"Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth" (Ps. 60:4).

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The Prophecy of Daniel

THE SECOND DREAM AND ITS INTERPRETATION

Lesson Number 14

By Given O. Blakely

Part 4

HEW DOWN THE TREE

“He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches . . . ” Other versions read, “Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,” NKJV “Cut down the tree and trim off its branches,” NIV         

This “watcher and holy one” has power to alter what is happening upon the earth. He has apparently been observing this tree, and is not pleased with what is happening. He therefore shouts an authoritative word that has come from heaven itself. The tree is to be suddenly and abruptly cut down. While the trunk is laying on the ground, all of its branches are to be cut off as well. This will be instantly carried out, for the word comes with unquestionable authority.

SHAKE OFF ITS LEAVES

“ . . . shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit . . . ” Other versions read, “Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit,” NKJV “strip off its leaves, throw away its fruit,” NJB and “let its leaves be taken off and its fruit sent in every direction.” BBE         

Thus the beauty of the tree came to a grinding halt. Its fruit was no longer accessible, but was scattered, or thrown away. Now the tree was uncomely and unfruitful – nothing but a bare trunk, cut off from its roots, stripped of its leaves and fruit, and lying useless on the ground. This was the decree of the holy watcher from heaven. There is no chance that it will not be carried out to the finest detail.

REMOVE THE BEASTS AND FOWLS

“ . . . let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches.” Other versions read, “Let the animals flee from under it and the birds from its branches” NIV “let the beasts escape from under it, and the fowls from its branches,” DOUAY and “let the beasts flee its shade, and the birds its branches.” NAB         

No longer would the beasts of the field find refuge under this once mighty tree. The birds could not nest and feed within its extensive branches. In fact, they would flee from it for fear of danger. It is as though they heard the sound of the felling axe, and felt the tremors of the tree losing its stability. Immediately, they fled from the tree. What was once for safety, now became a jeopardy. Those who looked to it for protection, shelter, and food, now saw the tree as an undesirable haven. Therefore they left it with haste.

LEAVE THE STUMP

“ 15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth: 16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him: and let seven times pass over him.”         

The details of this dream are most remarkable, to say nothing of Nebuchadnezzar’s recollection of them. Of course, we are not to understand he did this under his own power alone, although there was no doubt a great deal of effort on his part. The purpose of this dream does not allow for an uncertain remembrance of it. The facts of the dream cannot be obscured by broad generalities or private interpretations.         

In his first dream, the dream itself, with all of its details, was directly revealed to Daniel by God. This time, however, God will make the dream known to Daniel through Nebuchadnezzar. The relating of the dream, therefore, must be exact and complete, else the inspired interpretation of it will not have the intended impact.

All Things Are of God

In all of this, we again see that “all things are of God” (2 Cor 5:18). This is a statement confirming that everything having to do with Divine determinations are wrought through God. This is stated more precisely in Romans 11:36. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.” Other versions read, “For everything comes from Him; everything exists by His power and is intended for His glory,” NLT and “Everything there is comes from Him and is caused by Him and exists for Him.” NJB        

I am careful to state this has particular regard to the fulfilment of God’s purposes. Notwithstanding, there is nothing that occurs in the heavens, the earth, or under the earth, that is wholly without the involvement, judgment, and dominion of the mighty God of heaven. Thus, even in Nebuchadnezzar telling what he had dreamed, the Lord is at work, ensuring that the report is precise in every detail.

NEVERTHELESS

“Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth . . . ” At this point, a small ray of light penetrates the darkness of judgment. Although the “watcher and holy one” from heaven has ordered the large and productive tree to be cut down, its branches hacked off, and its fruit scattered, an element of mercy remains. The tree is cut down, not uprooted!

Leaving the Stump and Its Roots

God does not always leave the stump and roots. On one occasion Jesus declared, “But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up” (Mat 15:13). Other versions read, “pulled up by the roots,” NIV “taken up by the roots,” BBE and “uprooted.” NRSV Elsewhere God spoke of “plucking up by the roots” (2 Chron 7:20). Ezekiel associated this kind of judgment with utter hopelessness (Ezek 17:9). Jude referred to reprobate teachers as those who “twice dead, plucked up by the roots” (Jude 1:12).         

However, leaving the roots means the judgment is not intended to be permanent. Some degree of recovery will be experienced.

A Thought

Without being unduly distracted, mention should be made of the hope of a remaining root. There are those who teach God is finished with Israel, and thus there is no hope for their recovery. These teachers say God’s judgment against them in the destruction of Jerusalem meant He had utterly written them off. Thus, such people have come to actually despise the Jews, viewing them as pulled up by the roots. However, this is a wholly inaccurate representation of the mind of the Lord.         

The Jewish root still remains! That “root” is still “holy,” and still nourishes prospering branches (Rom 11:16). In fact, Gentiles that are in Christ Jesus have been caused to partake of “the root and fatness of the olive tree,” along with believing Jews (Rom 11:17). They are solemnly reminded that “the root” is bearing them (Rom 11:18).         

If the tree of Nebuchadnezzar‘s dream was given hope by its remaining stump and roots, how much more is their hope for Israel in the continuance of its “root.” Even the patriarch Job, without a Bible, and prior to the giving of the Law, said, “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant” (Job 14:7-9). It is not good for Job, living in such spiritually primitive times, to have a greater understanding of Divine manners than those living in the blazing light of the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal 4:2)! More should be known in this day.         

There is, then, hope for the tree of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, even though it has been suddenly and violently cut down. This is confirmed by the command to leave the stump with its roots.

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"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;  and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately" (Lk. 12:35-36).

 

 

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