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                          "THE BOOK OF DANIEL"

             The Most High Rules In Kingdom Of Men (4:1-37)

INTRODUCTION

1. In Dan 2, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had a dream...
   a. Involving a large image with head of gold, chest and arms of
      silver, belly and thighs of bronze, legs of iron with feet of
      iron mixed with clay - Dan 2:36-43
      1) Representing four world empires
      2) I.e., Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome
   b. In which the image was destroyed by a small stone made without
      hands - Dan 2:44-45
      1) Representing the establishment of a kingdom by the God of
         heaven
      2) A kingdom that would never be destroyed, and would consume the
         other kingdoms
   -- Prompting the king to praise the God of Daniel - Dan 2:47

2. In Dan 3, Nebuchadnezzar made a large image of gold...
   a. He required all to worship it, under threat of death - Dan 3:4-6
   b. Three young men did not, yet survived the fiery furnace - Dan 3:
      23-27
   -- Prompting the king to bless the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and
      Abed-Nego - Dan 3:28-29

3. From Dan 4, it appears that Nebuchadnezzar had more to learn about
   God...
   a. He knew that God was Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets 
      - Dan 2:47
   b. He knew that God can deliver His servants - Dan 3:28-29
   -- But now it was time for him to learn that God, the Most High and
      King of heaven, rules in the kingdoms of men, including his own!

[It was through a second dream and succeeding events that led
Nebuchadnezzar to this conclusion.  In his own words, the king of 
Babylon relates how it happened...]

I. THE DREAM, INTERPRETATION, AND FULFILLMENT

   A. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S FOREWORD...
      1. Addressed to all who dwell on the earth - Dan 4:1
      2. To declare the signs and wonders of the Most High God - Dan 4:
         2-3a
      3. Proclaiming God's kingdom to be everlasting, His dominion from
         generation to generation - Dan 4:3b

   B. NEBUCHADNEZZAR'S DREAM...
      1. A dream which troubled him and made him afraid - Dan 4:4-5
      2. His dissatisfaction with the wise men of Babylon - Dan 4:6-7
      3. The dream is told to Daniel...
         a. The king's confidence in Daniel - Dan 4:8-9
         b. Elements of the dream - Dan 4:10-17
            1) A tree in the middle of the earth, its height reaching
               to the heavens
            2) The decree of a holy one, a "watcher", concerning the
               tree
               a) To be cut down, leaving only the stump and roots
               b) Bound with a band of iron and bronze
               c) Wet with the dew of heaven
               d) To graze with the beasts of the earth
               e) His heart changed from that of a man to an animal
               f) And let seven times (years?) pass over him
            3) The purpose of the decree is for the living to know:
               a) The Most High rules in the kingdom of men
               b) Who gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it
                  the lowest of men
         c. The king repeats his confidence in Daniel to interpret the
            dream - Dan 4:18

   C. DANIEL'S INTERPRETATION...
      1. Daniel is astonished and troubled by the dream - Dan 4:19
         a. Yet the king reassures Daniel to tell the interpretation
         b. Daniel wished the dream pertained to the king's enemies
      2. Elements of Daniel's interpretation - Dan 4:20-26
         a. The tree which became strong and tall represents
            Nebuchadnezzar
         b. The king shall be driven from men, dwell among beasts and
            eat grass like oxen
            1) Seven times (years?) will pass over him
            2) Till he knew that the Most High rules in the kingdom of
               men, giving it to whomever He chooses
         c. The kingdom shall be returned to Nebuchadnezzar
            1) Indicated by the command to leave the stump and roots of
               the tree
            2) Once he comes to know that Heaven rules
      3. Daniel's counsel for the king to be righteous and show mercy
         - Dan 4:27

   D. THE DREAM'S FULFILLMENT...
      1. It came to pass at the end of twelve months - Dan 4:28-29
      2. As the king was boasting about his power and majesty - Dan 4:
         30-32
      3. That very hour he was driven from men - Dan 4:33
         a. He ate grass like oxen
         b. His body was wet with the dew of heaven
         c. His hair grew like eagle's feathers, his nails like birds'
            claws
      4. And the end of the time, understanding returned to the king 
         - Dan 4:34-35
         a. Prompting him to bless and praise the Most High, who lives
            forever
         b. Acknowledging His everlasting dominion and kingdom
         c. Who does according to His will in the army of heaven and
            among inhabitants of the earth, and none can restrain or
            say "What have You done?"
      5. Nebuchadnezzar restored - Dan 4:36-37
         a. His reason, honor, and splendor returned, his counselor and
            nobles resorted to him
         b. But now he praises and honors the King of heaven for His
            truth and justice, Who is able to humble those who walk in
            pride

   E. THE MAIN POINT OF THE DREAM AND ITS FULFILLMENT...
      1. Stated several times in this chapter
         a. In the dream itself - Dan 4:17
         b. By Daniel, in providing the interpretation - Dan 4:25-26
         c. As spoken from Heaven when the dream came to pass - Dan 4:
            32
         d. By Nebuchadnezzar when he returned to his senses - Dan 4:
            34-35
      2. To learn that "The Most High Rules In The Kingdom Of Men"
         a. Which Daniel acknowledged from Nebuchadnezzar's first dream
            - Dan 2:20-21
         b. And now does the king, from his second dream!

