Our Father in Heaven, we bow our hearts before Thee this evening, recognizing that Thou art God and that Thou art the high and the lofty One. And our Father, let us be ever reminded, by the Spirit, and by the Word of Truth, that Thou art a perfect God, the high and lofty One, the One who is excellent and holy, and the One who inhabitest all eternity. And therefore, our Father, we must understand that Thou art not like men but Thou art just. Therefore, our Father, let us beseech of Thee, in order to learn of Thee, and to know of the majesty that is reserved only for Christ. Let the titles of honor be reserved only for Thine own self, Thy great majesty, reign and dominion. Thou givest Thine own self such titles which are high lofty, and are reserved for Thee alone. Let not man take upon themselves a title of nobility, let them not take upon themselves the title of purity, let them not take upon the titles of majesty unto themselves, for they are not worthy, only Christ, God Himself, Thine own self, oh Father art worthy. Therefore, Heavenly Father, as the Scriptures declare, let them declare unto us the majesty of Christ. Our Father, these things we ask, as Thou would be with us in our study this evening, as we to the Scriptures with great diligence, praying that Thy Spirit would cause us to seek truth through the Word of truth . Our Heavenly Father, we pray this that we might be faithful to Thy Word to decree and to declare no other doctrine. Our Father, these things we ask in the Name of Christ our Saviour. Amen.
Together we’ve been looking at the book of Job, and have found God’s Sovereign dealings with a particular man. Here, God ordains, and prescribes, a great trial of affliction and adversity upon him. On the outset, one might think that some disobedience, or iniquity, found in Job brings about this trial of affliction, and destitution. And yet, God Himself declares the contrary by the many mighty and glorious things concerning this man.
“There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, one that feared God and eschewed evil.”
To the natural mind, one might be confused and wonder what God is doing. How could Holy and Righteous God prescribe such a trial of affliction upon one who was beloved of God?
Firstly, we must ask, “What is the plan of God concerning Job”? Secondly, “How we may profit from this historical parable?”
We know that because the Word of God, which is the Holy Word of Truth, is so vast and so deep there are a great many things to be learned, and a great many blessings to be realized. We know also that there are great plateaus upon which God teaches His people. We must reflect upon both the Spiritual and Gospel implications, as well as the pragmatic realities. Only in this way we will profit greatly from God’s Word.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness...”
2 Tim 3:16
Doctrine: The Word of God is all encompassing and deals with both spiritual realities as well as realities which concern us in this life.
We know also that although many of these truths are wonderful, they are also often quite hard to understand, let alone embrace. Since the Word of God is the two edged sword, which teaches us, and seeks even by the Spirit’s power to pierce us, so that we might be broken of our self- righteousness before God, we can expect some hard lessons. The essential and universal need of all of God’s people is that we might be broken of our own pride in order to rely more upon the Lord Jesus.
The reliance upon Christ is not one of independence, nor is it one of interdependence, but rather one of total dependence upon Him.
For, without Him, we can do nothing. We must also be advised that we can never merit any worth or grace by our own hand. Salvation comes only by the Sovereign work of The Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is in Him, and by Him, alone, that we find salvation. He is the only way unto the Father. This is a constant and foundational principle in which the Word of our Sovereign is ever careful to remind us of.
When we look to the Scriptures we find a myriad of precepts both spiritual and pragmatic. The Scriptures are profitable for all, not only to solidify right theological doctrine, but practical reproof, correction and training in the righteousness of the Christian life. Therefore we can again be certain that the whole of God’s word is of a practical importance as well as a declaration of Spiritual Gospel Truths.
The Word teaches that the truth of both heaven and earth, therefore it is profitable as our guide for moral and Christian ethics. It is God’s will and intention that we, who are redeemed by divine blood, conduct our lives in a Godly fashion, and not after the rudiments of this world. Therefore, the Word of God is the Truth whereby we might regulate our lives thereby. In doing this, by the Power and the Grace of our God, we realize a great many blessings associated with obedience.
Even in the case of those who do not love the Lord, if they were to follow after the ethical and moral principles of the Scriptures, they too would be blessed in a natural fashion. However, this is not the ultimate purpose of the Scriptures. Simply to live harmoniously with the ethical precepts does not make us Christians.
Many in that day will say, “Lord, Lord have we not done all these mighty, moral things in thy name.” (My paraphrase)
cf Matt 7:22
In response to this the Savior declares that these works of supposed righteousness, without the faith unto true believing, are nothing. In Luke’s account we read language of a similar nature.
“When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut the door, and ye begin to stand without, and knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us;’ and he shall answer and say unto you, ‘I know you not whence ye are.’ Then shall ye begin to say,’ We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets.’ But he shall say, ‘I tell you, I know you not whence ye are, depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.’”
These folks identified with the Lord’s Supper, the Christian Church and the Lord Christ, by an outward fashion of good works and deeds, according to righteousness. Yet, they had never been converted. Theirs was a form without the substance. The Scriptures never profited them unto conviction and conversion, but was a mere moral and ethical exercise. These souls had missed the Spiritual thrust of the Gospel of Christ and the Grace of God.
