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The Tree Dream


“Nebuchadnezzar the king unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth;

“I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the HIGH GOD hath WROUGHT TOWARD ME. How great are His signs! And how mighty are His wonders! His Kingdom is an Everlasting Kingdom, and His Dominion is from generation to generation.” Verses 1-3.

This chapter is a “Babylonian State Document.” It is a “Proclamation” of King Nebuchadnezzar to the whole world. It was issued in B. C. 562, the year he recovered from his insanity, and a year before his death. It was intended as ‘a confession of his sin of Pride, and an explanation of the cause of his insanity, and of his conversion to the service of the Most High. The tone of it is in marked contrast with his previous utterances. And the salutation, “Peace be multiplied unto you,” are the words of a Christian, and sound strange coming from the lips of a heathen king whose life had been spent in warfare for the purpose of building up a world-wide Empire. But his Dreams and experience had taught him that his Kingdom was not to last forever, and that the “Stone Kingdom” of the “Most High God” was to be an “EVERLASTING KINGDOM,” whose dominion would last from generation to generation.

The main part of the Proclamation is taken up with an account of a “Dream” which the King had, and its interpretation and fulfilment in his own experience.


“I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace: I saw a ‘Dream’ which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. 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.’ Then came in the Magicians, the Astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the Soothsayers: and I told the ‘Dream’ before them; but they did not make known unto me the Interpretation thereof.” Verses 4-7.

The Proclamation begins with the significant words-“I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace.” Like the rich man in the Parable, he was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day, and cared little for the misery of others, for his thoughts were self-centered, and taken up with his own greatness. He was at “rest” because he had conquered all his enemies. He was familiar with all the perils of the battlefield, and had faced them without fear. And now in the quiet and rest of his Palace, with no enemy to fear, he is troubled by a “Dream.” If the “Dream” had to do with his Empire, he probably would not have cared so much, but he realized that it in some way had to do with himself. He was anxious therefore to have it interpreted. So he sent for the “Wise Men” of Babylon, and while he this time had not forgotten his “Dream,” and repeated it to them, they failed him as before. Then Daniel appeared upon the scene. Where he had been, or why he had not been called in the first place, we are not told.

“But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the Spirit of the Holy Gods: and before him I told the ‘Dream,’ saying, O Belteshazzar, ‘Master of the Magicians,’ because I know that the Spirit of the Holy Gods is in thee, and no ‘secret’ troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my ‘Dream’ that I have seen, and the Interpretation thereof.” Verses 8-9.


“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.” Verses 10-12.

While Nebuchadnezzar was wondering what the “Vision of the Tree” meant, he saw descend from Heaven a “WATCHER,” or “HOLY ONE.” From verse 17 we learn that there is in Heaven a “Court,” known as the


and that it was by a “DECREE” of that Court, to which the case of Nebuchadnezzar had been referred, that he was condemned to live as a “Beast” for a period of seven years. The purpose of the “Decree” was that the inhabitants of the earth might know that the “Most High” ruleth in the kingdoms of men, and giveth them to whomsoever He will. The Book of Daniel reveals the close connection between the earth and the “Spirit World.” In chapter 9:10 we read of the visit of the angel Gabriel to Daniel, and in chapter 10:4-12 of other heavenly beings. In Eph. 6:11-12 we are told to put on the whole “Armor of God,” for, “we wrestle not against flesh and blood (earthly beings), but against ‘Principalities,’ against ‘Powers,’ against the ‘Rulers of the Darkness of this World,’ against ‘Spiritual Wickedness’ in high (heavenly) places.” There are three heavens spoken of in the Scriptures. The first is the atmosphere of our earth, the third is the Heaven where God dwells, and the second is an intermediate heaven where the “Principalities and Powers of Evil,” comprising the “Kingdom of Satan,” dwell. Satan is the “PRINCE” of the “Powers of the Air,” and he has many subordinate Princes who are delegated to do his obstructive work. Two of them are mentioned by Daniel, the “PRINCE OF PERSIA” and the “PRINCE OF GRECIA.” Dan. 10:13, 20. From this it would look as if Satan had a delegated Prince for every nation to superintend his work there. So great and powerful are these Princes that it takes the power and strength of “MICHAEL” the Archangel, the Commander-in-Chief of the “Armies of Heaven,” to overcome them. Dan. 10:13 ; Jude 9; Rev. 12; 7-9. That the “Powers of Evil” in the Heavenlies, as well as the conduct of earthly powers, may be properly controlled, and officially passed upon, there is a “Judicial Court” in Heaven before which their cases are tried, that the Book of Daniel calls the “COURT OF THE WATCHERS,” and whose decrees, as in the case of Nebuchadnezzar, are executed on the earth.

What troubled Nebuchadnezzar was not the “Vision of the Tree,” but the PERSONIFICATION of it by the “Watcher” or “Holy One,” who changed the word “it” to the personal pronoun “HIS.”

“I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a ‘WATCHER’ and a ‘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: 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: 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. This matter is by the Decree of the ‘WATCHERS,’ and the demand by the word of the ‘HOLY ONES;’ to the intent ‘that the living may know that the ‘MOST HIGH’ ruleth in the ‘Kingdom of Men,’ and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men. This ‘Dream’ I King Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the Interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the ‘Wise Men’ of my Kingdom are not able to make known unto me the Interpretation; but thou art able; for the Spirit of the Holy Gods is in thee.” Verses 13-18.

