Babylon--A Christian Nation
Jan 05, 2007
In Daniel 4, King Nebuchadnezzar was given a dream which the prophet interpreted. He dreamed of a great and beautiful tree, which was chopped down at the decree of "the watchers" (4:17). Yet the stump and roots were allowed to remain, though a band made of iron and brass was put over the stump.
This dream was interpreted the next day and then fulfilled twelve months later (4:29) when the king went mad and was driven from the throne for "seven times" (4:16). Then we read,
" (34) But at the end of that period I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation. (35) And all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, But He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth; and no one can ward off His hand or say to Him, 'What hast Thou done'?"
When King Nebuchadnezzar's reason was restored and when he recognized the sovereignty of God over himself and over Babylon, then this Babylonian King wrote this official account, which Daniel included in his book. Yes, a Babylonian King wrote a chapter of the Bible.
Babylon's form of government was an absolute monarchy. The king could decree things or repeal past decrees at will. So this was an official declaration before all men that Babylon was (as we say) "one nation under God." It set the pattern for Mystery Babylon in our own time. I believe that at some point in history, a "king" or leader of today's Babylonian system will recognize the true God of the Bible (and of Daniel) as being sovereign over the nations.
As for the Timing factor, we are given the period known as "seven times." By comparing Daniel 7:25 with Rev. 13:5, we see that a "time" is a year, or 12 "months." Three-and-a-half "times" in Daniel 7 is thus interpreted as 42 months in Revelation 13:5.
Because a prophetic "year" is also 360 days, a "time" in long-term prophecy is 360 YEARS. Thus, 7 "times" is a total of 2,520 years. This is one of the most important long-term prophetic time cycles in the Bible. I had much to say about this number in my book, The Prophetic History of the United States, which came out of my web log series last March and April.
One interesting application of this cycle is the fact that 2,520 years after Israel began to be deported by the Assyrians, their descendants established a new nation in 1776 A.D., recognizing that this nation was under God in their Declaration of Independence. The Declaration appealed to "Nature and of Nature's God" for the right to dissolve the political ties with the earthly king of the day. This assumed that the earthly king was not the ultimate sovereign--the very lesson that Nebuchadnezzar had to learn.
The Declaration went on to establish "that all men are created equal, that they are endowed BY THEIR CREATOR with certain unalienable RIGHTS." The Supreme Court later interpreted this to mean that all rights come from God and that America's government can only give men "privileges." This is, in fact, the foundational principle that made America a Christian Nation. It was certainly NOT that all Americans were Christians.
Anyway, I find it interesting that America would make the same decree as King Nebuchadnezzar after a period of "seven times." But as I showed in my book, a whole series of modern events are happening after 2,520 years. The latest is the year 2006, which was 2,520 years after the second temple was completed.
In my view, these cycles have one final purpose in the mind of God--to induce the nations to recognize His sovereignty over them. The kings are accountable to Him and are responsible to rule according to His laws, not according to their own ideas of justice. God showed Himself powerful enough to subdue the will of the Babylonian King, and He is again showing Himself well able to do this.
And He did so without man's help. Daniel led no revolutions. No one had to take up arms against Babylon to accomplish this. God is still as powerful today and needs no help from man.
But Nebuchadnezzar's grandson, Belshazzar (son of Nabonidus), broke this decree by praising the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone (Dan. 5:4). A hand then appeared on the palace wall with the words, "Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin." Daniel interpreted this for the king as Bankruptcy proceedings.
Mene = "Numbered" (i.e., audited)
Tekel = "Weighed" and found wanting (i.e., debits outweigh the assets)
Upharsin, or Peres (singular) = "Division" (assets sold at auction to Medes and Persians)
Babylon fell that same night to the army of the Medes and Persians, led by Darius the Mede (Dan. 5:31). Incidentally, the name Persia is derived from Peres and the constellation Persius.
The long-term timing issue is established under the surface in this revelation as well, if we translate the words from Aramaic into Hebrew. They are ancient monetary terms. Think of a "gerah" as a penny.
Mene = Mina = 1000 gerahs
Mene = Mina = 1000 gerahs
Tekel = Shekel = 20 gerahs
Peres = Peres = 500 gerahs
TOTAL: 2,520 gerahs
In other words, this has an end-time fulfillment according to 2,520-year cycles.
Babylon was given opportunity to be the Kingdom of God and to lead the other nations as God's chosen nation. Of course, we know it was not to happen, but nonetheless, God gave them that opportunity. Nebuchadnezzar actually fulfilled it, but his grandson repealed it. Thus, the opportunity shifted to another nation, a coalition of Medes and Persians.
This idea of Babylon being potentially "chosen" for a time can be seen when we understand the purpose of "chosenness" and are familiar with Israel's biblical history. It also involves the idea of God's Jealousy. (I have three audio tapes on God's Jealousy, listed on the tape list for $9 total.)
God chose Israel, which means that God made Israel responsible and accountable to God. Thus, when Israel decided to worship other gods, God got "jealous" and took action. He said, in effect, "OK, you think the gods of these other nations are the true God? Well, then, I'll put you under their authority so that you can see how they treat you. And by the way, those gods have their own chosen people, so you will be placed under their authority."
If you read the book of Judges, you will see that Israel spent 111 years in captivity to various other nations (out of about 300 years). Each time, God essentially treated those other nations as if they were the chosen people. Each nation thus had its opportunity to be the chosen people. But none of them followed the laws of the true God, and so they oppressed Israel and all others. When Israel repented, God then reversed course and gave "chosen" status back to Israel until they again rebelled against God.
Many nations have thus had opportunity to be "chosen," and Babylon was just one of them. Medo-Persia was next, and once again, God dealt with them to give them opportunity to bring the Kingdom of God into the earth. They failed as well, but in the process, they set some very important patterns that have implications even today. The overthrow of Iraq has set an important pattern for the overthrow of Mystery Babylon.
Ancient Persia is now modern Iran. God has a plan for Iran today, and it is not what they think, nor is it what President Bush thinks, and certainly it is not what the Church thinks. We will reserve that story for tomorrow.
Dr. Stephen Jones