Therefore, the Eternal and Principle reason for the Scriptures is to declare the glory, the majesty, and the grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ, in order that mankind might be found altogether sinful and their works. And that these works, thereof, are regarded as nothing without the Spirit of Christ indwelling.
The Fundamental Reason For All Things
The reason for which anything exists is for the Glory and the good pleasure of God.
“Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive honor and power: for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created.”
The word for pleasure is the Greek word, thelema , which literally means will or desire. It infers those desires or wishes which God has determined shall be done. It is taken from the root word thelo, which means intention. Therefore, we must conclude, that the reason for the creation, and the reason for the way the world is formatted, and the way our bodies are structured, and the way affliction comes, and the way providence is orchestrated, etc., are done for one purpose alone. That purpose is for His will, pleasure, and Glory. That will and purpose is to reveal the Grace of God in the face of Jesus Christ. This is the fundamental reason why things are. The entire meaning of existence, and life, is found in this principle.
Doctrine: The General Revelation of God, (i.e. the Creation itself and all providence) declares the Glory of God.
But what about the specific revelation of God as it is contained in His Holy Word? Logically, it moreover, must declare, in no uncertain, and in very detailed and specific terms, the grace and the glory of God in the Face of the Lord Jesus Christ. This again is foundational to understanding the Word of God.
“Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have life; but they are they which testify of Me.”
“Lo, I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me...”
Doctrine: God’s Word is the Specific Declaration of the Lord Jesus Christ.
THE DECLARATION OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
It’s not very difficult to remember that the overall, and underlying, truth of Holy Scripture is the declaration of Jesus Christ.
“In the beginning was the WORD, and the word was with God and the word was God... the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.”
“For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
1 Corinthians 2.2
It is this Word, the Bible, which is the living Word. It is the complete and living declaration of Jesus Christ.
Another identifying title of the Scriptures overall, is that it is the Prophesy of God. It’s a prophetic book. To be prophetic is to tell forth of a thing. Usually, it is the telling forth of a thing, which is to come. Yet, we must understand that to prophesy is to declare. To be a prophet also infers one whom has been illuminated by God unto certain truths of a Spiritual and Gospel nature. The whole of the Bible is a prophetic book given to us from God, in order to testify of God. The entire thrust of the whole of God’s Word is Christ.
In Revelation l9:l0b God clearly states that the prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ.
“...for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of Prophesy.”
Therefore, it must follow, that on every page of the Bible, we must find (and we will find) truths concerning Jesus Christ. His person, His work, His majesty, His glory, His love, the Cross and how we as a people fit in will all be evident in the many verses and chapters of Holy writ. Never should we be surprised when God takes us through a path in the Scriptures, no matter how obscure, in order to declare Himself. This is the purpose of the Scriptures, i.e. to thoroughly declare the many facets of the Christ of God.
There is another rule to consider.
The word of God is NOT OF ANY PRIVATE INTERPRETATION. It is of this principle that we all need some reminding. If this is not our rule, then we will invariably tend to interpret the Truth by presuppositions of tradition and worldly wisdom. Private interpretation will never afford us any truth, but will only foster confusion and lies.
“And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.”
1 Corinthians 14:32-33
We find in this verse, that the apostle is warning us to be regulated by the Scriptures. We may read this verse this way in commentary:
“And the spirits of the prophets (i.e. the children of God throughout all time) are subject, (i.e. must be regulated fully, in complete subordination) to the prophets, (i.e. the Writers of the Holy Scriptures who are the Prophets of God writing by inspiration). This will insure proper interpretation and peace in the churches.
This admonition is very useful in any day. Therefore, it is a Universal principle of Biblical interpretation. If I, or any Bible teacher, stand before you and interprets the Bible in an arbitrary or personal way, we can only produce untruths and inaccuracy. We must never do this. This kind of interpretation is a fundamental violation of the rule of Scripture. It is a violation of all Biblical principles. This action is, furthermore, very likely to bring us upon the very threshold of damnable heresies at worse, and great confusion at best. The nature of interpreting the Scriptures from our own mind is very dangerous. I cannot stress this enough.
Because of the nature man, pride desires not to search out the whole truth, but merely a portion, which rests comfortably with the sinful nature. This, in and of itself, is a damnable and destructive action. Now, this is not to say we don’t make mistakes. It does not infer that we are immune to the declaration of erroneous doctrines. We are extremely fallible and prone to all manner of heresies. But by God’s mercy, God guides us. We must be very humble in constant prayer and confession that we, knowing nothing of ourselves, might receive Truth. That’s why we pray “Lord, help me to understand. I want to understand; I don’t want to speak something that’s misleading; I want to only find the true doctrines and declare the doctrines that glorify Christ.”
Principle: Once we see that the doctrine we conclude with, glorifies ONLY Christ, we can then know for certain that we have found truth. When a doctrine glorifies anything other than Christ or allows the creature some share in the glory, then we know we have strayed from truth.
