Nebuchadnezzar was a very wicked king—full of cruelty, pride and self-exaltation. The king, in the face of great light, could blasphemously state: “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?” But the Lord demonstrated his power to convert the basest of men in the experience of the ancient monarch.

“None are so vile, none have fallen so low, as to be beyond the working of this power. In all who will submit themselves to the Holy Spirit a new principle of life is to be implanted; the lost image of God is to be restored in humanity.

“But man cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change can be effected. The leaven—something wholly from without—must be put into the meal before the desired change can be wrought in it. So the grace of God must be received by the sinner before he can be fitted for the kingdom of glory. All the culture and education which the world can give will fail of making a degraded child of sin a child of heaven. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power.” Christ Object Lessons, 96

The account of Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion contains lessons of great value for the church today. In it is revealed the means through which the Lord will work for a seemingly hopeless Laodicean church and produce a people that will reflect His image fully; and how they will be prepared to give the final message of warning and mercy to the world.
 
 

SIGNS AND WONDERS—THE EXPERIENCE OF THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL

“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.” Daniel 4:1, 2

Nebuchadnezzar published the record of his experience for the benefit of the whole world; “unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth” was it written. The burden of his message was “to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward” him. These signs and wonders are never independent of the Holy Spirit’s working, for it is through Him that they are made manifest.

“For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Romans 15:18
 
 

INTRODUCTION

“Mighty signs and wonders” are “by the power of the Spirit of God (Hebrews 2:4). But when the Holy Spirit manifests His power on an individual, HE is identified as coming with a specific purpose.

“Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment… Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” John 16:7, 8

When the Spirit exercises His power, He performs a threefold work. He brings the conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We are further told that He shows “things to come,” or He brings an increase of knowledge on a prophetic testing message. The threefold testing message by which the Holy Ghost accomplishes His work in the present time, is in the testimony of the three angels of Revelation 14.

“The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed. It is just as essential now as ever before that they shall be repeated to those who are seeking for the truth. By pen and voice we are to sound the proclamation, showing their order, and the application of the prophecies that bring us to the third angel’s message. There cannot be a third without the first and second.” Selected Messages Vol. 2, 104.3

“The messages of Revelation 14 are those by which the world is to be tested; they are the everlasting gospel, and are to be sounded everywhere.” Manuscript Releases Vol. 17, 15.1

The king of Babylon experienced the everlasting gospel. He was convicted of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment—and he became a witness of the Lord’s power. Those who would gain the victory over all sin, and be perfect in Christ, will need to experience the same by receiving the three angels’ messages. But there are also lessons for us to learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s condition prior to his conversion.
 
 

AT REST—AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE LAODICEAN CONDITION

“I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:” Daniel 4:4

The powerful monarch was at rest and flourishing in his royal abode; he felt rich and increased with goods and truly believed he was in need of nothing. Holy Writ informs us that associated with rest is a condition of ease.

“But fear not thou, O my servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel: for, behold, I will save thee from afar off, and thy seed from the land of their captivity; and Jacob shall return, and be in rest and at ease, and none shall make him afraid.” Jeremiah 46:27

When Jacob would “be in rest,” he would also be “at ease.” Nebuchadnezzar’s initial condition of rest and ease is an illustration of the lukewarm condition of the people in the last day church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-17). They feel rich and increased with goods—they believe that they are “flourishing,” and they too are at ease. The Bible explains in greater detail what being at ease entails.

“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.” Jeremiah 48:11

When Moab was at ease, he was not “emptied from vessel to vessel.” In other words, he was not emptied of self. The Scripture says: “his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.” Not only was he filled with self, he did not repent nor see the need of repentance.

“Moab is spoken of as a failure because, the prophet declares, “Moab hath been at ease from his youth, … and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.”

“Thus it is with those whose hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are not purged from them. Their hearts are not cleansed from defilement. They were given an opportunity to do a work for God, but this work they did not choose to do, because they wished to carry out their own plans.” Bible Commentary Vol. 4, 1160

This was indeed Nebuchadnezzar’s experience. He was full of self and he saw no need of repentance. His “hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong” were not purged from him and he wished to carry out his own plans. Thus it is with the Laodiceans who find themselves living just before the Second Coming of Christ.

“Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech. Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come. Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.” Isaiah 32:9-11

Those that are at ease are further described as being in a condition of carelessness. They, like the rich man in Christ parable (Luke 12:16-20), do not consider the future account they will have to render, but rather live only for the present. The parable tells us that his soul was required at a time he didn’t expect it, his probation closed as an overwhelming surprise. The fate of all who like him will be careless and at ease is plainly delineated that we may fear, realize our lack, and obtain the much needed experience. The condition of Nebuchadnezzar was one that needed Divine intervention; and his experience shows us the manner in which God works for His lukewarm people today.
 
