in written form. I must admit, however, that even the interruptions and constant oppositions coupled with the letters of hatred and slander proved to be a great assistance to me in grappling with those hard questions. If there is one thing I have learned by the Grace of God, is that we should never be afraid to ask even the hardest of questions. Moreover, we should never be afraid to search the Scriptures for answers to those questions..
I am eternally thankful to my gracious God and Saviour Who has upheld me in all my trials and tribulations. Deserving of none of His benefits or blessings, He has truly been my loving Father, and I His disobedient and slothful son. Throughout all my pastoring and studying He has remained immutably my constant guide and eternal light. In all His dealing with me, even in His chastisements, He has never been harsh. Truly, He is the Good and Kind Shepherd of Israel.
I am also eternally grateful for my loving and devoted wife, Jane. She is forever proving to me that God has given her to me as a divine gift and a needful helpmate. None will ever replace her. Her devotion to God out shines mine an hundred fold, and I am both humbled and exhorted by it.
She shows the Strength of God, the Reality of Christ and the Compassion of the Spirit in a way few experience. Also, I am thankful for my children, Jessica, Rebekah and Christian who have given me showers of unconditional love and encouragement throughout this pilgrimage. To be taught by the simplicity of my children is a rich and profound experience, one that will last as long as I live, and one that is forever settled in Heaven.
I extend also my thanks to my God for my devoted secretary Patty, who has logging hundreds of hours transcribing and proof reading these sermons and lectures so I would be able to easily edit and refine them for the edification of Gods people. She never complained nor diminished in her zeal in the work, as she knew they were unto the glory of God and the good of His people. I will ever be grateful to her for her help, without which completion of this work would have seemed impossible.
I must go on to give thanks to God for the many Brethren (both of the RBC and those from afar) who challenged me, in love, and devotion to truth, that I may see more of Gods truth by standing upon their shoulders as they ceaselessly studied Gods word.
Furthermore, I thank God for the Congregation at the RBC, who have loved me with such an undying love that I will never forget. I pray the LORDs eternal blessing upon them that they may be mightily used of God unto the praise of the Glory of His grace.
Finally, I thank God for all those who are not afraid to search the scriptures. For in Them we find Life. And that Life is Christ.
One other thought. During that conference, I approached the instructor to ask him to consider another view of Nebuchadnezzar. Since all the Scriptures declared Him, where was He in such a figure as Nebuchadnezzar? I desired an opportunity to quietly and privately present an alternative argument to the one he had given. I was flatly refused and never given proper audience.
This work is that argument.
I pray it is given proper audience and consideration.
May God bless you as you consider this work.
May it be a blessing and a tool for the Kingdom of God for His eternal Praises and Glory. Amen.
Paul Michael Raymond, s.s.
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