If you go to a church, and the Pastor, or the teacher, or the Elder, or the Deacon, or whoever, declares a doctrine whereby mankind somehow, in some way, can be given any merit whatsoever, we can know immediately that there are problems with that doctrine.
Principle: Any doctrine, which gives some portion of salvation or merit to mankind, surely is wrong doctrine.
This wrong, heretical lie, if not checked, will lead to damnation, especially if it is an issue of Salvation by Grace vs. salvation by works. Anything that does not glorify God entirely, and exhaustively, will lead to destruction.
“No flesh shall glory in His presence.
1 Corinthians 1.29
“...As it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
1 Corinthians 1.31
This means precisely what it says. That no works of the flesh, whatsoever, can bring glory to God. We must consider that in a very real way. Everything we do is ultimately a work of the flesh, if it is done out of wrong motivation. Even if we obey the Laws of God out of our own strength to merit favor with the Almighty, we have fallen prey to a works-righteousness mentality. If these deeds of righteousness become our hope and merit, whereby the soul trusts that it will be accepted into Heaven, then it is a works gospel, and that soul remains subject to Hell.
It must, however, quickly be stated here, that there are those who despise the obedience of God’s Law entirely, thereby, using Grace as a license to sin. This is anti nominism (lit. against Law) and is also a damnable act, proving that soul to be still in reprobation, and enmity to God.
“By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast.”
You could be the most moral person in the world. You can obey all the Laws of God and still go right to Hell. The way to heaven is NOT by the keeping of the Law.
“...for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.”
Principle: The keeping of the Law is NOT the way to Heaven. Only through Christ, who Himself is the Way to the Father, can Heaven be gained.
“NO man cometh unto the Father but by ME!”
God states, in no uncertain terms, that the letter of the Law kills. It is the administrator of Death.
“...For the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life.”
2 Cor 3:6b
Although quite glorious, the Law can bring glory to sinful man.
It knows no “almost” obedience. It tolerates no partial observances of the commands of God. It does not regard repentance and gives no forgiveness. It is Holy and it cannot save sinners. It is ONLY the Grace of God that forgives, through the blood of the Savior, and ONLY by the Spirit that gives eternal life.
“But if the ministration of death (i.e. The Law of God) written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the Spirit be rather glorious? For the ministration of condemnation (i.e. The Law) be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness (i.e. By Faith in Christ, His Work and His merit) exceed in glory.” (Parenthesis mine)
2 Cor 3:7-9
Daniel Chapter 2
What we need to be reminded of firstly, in every exposition of Scripture, is where we are, and then decide why we are there. However, in order to do this, we must take a bird’s eye view of the whole, to better understand it’s several parts. If we begin by dissecting the whole before we know what the whole is supposed to look like, we may never grasp the fullness of the message. We then in fact lose the whole by examining only the parts. Let me give an illustration.
If you go to an art gallery and you look at a piece of art, you should first view the piece of art as a whole, i.e.Holistically. The initial view of any piece of artwork, sculpture or even story, whether fiction or non fiction, is to see it in its entirety. As pertaining to artwork, you should view it from a short distance so that your eye catches it as a whole. This gives the viewer an overall understanding of what the artist or designer is trying to convey. With this method of initial, critical examination, you can know a great deal about the work. You will be able to say either, “I like the way the artist shows the idea from the vantage point that he took.” or you could disagree with the way he went about portraying the work. The work could be clear or abstract, or both, in its various parts. By initial observation you can either like the work, despise the work or remain indifferent to it. In either way you will be able to understand the tenor of the work by an overview critique.
The same is true with music. One does not initially critique the particulars of a piece without reviewing the whole of the work. One first must determine the mood and tenor as it begins to enter into the ear and reflect upon the emotions. Once the overall, holistic, critique is accomplished, then a further study of the various particulars of the piece are in order. Once we have observed a particular work from afar, then we can proceed to pick it apart to see exactly how that work is formatted and the particulars of its make-up. The specifics often give a deeper insight to the work, which augments the whole.
As with any painting, we know that certain brush strokes give us one design, whereas another brush or paint knife gives another. There are not only brush strokes, but also dabs, and swirls coupled with varying textures. Globs of paints are sometimes used, as are also sponges instead of brushes. I have personally seen artists use things of nature, which were used as paint applicators. Earthworms, leaves, flowers, tree bark, sand and other natural articles are often used, to name a few. All of which give a specific expression of art. There are oil and water paints, as there is also the ink type drawing, which is in an artistic class all by itself.
From the study of the work we begin to see the manner in which it was made. Once dissection is complete, we can again grasp the mechanics of the work as a whole. One perspective compliments the other. Yet, the holistic approach must be used first in order to avoid confusion.
In college I was blessed to study music. We were required to listen, and then to chart the various Classical and Baroque Musical scores. After hearing the whole, only then could we chart the intricate sections and particulars. This could only be done profitably and correctly after knowing the full scope of the work. It would be quite difficult to understand the whole, by beginning with the pieces. Without the whole understanding, the work would be too fragmented. Yet, when known as a whole, the pieces make sense, and harmonize perfectly with that whole.