 

NEBUCHADNEZZAR’S DREAM—THE MESSAGE AND EXPERIENCE OF THE FOURTH ANGEL

“I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me…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 reached unto heaven, and the sight 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:” Daniel 4:5, 10-14

The king received of God a prophetic dream of the judgments that would befall him if he did not zealously repent. The king describes it as a troubling dream—one which pulled him out of his condition of ease. Thus we see that the message that the LORD sends to arouse the Laodiceans from their death-like slumber is not a peace and safety message.

“The Lord here shows us that the message to be borne to His people by ministers whom He has called to warn the people is not a peace-and-safety message. It is not merely theoretical, but practical in every particular. The people of God are represented in the message to the Laodiceans as in a position of carnal security. They are at ease, believing themselves to be in an exalted condition of spiritual attainments. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” Testimonies for the Church Vol. 3, 252.3

According to the dream, a “watcher and an holy one” is identified as descending, and in delivering his solemn message, he “cried aloud.” His message was an announcement of the fall of Nebuchadnezzar, the head of Babylon. This Watcher is a type of the Fourth Angel who comes from Heaven to give the loud cry of the third angel and announce the fall of modern Babylon (Revelation 18:1-3).

“Then I saw another mighty angel commissioned to descend to the earth, to unite his voice with the third angel, and give power and force to his message. Great power and glory were imparted to the angel, and as he descended, the earth was lightened with his glory. The light which attended this angel penetrated everywhere, as he cried mightily, with a strong voice, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the third angel’s message as it swells to a loud cry.” Early Writings, 277.1

This Fourth Angel’s message is to do its work on the hearts of God’s professed followers as the message of the watcher did to king Nebuchadnezzar. It is to trouble them and awaken them that they may seek a preparation for the close of probation. It is to fit them like the pagan king was eventually fitted, to publish the loud cry “unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth” (CCh 100.5; CD 32.2).

In Nebuchadnezzar’s conversion experience, he was driven from his kingdom to dwell with the beasts of the field for “seven times,” or 2520 days (Daniel 4:16). This, the Advent pioneers understood to be an allegory of the scattering of God’s people for 2520 years among the heathen.

Yet furthermore is illustrated the spiritual relevance of the “seven times” prophecy which forms a part of the foundations of Adventism. As the stony obdurate heart of Nebuchadnezzar was replaced by the impressionable heart of flesh, so does the Lord design that His people be prepared for the courts above by learning and experiencing the spiritual truths it [the seven times] teaches. The king was taken from the life in the palace to dwell with the beasts of the field (Daniel 4:25), illustrating the truth of the necessity of country living for God’s people today (CL5.1-7.1). He also experienced a change of diet (Daniel 4:32), thus fixating health reform as a nail in a sure place in the preparatory work for a people to reflect Christ’s image fully (CD 32.2, 33.1).

Many more lessons may be drawn from this prophecy. The seven times teaches the immutability of the law of God and His abhorrence of sin, pride, selfishness and love of the world (Leviticus 26:1-3, 19, 23, 24; Deuteronomy 29:17-21). It shows to us the sure results of rebellion and the terrible judgments to be visited on the unrepentant sinner (Leviticus 26:14-33). It is calculated to prompt the cry “What must I do to be saved?”, and to lead the Laodicean to a zealous repentance. It also shows the mercy of the LORD in the renewal of HIS covenant with the truly penitent (Leviticus 26:40-46)—and in love and great tenderness—gathering them to HIMSELF. This experience must be ours if we shall be fit for the final crisis, or we shall be forever scattered.

But the king, after receiving the Lord’s prophetic message, performed and act of deep spiritual significance—one we would all do well to study and understand.
 
 

THE WISE MEN OF BABYLON—A TYPE OF THE BROKEN CISTERNS OF FALSE EDUCATION

“Therefore 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.” Daniel 4:6

Nebuchadnezzar received this prophetic message from God. But instead of consulting God by His prophet for the interpretation, he sought to gain an understanding of it by applying Babylonian principles of interpretation. He quickly summoned the wise men of Babylon in the hope of obtaining his desired request. But the wisdom of his learned men proved a failure. His wise men had acquired the wisdom or education of this world, yet it fell far short of reaching the standard of usefulness (1 Corinthians 3:19).

This was chronicled in the Sacred Pages of Holy Writ for our learning; but how sad it is that as a people, we are repeating the same mistake. The Lord committed to us, in the beginning of our work, simple principles for prophetic interpretation1 and yet we have left those for the theories of the great men of this world. We now seek to understand the prophetic truths of the Word of God based on the theories of the popular educational systems2. The Lord describes us as choosing that which does not hold water and turning away from Him.

