Daniel 4

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1 Koning Nebukadnésar aan al die volke, nasies en tale wat op die hele aarde woon: Mag julle vrede groot wees!

2 Dit behaag my om die tekens en wonders wat die allerhoogste God aan my gedoen het, te verkondig.

3 Hoe groot is sy tekens, en hoe magtig sy wonders! Sy koninkryk is 'n ewige koninkryk, en sy heerskappy is van geslag tot geslag!

4 Ek, Nebukadnésar, het rustig in my huis gelewe en was voorspoedig in my paleis.

5 Ek het 'n droomgesig gesien wat my verskrik het--droombeelde op my bed en die gesigte van my hoof het my verontrus.

6 Daarop is deur my bevel gegee om al die wyse manne van Babel voor my te bring, dat hulle my die uitlegging van die droom bekend kan maak.

7 Toe het die geleerdes, die besweerders, die Chaldeërs en die waarsêers gekom, en ek het hulle die droom vertel, maar hulle het sy uitlegging my nie bekend gemaak nie;

8 totdat eindelik Daniël voor my ingekom het, wie se naam Béltsasar is, na die naam van my god, en in wie die gees van die heilige gode is; en ek het hom die droom vertel:

9 Béltsasar, owerste van die geleerdes, van wie ek weet dat die gees van die heilige gode in jou is en dat geen enkele geheim jou kwel nie, vertel my die droomgesigte wat ek gesien het, naamlik die uitlegging daarvan.

10 Wat nou die gesigte van my hoof op my bed betref--ek het gesien, en kyk, daar was 'n boom in die middel van die aarde, en sy hoogte was groot.

11 Die boom het groot geword en sterk, en sy hoogte het tot aan die hemel gereik, sodat hy tot aan die einde van die hele aarde sigbaar was.

12 Sy blare was mooi en sy vrugte baie, en aan hom was vir alles voedsel; onder hom het die diere van die veld skaduwee gesoek, en in sy takke het die voëls van die hemel gewoon, ja, alle vlees is daardeur gevoed.

13 Ek het in die gesigte van my hoof op my bed gesien, en kyk, 'n bode, naamlik 'n heilige, het uit die hemel neergedaal;

14 hy het hardop geroep en só gesê: Kap die boom om en kap sy takke af, trek sy blare af en verstrooi sy vrugte; laat die diere onder hom uit wegvlug en die voëls uit sy takke.

15 Maar laat sy penwortel in die aarde staan, en dit met 'n band van yster en koper in die groen gras van die veld; en laat hy deur die dou van die hemel natgemaak word en saam met die diere deel hê aan die plante van die aarde.

16 Laat sy hart anders word as dié van 'n mens en 'n dierehart aan hom gegee word, en laat sewe tydperke oor hom heengaan.

17 Op 'n besluit van die bodes berus die bevel, en 'n woord van die heiliges is die saak, met die bedoeling dat die lewendes kan erken dat die Allerhoogste mag het oor die koningskap van die mens en dit gee aan wie Hy wil, en die nederige onder die mense daaroor aanstel.

18 Dit is die droomgesig wat ek, koning Nebukadnésar, gehad het; en jy, Béltsasar, sê my die uitlegging, omdat al die wyse manne van my koninkryk my die uitlegging nie kon bekend maak nie; maar jy is daartoe in staat, want die gees van die heilige gode is in jou.

19 Toe het Daniël, wie se naam Béltsasar was, 'n oomblik verstom gestaan en sy gedagtes het hom verskrik. Die koning het daarop gespreek en gesê: Béltsasar, laat die droom en die uitlegging jou nie verskrik nie. Béltsasar het geantwoord en gesê: My heer, mag die droom u haters en sy uitlegging u teëstanders oorkom.

20 Die boom wat u gesien het--wat groot en sterk geword het, en waarvan die hoogte tot aan die hemel gereik het en wat vir die hele aarde sigbaar was,

21 en waarvan die blare mooi en die vrugte baie gewees het, en waar voedsel vir alles aan was, waaronder die diere van die veld gehou en in die takke waarvan die voëls van die hemel gewoon het--

22 dit is u, o koning, wat groot en sterk geword het, wie se grootheid toegeneem het en reik tot aan die hemel en u heerskappy tot aan die einde van die aarde.

23 En dat die koning 'n bode, naamlik 'n heilige, uit die hemel sien neerdaal het met die woorde: Kap die boom om en verwoes hom, maar laat sy penwortel in die aarde staan, en dit met 'n band van yster en koper in die groen gras van die veld, en laat hy deur die dou van die hemel natgemaak word en sy lot saam met die diere van die veld wees totdat sewe tydperke oor hom heengegaan het--

24 dit is die uitlegging, o koning, en dit is die besluit van die Allerhoogste wat oor my heer die koning kom:

25 Hulle sal u uit die mensdom verstoot, en u woning sal saam met die diere van die veld wees, en hulle sal u soos die beeste plante laat eet; en u sal deur die dou van die hemel natgemaak word, en sewe tydperke sal oor u heengaan totdat u erken dat die Allerhoogste mag het oor die koningskap van die mens en dit gee aan wie Hy wil.