This approach is profitable in regard to Daniel 2. We will begin by examining the text in a holistic manner, and then see it in its particulars. This will serve us well, especially when we look at the image, which Nebuchadnezzar erects for himself.
The Servants Of God
As a review, we must again solidify certain principles that God sets forth. God does not only use righteous men to illustrate the Lord Jesus Christ, but also, God employs the use of heathen men as well. We found this especially in the person of King Cyrus, of Isaiah 44 and 45. Likewise, we saw how even King Nebuchadnezzar is a type of God, as He comes with the Holy Law, against apostate Israel. We will also see how Nebuchadnezzar is a great Type of the Lord Jesus in Chapter 4 of Daniel as we continue with our search.
Obj: Now Pastor, you’ve gone too far. How can Nebuchadnezzar, who has been always seen as a wicked type, even a type of satan by the Reformers and Puritans, be a type of God and of the Lord Jesus?
Ans: If we follow the Biblical rule, and compile our data and conclusions carefully, as we did in Lecture One of this study, using ONLY the Scriptures, we will be able to see how Nebuchadnezzar fits perfectly into this scenario.
Daniel 2 (continued)
The reason why I am so curious about Daniel 2, is because God
establishes, in the Scriptures, that those who are called servants of God have a very special relationship to God. Furthermore, as we have seen, when God speaks of His servant as “My Servant”, we are clued into the reality that, in all likelihood, this servant is a picture of the Lord Jesus.
We know in the general fashion, every soul is a servant to God, whether they like it or not, because God is the Universal Sovereign over all flesh. All souls are His. Yet, when God speaks particularly of His servants of Righteousness, there is a very intimate relationship and union between the Lord and His servants. Those who are His Servants of Righteousness, are those who are in the Everlasting Covenant of Redemption. These are given the blessing of redemption and regeneration. They are called anointed, elect and sanctified. They are called friends, priests and kings. They are even called shepherds. These are taught the things of God by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. They have a special character, duty, and a particular service, both to God and to one another. God uses these words “my servant and my servants” to speak of His servants of regeneration who are the believers, His elect.
In our last study, we established that when we read the Bible, we must be reminded, and assured that God is absolutely good, and all that He does is good and righteous. In Him is light and no darkness at all. In fact, if God were to do anything other than good or contrary to good, He would cease to be God. Furthermore, there is none Good but God. The word Good is a synonym for God Himself. He always does what is right. Therefore, when we understand God speaking of Himself in language such as “I will be your enemy” and “I will be the enemy of Israel”, we know that this is righteous judgment and righteous anger.
When we review such passages as Ezekiel 23, Job l3, Job l6 and 33, along with Isaiah 63, where God speaks of being an enemy, unto the chastisement of an apostate rebellious people, we should not be shocked.
Think about it this way.
Sons and daughters are loved of their parents eternally. There is nothing that can break that deep bond of eternal love. Even when they are disobedient there is always and forever will be that relationship. Although there will be spankings and chastisement, the relationship between parent and child remains. In other words, there is nothing a parent can do to undo their relationship to their son or daughter for all eternity. The relationship is settled both on earth and in heaven. However, when disobedient, this chastisement reminds the children that he or she cannot do whatever they will. They must be conformed to the instruction of the father and the law of the mother. If not, then the parents become the enemy, in a real sense, when they institute discipline. Not so much are they the enemy to the child, but the enemy to the disobedience of that child. In order to correct the wayward child, negative sanctions of discipline must be exercised.
Often the parents place the child in isolation, and it would seem to the child that mommy and daddy have forsaken that child. Yet, this is not true. The parents simply are gaining the attention of that child and administering discipline. This manner of “forsaking discipline” is one aspect of chastisement. Although the chastisement, through scourging and forsaking is not lasting, it is for a moment. All of this is done out of eternal and abounding love to the child and for the child’s proper development. Any parent that refrains from proper discipline is showing more hatred and carelessness toward that child than love.
“For whom the Lord loveth, He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisment, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.”
This is the way God works, as a loving Father, in behalf of His children. He chastens His beloved sons. The reality is, that God ONLY Chastens His sons. All others, He allows to destroy themselves, in their own sin and lust. But upon His beloved, chosen ones, He maintains proper discipline upon them, with a loving and watchful eye. Therefore, when God becomes the enemy of the apostate Israel, it is a picture of God’s discipline upon His elect. Often, as part of His disciplinary measure, He draws us back into submission, and unto clarity of mind, by being an enemy, and walking contrary to us through chastisement.
Israel’s provocation of God
Historically speaking, Israel thought they were some special folk. They thought that they could do no wrong. Perhaps they thought that they were immune to sin and disobedience. They perceived themselves as some very special people because of their own nature, and not from the Grace of God. Now certainly, on the one hand, they were special, because God was their God. However, they failed to realize the reality, that theirs organic estate was a ruined nature, even as the heathen of the whole world. The only difference between them and all the heathen, was God’s Grace. Because of this forgetfulness, they became a proud folk and a rebellious people. They had the blessings of the Temple, the ordinances, and the election of God. God chose them out of all the nations and He revealed himself to the prophets and raised them up kings. This only caused the people to become more proud instead of thankful and humbled. They thought they were something special by their own merit. They thought they could do no wrong. They thought they were beyond chastisement. Like the Christians in the Church today, they were headed for a fall.