[The main point is simple enough, but do we acknowledge that it is
still true?  Do we appreciate that the Most High still rules in the
kingdom of men, only now through His Son?  Lest we forget, let's review
what the New Testament teaches about...]

II. THE RULE OF GOD IN THE KINGDOMS OF MEN

   A. CHRIST NOW REIGNS AS SOVEREIGN...
      1. As claimed before His ascension to heaven - Mt 28:18
      2. As proclaimed after His ascension - Re 2:26-27; 3:21
      3. As taught by His apostles - Ep 1:20-22; 1Co 15:24-28; 1 Pe
         3:22
   
   [So He has the authority, but does He exercise it? Consider the next
   point...]

   B. CHRIST NOW REIGNS IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN...
      1. As foretold by the prophets
         a. In Psalms 2, which speaks of:
            1) The attempt of the nations to reject Christ - Ps 2:1-3
            2) The coronation of Christ despite their efforts - Ps 2:
               4-6
            3) The exercise of Christ's rule over the nations - Ps 2:
               7-9
            4) The importance of kings and judges serving the Lord 
               - Ps 2:10-12
            -- Ac 4:23-28 confirms that this passage refers to Jesus!
         b. In Psalms 110, which tells of:
            1) The rule of Christ in the midst of His enemies - Psa
               110:1-2
            2) The voluntary service of His people (the church), and
               the priestly service of their King - Ps 110:3-4
            3) The exercise of judgment among the nations - Ps 110:5-7
            -- Ac 2:32-36 confirms that this passage refers to Jesus!
      2. As taught by the apostles
         a. Governing authorities exist as appointed by God, to serve
            as ministers of God - Ro 13:1-4
         b. Why pray for kings and those in authority, that peace may
            prevail, unless God through Christ can do something about
            it? - cf. 1Ti 2:1-2
         c. Jesus is the "ruler over the kings of the earth" - Re 1:5
            1) He exercised that rule in the destruction of Jerusalem,
               foretold in Mt 24
            2) He exercised that rule in destroying the beast of
               Revelation (the Roman empire) and all his forces - cf.
               Re 17:14
            -- Truly Jesus is "King of kings, and Lord of lords"! - cf.
               Rev 19:16; 1Ti 6:15
      3. We may not always be able to see how it is so
         a. If Christ rules in the kingdom of men, why do evil men and
            evil empires exist?
         b. This was a problem that perplexed Habakkuk...
            1) Who bewailed the wickedness in Israel - Hab 1:2-4
            2) Who was amazed that God would punish Israel by a nation
               more evil than it - Hab 1:12-13
            3) Who placed his trust in God, no matter the circumstances
               - Hab 3:17-19
         c. It helps to understand the nature of Christ's rule
            1) He rules "in the midst of His enemies" - Ps 110:2
            2) He must reign "till He has put all enemies under His
               feet" - 1Co 15:25-26
            -- Until He comes again, Jesus exercises His authority over
               the nations in ways we may not always comprehend

CONCLUSION

1. To know that "the Most High rules" must have been comforting to
   Daniel...
   a. For at that time he and the nation of Israel were in captivity
   b. Their temple was destroyed, the land plundered and filled with
      transplanted foreigners
   c. Yet Daniel knew the prophecy of Jeremiah, that after seventy
      years they would return - cf. Dan 9:1-2
   -- Knowing that God rules, even when wicked men seem to prevail,
      gave him hope

2. We can take comfort in knowing that "the Most High rules" today...
   a. That He who rules in the kingdom of men is Jesus!
   b. Who is our Savior, Priest, and Friend!
   -- Therefore we can look forward to the future with hope, not 
      apprehension

3. But this is true only if we give Jesus sovereign rule in our
   personal lives...
   a. He must be "our" Lord, the King of "our" lives!
   b. We must be "volunteers" in the day of His power - cf. Ps 110:3

Have we submitted in obedience to Him who is both Lord and Christ (cf.
Ac 2:36-38)?  Remember the admonition of the Psalmist...

      "Serve the LORD with fear, And rejoice with trembling.

      "Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, And you perish in the way,
         When His wrath is kindled but a little.

      "Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.

                                                       (Ps 2:11-12)

Are you putting your trust in Jesus, the Son of God?
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