26 En dat hulle bevel gegee het om die penwortel van die boom te laat staan--u koningskap sal vir u bestendig wees vandat u erken het dat die hemel heers.

27 Daarom, o koning, laat my raad u welgevallig wees en breek met u sondes deur geregtigheid en met u ongeregtighede deur genade te bewys aan die ellendiges as daar verlenging van u rus moet wees.

28 Dit alles het oor koning Nebukadnésar gekom.

29 Aan die einde van twaalf maande terwyl hy op die koninklike paleis van Babel rondwandel,

30 het die koning aangehef en gesê: Is dit nie die groot Babel wat ek opgebou het tot 'n koninklike verblyf, deur die sterkte van my vermoë, en tot verheerliking van my majesteit nie?

31 Terwyl die woord nog in die mond van die koning was, val daar 'n stem uit die hemel: Koning Nebukadnésar, jou word aangesê--die koningskap word jou ontneem;

32 en hulle sal jou uit die mensdom verstoot, en jou woning sal saam met die diere van die veld wees; hulle sal jou plante laat eet soos die beeste, en sewe tydperke sal oor jou heengaan, totdat jy erken dat die Allerhoogste mag het oor die koningskap van die mens en dit gee aan wie Hy wil.

33 Dieselfde oomblik het die woord in vervulling gegaan oor Nebukadnésar--hy is uit die mensdom verstoot en het plante geëet soos die beeste, en deur die dou van die hemel is sy liggaam natgemaak, totdat sy hare lank geword het soos die vere van arende, en sy naels soos dié van voëls.

34 En ná verloop van tyd het ek, Nebukadnésar, my oë na die hemel opgeslaan, en my verstand het in my teruggekeer, en ek het die Allerhoogste geloof en Hom wat ewig lewe, geprys en geëer, wie se heerskappy 'n ewige mag en wie se koningskap van geslag tot geslag is.

35 En al die aardbewoners word as niks geag nie, en na sy wil handel Hy met die leër van die hemel en die bewoners van die aarde, en daar is niemand wat sy hand kan afslaan en vir Hom kan : Wat doen U nie?

36 In dié tyd het my verstand in my teruggekeer; en wat die eer van my koningskap betref--my majesteit en my glans het in my teruggekeer, en my raadsmanne en my maghebbers het my opgesoek; en ek is in my koningskap herstel, en buitengewone grootheid is my toegevoeg.

37 Nou prys ek, Nebukadnésar, en ek roem en eer die Koning van die hemel: al sy werke is waarheid en sy paaie is reg, en Hy kan verneder die wat in hulle trotsheid wandel.

  

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Nebuchadnezzar's Second Dream      

Napsal(a) Rev. Dr. Andrew M. T. Dibb

Floor mosaic of a the Tree of Life (as a pomegranite) from the Big Basilica at Heraclea Lyncestis. Bitola, Macedonia.

In the Book of Daniel, Chapter Four is narrated, after the events of the chapter, by a much-changed Nebuchadnezzar. In the internal sense, the story shows both the Lord's mercy in leading us, and also the depths of despair to which we sink before we willingly open our minds to the Lord and pray for His leadership.

At the beginning of the story, Nebuchadnezzar's idleness imitates the sense of complacency when things seem to be going right, when no temptations darken our skies, and essential selfishness asserts itself once again. Our mind is its house, its palace. We come into this state after a temptation or battle against our sense of selfishness, when we put the struggle aside and rest on our laurels. We are oblivious to the fact that regeneration is an ongoing state, that one temptation succeeds another, and that once conscience has been established in our thought processes, it will not be too long before the lethargy of selfishness is challenged.

While Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in his house, he had a disturbing dream, one unknown to him. As before when he did not understand his dreams, he called the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans and the soothsayers, who, once again, could not interpret the dream.

Often we feel that we face the same temptations over and over again. We might wonder if we will ever regenerate. This is because we fall into a state of selfishness, represented by the king at rest. But when we encounter resistance to that selfishness, we turn back to all our old thought patterns to help us.

Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar called Daniel to tell him his dream. As he recounts the story after the seven years of illness, he uses the words he had spoken before. He addresses Daniel as Belteshazzar, because that is how he saw him before the temptation. Even so, he recognized the presence of the Spirit of the Holy God within him, acknowledging Daniel's power to explain dreams and give interpretations.