Today’s churchgoer boasts himself saying something like this:
“Boy we’ve got it made”. “You know those Jehovah witnesses out there. They don’t really know what’s happening. This group here and that group there; and the idol worshippers over there. How blind are all they? We are just such a wonderful bunch of people. God must really love us.”
But this is the language of the Pharisee.
“I thank God I am not like other men.”
God HATES this attitude. He hates that kind of thinking because knowledge, and outward works of righteousness, only puffs up. What God desires is humility.
“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart: and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”
“The Sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise.”
Rather, we are to say, “But for the Grace of God there go I.”
All other attitudes puff up a people. Once this happens God must deal with it. Especially when it is manifested in His chosen ones.
The Manner of Chastisement Against the Pride of His People
The principle of chastisement is found in many books of the Bible. In Habbakkuk, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Jeremiah speak explicitly of the chastening hand of God upon a rebellious house. Although we find this principle clearly found in these books, it is perhaps most dramatically illustrated in the book of Judges.
Principle: When God’s Chosen people relinquish their commission and turn to trusting in men and idols of the nations, God gives them over to the tyranny of those nations.
I spoke of these principles in previous Lectures, so I am not going to go to deeply into this again. The point being, if God’s people remain silent in a heathen world, and complacent in the face of threats against righteousness, God turns them over to the wicked. Moreover, He turns them over to the very same wicked ones whose oppression they are tolerating. When God’s people remain complacent and silent in the face of wickedness, God subjects them to the very tyranny they are ignoring. The Righteous have been commissioned to be bold as lions and active as salt and light in the world. This must take place in every arena of life. The saint has a Heavenly commission, which is to be exercised upon the earth.
Habakkuk, the prophet, admits that in the face of oppression and violence God remains silent.
“O LORD, how long shall I cry and Thou wilt not hear! even cry unto Thee of violence, and Thou wilt not save!”
In effect Habukkuk is astonished.
“Lord, I don’t believe what you are going to do. You’re going to raise up heathen people to destroy the chosen people.”
And God says
“Yes, that’s what I’m going to do”.
I’m going to chasten them with a heathen people to bring them to their senses, that they are a rebellious and stiff-necked people.”
“For I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. For, lo, I will raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breath of the land, to possess the dwelling places which are not theirs.”
“Shall a trumpet be blown in the city, and the people not be afraid? shall there be evil (lit. calamity) in a city, and the LORD hath not done it?”
“And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, that reigned in Hazor...”
The admonition for all of God’s people is not to make any league or partnership with the traditions of the heathen round about them. Whenever this precept is violated, God brings chastisement.
“And ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land...”
This is exactly the way God works. He does this today even as He did in ancient times. He does this on a national level as well as in the arena of the External Church.
Consider the Word of the Lord in this case in
“Because thou serveth not the LORD with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things, Therefore, shalt thou serve thine enemies which the LORD shall send against thee, in hunger and in thirst, and in nakedness, and in want of all things; and He shall put a yoke of iron upon thy neck, until He have destroyed thee.”
Here the Lord is stating that it is He who will bring the chastisement upon His people. He causes them to serve their enemies whom they have committed whoredoms with. In other words, he feeds them with their own hearts lusts. The slothful rebellious sons are brought under tribute.
“Therefore, thus saith the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel; Behold I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them bitter gall to drink.”
There is no argument as to whom the LORD has in view as the recipients of this wormwood.
“And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.”
This is the language of Chastisement upon the Elect when they go astray.
The phrase yoke of iron used in Deuteronomy 29 is a figure of hard bondage, either in a physical sense or in a spiritual sense. The spiritual inference to the word iron is to distinguish the Law of God, which is as a yoke of iron. Heaven, therefore, is iron to the rebels. God removes His blessings to make their chastisement grievous. Like a father who removes his outward expression of love, until there is reconciliation and rectitude for the wrong, so too does God correct in the same manner.
Furthermore, if we are still uncertain as to who is in view as to the recipients of this chastisement, remember God ONLY chastens HIS PEOPLE according to Hebrews 12. The word destroy, in verse 48, is a reference to being slain by His Law for humbling purposes. It is the destruction of the flesh and the pride of life, which the LORD is bringing destruction upon. This does not infer eternal damnation in this sense, but rather a correcting discipline.
Consider the following Verse:
“The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as a swift eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue shalt thou not understand; A nation of fierce countenance, which shall not regard the person of the old, nor shew favour to the young...”
Again this is the language of chastisement. The nation, in a very Biblical sense, is the Nation of Righteousness. It is the Law of God itself, which speaks in a righteous tongue, which no rebel understands. It can also refer to the Nation of the Saints, which brings the Law-Word of God to a rebellious house, regarding no man’s person. All this is for admonition and profit. This is not speaking of those who have a false gospel per se. There may be an obscure application in this sense, but the real Biblical thrust, points to the former interpretation concerning the TRUE saints.