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.” Jeremiah 2:13

We have esteemed the education of modern Babylon higher than the blueprint education that God gave to us at the first. And the result is evident; the message of the hour has been robbed of its power, and the people of God find themselves in a most perilous position.

“When faithful teachers expound the word of God, there arise men of learning, ministers professing to understand the Scriptures, who denounce sound doctrine as heresy, and thus turn away inquirers after truth. Were it not that the world is hopelessly intoxicated with the wine of Babylon, multitudes would be convicted and converted by the plain, cutting truths of the word of God. But religious faith appears so confused and discordant that the people know not what to believe as truth. The sin of the world’s impenitence lies at the door of the church.” The Great Controversy, 389.1

The work of true education is not to make men reflectors of other men’s thoughts (Ed 17.2). But the writings of the wise men of this world are the foundation of the popular educational systems. God designed that the basis of all education be His Word as it reads; and HE does not propose that we obtain an education by studying the words and works of infidel authors.

“Teachers who mingle the sentiments of infidel authors with the education they are giving, plant in the minds of youth thoughts that will lead to distrust of God and transgression of His law. Little do they know what they are doing. Little do they realize what will be the result of their work.” – {COL 108.1} ““The sower soweth the word.” Here is presented the great principle which should underlie all educational work. “The seed is the word of God.” But in too many schools of our day God’s word is set aside. Other subjects occupy the mind. The study of infidel authors holds a large place in the educational system. Skeptical sentiments are interwoven in the matter placed in school books. Scientific research becomes misleading, because its discoveries are misinterpreted and perverted. The word of God is compared with the supposed teachings of science, and is made to appear uncertain and untrustworthy. Thus the seeds of doubt are planted in the minds of the youth, and in time of temptation they spring up. When faith in God’s word is lost, the soul has no guide, no safeguard. The youth are drawn into paths which lead away from God and from everlasting life.” Christ Object Lessons, 41.1

We little realize the effect of worldly education on the minds of young and old—but it’s baleful work is carrying forward, unfitting multitudes for the closing work of the everlasting gospel and for the eternal realms above. It would be well for God’s people today to return to the “old paths” (Jeremiah 6:16). If we would be fully reconciled to God, we must learn what true education is—what God’s original plan has been—and follow it. True education is one of God’s appointed means to convert His people, and prepare them for the last work. We must look to inspiration for wisdom and knowledge in practical usefulness, and not to the “wise men of Babylon.”
 
 

IN CLOSING

“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.” Daniel 4:37

“I saw that God hates pride, and that all the proud, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble, and the day that cometh shall burn them up. I saw that the third angel’s message must yet work like leaven upon many hearts that profess to believe it, and purge away their pride, selfishness, covetousness, and love of the world.

“Jesus is coming, and will He find a people conformed to the world? and will he acknowledge them as His people that He has purified unto Himself? Oh, no. None but the pure and holy will He acknowledge as His. Those who have been purified and made white through suffering, and have kept themselves separate, unspotted from the world, He will own as His.” Messages to Young People, 128

God changed the heart of that ruthless, proud, world-loving king, and he learned to truly fear God. Nebuchadnezzar was converted; and if God could do it for him, His hand is not too short that it cannot save today. A people will be fitted for the final work of the third angel, and this will be accomplished by the means illustrated in the experience of the ancient monarch. The testimony of Nebuchadnezzar is one we must cherish and one that is full of hope, but only to those who will yield unreservedly to the Holy Spirit’s working.
 
 

1 “Those who are engaged in proclaiming the third angel’s message are searching the Scriptures upon the same plan that Father Miller adopted. In the little book entitled “Views of the Prophecies and Prophetic Chronology,” Father Miller gives the following simple but intelligent and important rules for Bible study and interpretation:

“1. Every word must have its proper bearing on the subject presented in the Bible; 2. All Scripture is necessary, and may be understood by diligent application and study; 3. Nothing revealed in Scripture can or will be hid from those who ask in faith, not wavering; 4. To understand doctrine, bring all the scriptures together on the subject you wish to know, then let every word have its proper influence; and if you can form your theory without a contradiction, you cannot be in error; 5. Scripture must be its own expositor, since it is a rule of itself. If I depend on a teacher to expound to me, and he should guess at its meaning, or desire to have it so on account of his sectarian creed, or to be thought wise, then his guessing, desire, creed, or wisdom is my rule, and not the Bible.”

The above is a portion of these rules; and in our study of the Bible we shall all do well to heed the principles set forth. – {RH November 25, 1884 Par. 23-25}
 

2 The people of God have adopted the historical critical and historical-grammatical methods of interpreting Scripture, contrary to the Lord’s plan; and this is mainly because of the type of education that they have chosen. More information can be found on this link: http://ourlivingfoundations.com/Blog/?p=354

 

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