When Daniel heard the Dream he was greatly troubled, and for one hour was too astonished to speak. Not that he did not know the meaning of the Dream, but he dreaded to tell the King the unpleasant news. When however the King, who seemed to realize the personal character of the Dream, assured him that he need not fear to tell him, then Daniel, to prepare the King for the judgment that was to come upon him, said-“My lord, the Dream be to them that hate thee, and the Interpretation thereof to thine enemies.” That is, I wish that the calamity that is to fall on you might fall on your enemies. It was a wise answer, and paved the way for


“The TREE that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth; whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation: it is THOU, O King, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth. And whereas the King saw a ‘WATCHER’ and a ‘HOLY ONE’ coming down from Heaven, and saying, Hew the TREE down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof 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 of the field, till ‘SEVEN TIMES’ pass over him; this is the Interpretation, O King, and this is the DECREE of the Most High, which is come upon my Lord the King: that THEY SHALL DRIVE THEE FROM MEN, AND THY DWELLING SHALL BE WITH THE BEASTS OF THE FIELD, AND THEY SHALL MAKE THEE TO EAT GRASS AS OXEN, AND THEY SHALL WET THEE WITH THE DEW OF HEAVEN, AND ‘SEVEN TIMES’ SHALL PASS OVER THEE, TILL THOU KNOW THAT THE MOST HIGH RULETH IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, AND GIVETH IT TO WHOMSOEVER HE WILL. And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots: thy Kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt know THAT THE HEAVENS DO RULE.” Verses 20-26.

From the Interpretation the King could not mistake the meaning of his Dream. Then Daniel, like the faithful prophet that he was, took advantage of the opportunity and counselled the King to forsake his sinful ways.

“Wherefore, O King, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility .” Verse 27.


But the King did not take Daniel’s advice, and later had to make the humiliating confession that all that had been foretold about him had come to pass. But it did not come at once God gave him a year’s grace. Because the sentence was not executed at once Nebuchadnezzar may have thought that Daniel was mistaken, or that God had forgotten. But at the end of twelve months, as the King was walking in his palace, and beheld the great city of Babylon as it spread out before him from his Palace window, he exclaimed in his pride –

“Is not this GREAT BABYLON, that I have built for the ‘House of the Kingdom’ by the might of MY POWER, and for the honor of MY MAJESTY?” Verse 30.

That was the fatal moment. The time of probation was up.

“While the word was in the King’s mouth, there fell a voice from Heaven, saying, O King Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken: The Kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and ‘SEVEN TIMES’ shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the ‘Kingdom of Men.’ and giveth it (probably the Babylonian Kingdom) to whomsoever he will.” Verses 31-32.

The sentence was immediately executed. Not another moment of grace was given the King.

“The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagle’s feathers, and his nails like bird’s claws.” Verse 33.

The type of insanity that befell Nebuchadnezzar is a disease called “lycanthropy,” in which the patient imagines that he is some sort of a beast. Nebuchadnezzar imagined he was an ox. He was not confined but was allowed to roam in the fields, probably the grounds of the Palace, for we are told that he did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, and to complete the delusion he probably went about on all fours.

Nebuchadnezzar’s insanity lasted for seven years, for that is what the “Seven Times” mean. The period is not without its prophetical significance. It does not signify the length of the “Times of the Gentiles,” for a “Time” is not a period of 360 years, but only of one year. See chapter nine. The “Seven Times” foreshadow the. “SEVEN YEARS” of the rule of Antichrist, or the “Seventieth Week” of Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks,” when the “One” that hindereth – THE HOLY SPIRIT, shall have left the earth, having gone back with the Church, and when men in their madness and bestiality will act like beasts, and give their service and worship to Antichrist, that John in the Apocalypse calls – “THE BEAST.” At the end of the “Seven Times” (years), Nebuchadnezzar’s reason was restored to him.


“And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored Him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His Kingdom is from generation to generation: and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He doeth according to His will in the Army of Heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou?” Verses 34-35.

At the end of the “Seven Years” Nebuchadnezzar lifted up his eyes to Heaven. A beast does not do that. It, particularly an ox, looks downward. What Nebuchadnezzar meant was that he looked upward in prayer to God, and acknowledged His supremacy. In the doing of that his reason was restored, and he was fit to resume his kingly duties.

“At the same time my reason returned to me; and for the glory of my Kingdom, mine honor and brightness (glory) returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my Kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of Heaven, all whose works .are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” Verses 36-37.

Nebuchadnezzar’s restoration to his kingly rights was in fulfilment of the promise that his insanity should only last seven years, and that his Kingdom should then be made “sure,” or restored to him. Verse 26. During his insanity, his son, Evil-Merodach, is said to have reigned as Regent in his stead. The fact that he was graciously received back by his counsellors and lords is an indication that they looked upon his insanity as only temporary, and yet, if that be true, it seems strange that they did not confine him to the palace, instead of “driving” (vs. 25) him out into the fields away from the haunts of men. This is the last we read in the Scriptures of Nebuchadnezzar. He lived only about a year after his restoration to his throne, but it was a year during- ‘which great honors were heaped upon him, and in which he glorified God. He died after a brief illness in B. C. 561, and was succeeded by his son Evil-Merodach.


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