Remember that the only ones that ever speak in an unknown tongue are the true believers.
“And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;”
Now it is important here to distinguish what an unknown tongue is. Notice it does NOT say the saints will speak IN new tongues. But rather, WITH new tongues. It is not some mumbo jumbo of a verbal nature, as in the heretical “Tongues movement”. It is the tongue of angels, i.e the messengers of the Gospel who are the saints of God. It is the unknown tongue, because no man can know the mysteries of the Gospel unless the Lord reveals it to him. To the unbelieving, the Gospel is very much a foreign, and unknown tongue.
Today, God brings into the church many people who walk after the flesh, and not after the Spirit, in order to try them and chasten them. Often He forbears wicked men to ascend the pulpit because the people have itching ears for lies and palatable fleshly doctrines. Doctrines of “signs and wonders” are very popular today. Also, teachings, which allow the so-called redeemed to reserve a myriad of comforts of the world for themselves, are on the rise.
The damnable preaching of LOVE the WORLD and Have Christ Too, is a very subtle doctrine held by many churches, even of the Reformed persuasion. When the Church despises the Gospel of Grace, the LORD does NOT remain passive, but is active in the cleansing of His temple. He goes through the Church like He did when He cleansed the temple, by casting out the moneychangers, and all that offend.
Today, the world, its comforts and promises of gain are
the biggest attractions in the Pulpits. There are many who claim the Lord as their hope, and trust, yet, they are trusting in a multitude of other things. Homes, cars, bank accounts, health insurance, life insurance, retirement plans, pensions, IRAs, and for the Incorporated Churches, their 501 c 3 status from the state. Not to mention the idols of technology to show that man is “God” and that nothing he sets his mind to do will be frustrated. And for all this, God brings Judgment. As in the day of the Tower of Babel, so too, are we upon the threshold of another Day of Judgment.
There is another idea native to the Scriptures. As I have stated before, the Lord uses His Law and His people as an instrument of chastening. He calls the saints, His threshing instruments. We are as arrows in the quiver, and in the hand, and in the bow of the mighty hunter, who is God Himself. It is God who shoots us out, as we carry the Word of God, into the Heart of the people. The Word preached either convinces them, by the Spirit’s working, of their sin, and their need for Christ, or it judges them, causing them to harden their hearts against God.
We also must remember that we are not preaching God’s Word only to the unregenerate. Often God’s Word is preached to the regenerate, who are asleep. As in the parable of the ten Virgins, both wise and foolish sleep. When the Church Eternal forgets God’s Word, and His Holy Law, they go astray. That is when God sends His arrows out into the midst of them unto conviction, repentance and revival. But Not until there is a sore chastisement for disobedience.
Babylon: The Church
Babylon is a figure of the Church. We find, in the book of the Revelation, that this Church is in big trouble with God for apostasy.
But we must also ask, “Who is the King of the Church?”
God is the King of the church. Here we see the connection with Nebuchadnezzar, who is the King of Babylon.
We may observe, also, that in a general, and broader sense, Babylon is a figure of the World just as Israel could also be broadly seen as a figure of the world. Just as Israel was given all of the commandments, so was every human being of the world, in Adam. Just as every human being was brought into a covenant of creation, with God as their creative Father, Eternal Israel was brought into an eternal Covenant with God, as their redemptive Father. Both broke the Covenant. Yet, only one is restored by Grace, the Eternal and Elect Church.
We see then that God is teaching us some fundamental principles.
Ques: When Israel goes apostate, who does God raise up?
Ans: The Babylonians. And at their head, Nebuchadnezzar.
Identifying the Elect of Babylon
Ques: When Does God Speak of External Babylon and when does He speak of Eternal Babylon?
As we have stated, there are times when God refers to Babylon as the World, the External Church and the Eternal Church. In relation to the Book of Jonah, we see Nineveh as a type of the Eternal Church. We know this by the New Testament description of those in Nineveh, in Jonah’s Day, as redeemed. Yet, in Nahum, these Ninevites are labeled, the bloody men of a bloody city.
This can infer the following:
Ninevah, in Nahum’s Day:
1. The World, under the eternal Damnation of God without hope. The reprobate people of the entire World.
2. The External “Make believer” who say “Lord, Lord” and yet, never knew Christ redemptively or experientially. These are also a bloody city, under eternal damnation.
3. The True believers as they are in the flesh of old Adam. These are redeemed, and will never see death eternal, yet, because they are still prone to sin, and DO SIN, they are also called a bloody city.
In a real sense, all these inferences are in view. I think, however, in order to fully understand the way God is dealing with us for our admonition, the third premise is most useful. In this way, it is WE who are beaten down, from our good opinions of ourselves, that we may show ourselves true children of God. The third premise is most profitable on a personal level.
In considering all the possibilities, I think the word wise may help distinguish when God is talking about the true saints who are subject to chastisement, and not damnation.