The king's second dream took the image of a great tree, planted in the earth, so high it could be seen from the ends of the earth. This parallels the image of the great statue, whose head was gold. As we saw earlier, this image represents the initial state of perfection, followed by a decline as a person turns away from this ideal. The statue shows how self love takes dominance in our lives if unchecked, and brings us into a final state of spiritual destruction.

In this new dream, the tree in the midst of the earth is a reference to the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden of Eden. Both trees symbolize wisdom. The Tree of Life represented the perception the Most Ancient people had from love (Arcana Coelestia 103), but Nebuchadnezzar's tree is from the love of self and the different perceptions people have when motivated by that love (Apocalypse Explained 1029:6).

But when Nebuchadnezzar saw the tree in his dream, it was lovely. Everything in the dream which normally has a good and beautiful significance, instead takes on a negative meaning. The leaves and flowers, which should have been a picture of guiding truths (Arcana Coelestia 9553), represent the opposite, as the falsities which mislead us. We saw how the king called his false guides: the magicians, soothsayers, astrologers, and Chaldeans.

The birds represent the false thoughts from selfishness (Arcana Coelestia 5149). These give credence to selfishness, to justify it and find new ways to express it. So the tree takes on an intellectual picture of the selfish mind. But the mind is made up of both intellect and emotion. There were also beasts sheltering under the tree representing the things we care about.

When selfishness rules in us, just as Nebuchadnezzar ruled Babylon, all the lesser loves take their cue from this leading love. Thus the beasts of the field, were drawn to the tree for food and shelter.

After this scene is set, Nebuchadnezzar sees "a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven." The introduction of the indescribable watcher is the turning point in the dream, marking the beginning of the end for this marvel reaching up to heaven.

In a state of selfishness, we are spiritually asleep, just as Nebuchadnezzar was asleep when he dreamed. But the Lord never sleeps. Truth in our minds is always vigilant, looking for ways of bringing itself to our consciousness to lead us out of our selfish state. Just as everything seemed right in Nebuchadnezzar's world, he became aware of a watcher—the truth.

In an instant, the king's serenity was changed: a force greater than himself commanded the destruction of the tree, and there was nothing he could do about it. These words make it clear just how vulnerable our selfish states are. At their height, they seem so powerful, but in the face of truth they are shown for the sordid little nothings they are. Truth has the power to expose evil, and we should not be afraid to allow it to do so in our own lives. To stand indicted of selfishness is not the end of life, as it may feel, but the beginning of a new life of liberation.

But we still need some sense of self. There is nothing wrong with being concerned with our own well-being; it is vital to our lives. Selfishness is a part of us, but it needs to be kept under control, subordinated to the higher loves of serving the Lord and our neighbor.

This is why the watcher did not order the complete destruction of the tree: the stump is all that is left of a rampant selfishness, the bands of iron and brass represent thoughts and feelings which originate in selfishness, which can be used to keep it under control (Apocalypse Explained 650:32).

Finally, with the tree destroyed, Nebuchadnezzar himself had to be changed. The watcher commanded that the king is given the heart of an animal for seven years. In substance abuse recovery programs, it is said that an addict cannot change until they hit rock-bottom—when they realize the full necessity of change. In spiritual life, this rock bottom is a point at which we almost lose our humanity, we are so dominated by selfishness, greed and the lust of dominion that we lose our ability to think rationally. We become animals. The difference between humans and animals is our ability to think and act in freedom. Self-love destroys that freedom, thus destroying all humanity within us.

In this prophesy, we see a descent: from man, to beast, to ox. People are human because they are created in the image and likeness of the Lord. Thus human beings have the ability to think and act according to reason. This is the essence of our humanity (Arcana Coelestia 477, 2305, 4051, 585, 1555). When these are in tune with truth and goodness from the Lord, then we are truly human, because the image of the Lord is in us.

So again, we see this slide from an ideal to a lesser state: from man, the king became a beast. From rationality and freedom, he entered slavery. This fall appears earlier in the Word: when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they were cast out.

Finally he was told that he would eat grass like oxen. In a positive sense, oxen represent our affections (Arcana Coelestia 5198, 5642, 6357), or our love of the things of this world. But the opposite meaning of 'ox' is the perversion of goodness (Arcana Coelestia 9083), and the affection for injuring others (Arcana Coelestia 9094).

This humbling of the king represents the proper use of the love of self, and shows that the Lord does not eradicate it, because it is the foundation of true relationships with other people and the Lord Himself. But before it can become useful, selfishness needs to be converted into a humbled love of self, and we must return from the ox state.

As Daniel explained the meaning of the dream, he offered the king counsel: 'break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.' This is the next step in spiritual awareness. Seeing our selfishness, coupled with an increased awareness of the Lord, we reach the point where thoughts must become actions. At first glance, the concept of 'sins and iniquities' may seem redundant. But in the Word, pairs of synonymous words reflect two internal senses: the celestial and the spiritual (Doctrine of the Sacred Scripture 80). The celestial relates broadly to goodness, and the spiritual to truth. Together they make one.