When God speaks of Babylon, in Daniel 2, He speaks also of the wise men of Babylon that they be not destroyed. These figure the true saints. When we look at all the accounts referencing the Servant of God, we know that the Servant of God is Jesus Christ. He’s also called the Elect of God, and the Anointed. This refers to both Christ and the Body of Christ who are also the anointed. He is our King; we are His servants and threshing instruments. There is an intimacy between Christ and His body, that is inseparable, both in terminology and reality.
Nebuchadnezzar, I submit to you, because of the language of the Scriptures, is a figure of God, the LawGiver and Jesus Christ His Son.
Let us put our mind into spiritual mode and ask the question.
Ques: “What is God teaching us by His use of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, the wise men, the astrologers, Daniel, the dream, the vision and all of these things?”
Spiritually speaking what is God teaching us?
Or to put it another way,
“What is God teaching us in these passages, and by these types of the Person and the Work of the Glorious Lord Jesus, The Christ of God?”
Where is the Gospel in these types and Historical Illustrations?
The First Clue We Have is in Daniel 2:37.
Here, we find Daniel proclaiming something about Nebuchadnezzar. In fact Daniel gives the official title of the King, which to the astute, spiritual Bible Student, must bring certain questions, and curiosities to mind.
“Thou O King art a King of Kings”.
Now anyone that has read the Bible must scratch their head at this declaration and say “Wait a minute, either I’m going to let the Bible speak for itself or I shall preconceive some formulary notion and make it speak something else.” Isn’t this title reserved only for the Lord Jesus Christ?
This is a very important and fundamental question. We’re either going to let the Bible define itself by its own terms, or we’re going to cling to a private interpretation.
The phrase, “King of Kings” appears six times in the whole of God’s Word. Nebuchadnezzar is the “King of Kings”, Artexerses is the “King of Kings”, and then Christ, in the New Testament, is the “King of Kings”. Christ, Artexerses, Nebuchadnezzar all are explicitly given the Supreme title, King of kings..
When we look at Artexerses we may be able to easily say, “Oh he’s a type of Christ, no doubt about. cf Ezra 7.” This is clear and evident. He sends letters, which have, in the content, graphic illustrations of the Gospel. Therefore, we know that he is a type of God
Ques: But can Nebuchadnezzar also typify God?
Ans: Let’s think this out in a logical, and biblical fashion.
Consider the phrase and terminology, “King of Kings”.
When I say to you, (and this is a trick question), who’s the king of this world? Everybody has been conditioned to respond, “Satan”.
At least that is what everyone has been led to believe.
But what does the Bible say on the subject and concerning the King of the World?
Ans: God is the King of this world.
He is the God of gods, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He is the only Sovereign. Why is it that we start playing with the Scriptures to fit our own scenario, when the Scriptures are simple, and clear, especially on this matter? We must let them speak for themselves!
Principle: God is King and there is no other.
Consider Revelation 15:3
“And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb saying, ‘Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”
Here, we have two implications. Firstly, the LORD is the King of saints. These saints are a kingdom of priests, and are called the kings of the earth. The saints are literally the holy ones. Those called and justified.
“And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, And hath made us priests and kings unto God and His Father; to Him be Glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” Revelation 1:5-6
Secondly, we find in Jeremiah 10:7, that the Lord is also declared the King of Nations.
“Who would not fear thee, O king of nations?”
Consider Matthew 6.9
“Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
Here, the Lord Jesus is doing more than simply teaching the disciples to pray. He is setting forth the sound Doctrine of the Gospel of God. In each statement we can see the person and the work of the Lord Jesus. Moreover, we see the vastness of the Majesty and Dominion of God.
“For THINE is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory...”
This sounds like Daniel 2:37. The truth is, in both Daniel and Matthew we see clearly the same manner of language. Biblical Logic, therefore, must conclude the two to be commentary upon one another.
Consider further, l Timothy 6:13-16.
“I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth all things, and before Christ Jesus, who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession; That thou keepeth this commandment without spot, unrebukable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:”
Ques: Who is in view?
v15 “which in his times...”
(This is a very important phrase because it relates again to Daniel 2:8-9.)
“which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and ONLY Potentate,”
Notice the word “only”. Please underline the word “only”. Here we have the established, unchangeable fact that Christ is the ONLY SOVEREIGN. Or, to put it another way, HE is the Only King of kings.
Verse l6 is also very important.
“Who only hath immortality,”
In other words, He is Life itself.
“...dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen.”
Compare this to Rev. l7:l4.
“These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings”
And in Rev. l9:l6,
“and he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”
Consider Ezekiel 26:7
“For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people. He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee.”
Who’s he talking about?
He’s speaking of the judgment of Tyrus by King Nebuchadnezzar. Tyrus can be seen as a figure similarly to Babylon. Yet, again, it figures the Church Eternal, in a real way. The word Tyrus, literally means the sharp stone or rock.
We can know that this figures the church from the harsh language God brings against it, and for the hardness and pride of the city, because of it’s great prowess as merchants. It is the church who is likened to merchants..
“She (the virtuous women, i.e. the Church) is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.”
Ques: Is the Church Eternal Judged of God?
Many would say “No”.
But the answer is absolutely YES.
Each of the saints are Judged AT THE CROSS of CHRIST. It is a vicarious Judgment, yet, nevertheless, they are judged.
Note: Practically, the elect are brought into “correctional judgment” when they fall prey to apostasy. Leviticus 26 is a perfect example of the elect bearing the brunt of correctional judgment because of their sin. A careful reading of verses 42 thru 46, of Leviticus 26, will prove that the Scriptures here can only be referring to the Redeemed of the Lord.
Consider Jeremiah 43:8
“Then the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah in Tarpanhes, saying, Take great stones in thine hands.”
Here, in the word stones, we find, again, a reference to believers. But, in Ezekiel 13 God speaks of the great hailstones. The great hailstones also typify the saints.
In Jeremiah 43:9 we have a picture of God coming against the apostate church, with his prophets, preaching the Gospel.
v9 “Take great stones in thy hand and hide them in the clay, in the brick kiln.”
“We have this treasure in earthen vessels”, Paul says.
(Actually these are clay vessels.)
Ques: What is the treasure and where is it hidden?
Ans: The Gospel of Christ, hidden in the vessels fitted for honour.
Here, in Jeremiah 43, we see them at the entry of Pharaoh’s house, in Taphenes, in the sight of the men of Judah. The brick kiln must be a reference to the furnace of fire (i.e. Hell) of the atonement of Christ.
Notice verse l0,
“and say unto them, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel. Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones”.
We have seen this in great detail already. Therefore, let it suffice that these passages refer to only the Lord Jesus Christ, His Person, and His great work of Salvation, as He comes, as the Servant of God, to set up His throne above the stones, the saints.
The Dream of Nebuchadnezzar
When we look at the word dream, it acts as a reminder of Pharaoh’s dream, in Joseph’s day.
The first question is “Who does Pharaoh typify?”
He is a type of God.
Obj: You mean heathen Pharaoh is a type of God?
Ans: That’s right! And Joseph is a type of Christ.
Principle: The dream is representational of the Gospel of God.
Who had a dream? Pharaoh.
Who interpreted it? Joseph.
Who Conceived the Gospel plan? God.
Who interpreted it, brought it to life and ratified it? Christ.
Likewise Nebuchadnezzar had the dream and Daniel interpreted it. This is analogous to God and The Lord Jesus
The word is “dream” in verse l8, is called a “secret”. In verse 22, it is called “secret things”.
Principle: The word dream literally means secret or mystery.
“We speak wisdom among them that are perfect, yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world that come to nought, but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery even the hidden wisdom (or the hidden mystery) which God ordained before the world unto our glory.”
l Cor. 2:6 - 7
The dream is the secret thing, and the secret thing is a mystery. Paul says, the mystery is the Gospel.
Nebuchadnezzar dreams the Gospel. The dream is the Gospel.
Consider the next phrase in Daniel 2:1
“Wherewith his spirit was troubled and his sleep break from him.”
God in Christ was troubled. He was troubled because it was He who had to complete the work of Atonement and humiliation. In the next lecture we will look closely at the passage where Christ declares, “I’m troubled in spirit”.
Ques: Why was He troubled in Spirit?
Ans: Because He had to go to Hell. He had to pay the wrath of God and this was troubling. This was an emotional moving of His soul. To have His sleep break off from Him is the opposite of sleeping in peace.
“Then the King commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.”
v 4 “Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac”
“Syriac” is a very fascinating word, which means majestic. It is the same word, “Aramaen”, which comes from the word “Aram” which means high majesty.
Then spake the Chaldeans to the King in high majesty and say
“O king live forever”
Literally the phrase is O King Eternal
Principle: It is GOD ALONE Who is the King Eternal.
Here it is precisely given to Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon, the King of Kings.
This account reminds us of Samson in the Book of Judges. Samson had a riddle. He had a parable. He had a secret. He had a mystery. Jesus spoke in parables, and without parables, he spake not. Therefore, we immediately see Samson as a great type of Christ, in spite of His historical misbehavior.
“Oh Samson, tell me the riddle, tell me the interpretation.”
Delilah literally means, the poor of the Lord, a figure of the Church. The Philistines who are told the riddle’s meaning BY THE CHURCH (i.e. Delilah), as she declares the meaning of the riddle, is a figure of all those who become saved, i.e. the elect. We are the Philistines who are given a change of garments, which is another a figure of regeneration.
Here, in Daniel, we have the same idea. God is repeating Himself the third time in the Holy Scriptures, concerning dreams and interpretations. All of this is done to illustrate, in dramatic fashion, the principles of God’s Glorious Salvation Program in the face of the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Our Father, in Heaven, we thank Thee for Thy great mercy. We thank Thee that the Scriptures are true and that Thou art a God Who revealeth secrets, even the deep things which are the things of life even the Gospel, in the face of Christ. Our Father, bless us we pray as we continue to study Thy word, that we might exalt the Name of the One Who is and Who was and Who is to come, even Christ our Saviour. Amen.
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