Daniel's advice to Nebuchadnezzar is to repent. Repentance is the only way out of the quicksand of selfishness. The Lord taught that we should love one another as He loves us (John 13:34, John 15:12). To love ourselves alone, and to wish to control others is not in keeping with the Lord's teachings. The only solution is to listen to the voice of our conscience and allow ourselves to be guided by the truth.

In spite of everything, Nebuchadnezzar's pride was not reduced. As he walked around his palace, his heart was filled with pride: 'is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?'

A selfish person believes that everything they own or have accomplished is by their own power. There is no place for God or anyone else. When people do not listen to the Lord's teachings and reject His counsel, there is nothing the Lord can do but allow the person to reap the consequences of their choice.

The king remained in this ox-state until seven times passed over him, which illustrates that the Lord leaves us in this state until it runs its course. Sometimes it takes us a lifetime to see how our selfishness hurts others, and ourselves. Yet the Lord never leaves us. The promise of the root of the tree, bound with bands of iron and bronze is always there. The Lord works unceasingly to bring our selfishness under control until it can serve the higher loves of our neighbor and the Lord Himself.

Forgiveness begins in the recognition that we are in sin. In his ox-like state, Nebuchadnezzar lifted his eyes to heaven. Eyes represent understanding (Arcana Coelestia 2975, 3863), and to lift them to heaven is to lift our understanding to the truths the Lord has given us. The king had been given some truths in his dreams and in the interpretation of them. He knew from Daniel's advice that he needed to repent and change his ways. As he did so, his understanding and appreciation of the Lord grew. He realized how small he was in the grand scheme of things. The inflated ego of selfishness was deflated by the recognition that all things had been given to him by the Lord.

His story is our story. We each build our empires in one way or another. We hold the power of life and death over others in a figurative sense—do we not decide who we like and dislike, who is admitted out our 'inner circle' and who is beyond the pale? The warnings the Lord gave to Nebuchadnezzar apply to us, and like the king, we can also ignore them. The consequences in our lives are the same, as we are reduced to a merely animal-being, wet with the dew of heaven.

Yet can we hear the Lord's voice calling, for unless we do, we will remain in that state. Can we lift our eyes to heaven and search for the truth leading to the greatest declaration one can make, provided it is done with the heart and not with the lips:

Now I … praise and extol and honor the king of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and his ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase.

Swedenborg

Hlavní výklad ze Swedenborgových prací:

Apocalypse Revealed 717

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 175


Další odkazy Swedenborga k této kapitole:

Arcana Coelestia 274, 290, 395, 728, 776, 1326, 3301, ...

Apocalypse Revealed 47, 60, 158, 173, 474, 567, 757, ...

Doctrine of the Lord 40, 48

The Last Judgement 54

True Christian Religion 93, 644


Odkazy ze Swedenborgových nevydaných prací:

Apocalypse Explained 109, 204, 257, 650, 662, 1029, 1100

Coronis (An Appendix to True Christian Religion) 3

An Invitation to the New Church 22

Marriage 93

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 30, 31

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Významy biblických slov

Nebukadnésar
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of the Babylonian empire. His fiery furnace and his dreams of the great tree and of the great statue are...

ewige
It is hard for us to conceive this, but time does not exist in spiritual reality. Time is an aspect of physical reality that no...

gesien
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

besweerders
'Soothsayers' were people who studied natural magic.

waarsêers
'Soothsayers' were people who studied natural magic.

Béltsasar
The book of Daniel follows after Ezekiel in the Old Testament. Daniel was a prophet during the early part of the captivity of the Jews...

vertel
'To tell' signifies perceiving, because in the spiritual world, or in heaven, they do not need to tell what they think because they communicate every...

onder
In the Bible, things that are lower down, or under, physically, generally represent things that are lower or more external spiritually. In some cases, the...

gesê
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

sien
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

geregtigheid
The word "righteous" has taken on a bit of negative shading in modern language. That may be because we hear it most often as part...

lank
'Long' and thence to prolong, refer to good.


As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

waarheid
There's a great deal of talk in Swedenborg about "truth" as a concept – it's how we learn the Lord's will, what we must seek...

paaie
These days we tend to think of "roads" as smooth swaths of pavement, and judge them by how fast we can drive cars on them....

reg
He is said to be 'just' in a spiritual sense, who lives according to divine laws. They on the right hand being called 'just,' as...

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Project | Ages 11 - 17

 Overview of Daniel: A Man of Conscience for ages 3-14
Overview of a series of scripted lessons for the first six chapters of the book of Daniel. Suitable for Sunday schools, families and classrooms. Levels A, B and C provide materials for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

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Spiritual tasks offer a reflection on a Biblical story or passage and suggest a task for spiritual growth.
Activity | Ages over 18


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