但以理書 4

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1 尼布甲尼撒王曉諭住在全地各方、各國、各族的人說:願你們大享平安!

2 我樂意將至的神向我所行的神蹟奇事宣揚出來。

3 他的神蹟何其大!他的奇事何其盛!他的國是永遠的;他的權柄存到萬代!

4 尼布甲尼撒安居在宮中,平順在殿內。

5 我做了一夢,使我懼怕。我在床上的思念,並腦中的異象,使我驚惶。

6 所以我降旨召巴比倫的一切哲士到我面前,叫他們把夢的講解告訴我。

7 於是那些術士、用法術的、迦勒底人、觀兆的都進來,我將那夢告訴了他們,他們卻不能把夢的講解告訴我。

8 末後那照我神的名,稱為伯提沙撒的但以理來到我面前,他裡頭有聖神的靈,我將夢告訴他說:

9 術士的領袖伯提沙撒啊,因我知道你裡頭有聖神的靈,甚麼奧祕的事都不能使你為難。現在要把我夢中所見的異象和夢的講解告訴我。

10 我在床上腦中的異象是這樣:我看見地當中有一棵樹,極其大。

11 那樹漸長,而且堅固,得頂天,從地極都能看見,

12 葉子華美,果子甚多,可作眾生的食物;田野的走獸臥在蔭,天空的飛鳥宿在枝上;凡有血氣的都從這樹得食。

13 我在床上腦中的異象,見有一位守望的聖者從天而降。

14 大聲呼叫:伐倒這樹!砍枝子!搖掉葉子!拋散果子!使走獸離開樹,飛鳥躲開樹枝。

15 樹墩卻要留在地內,用鐵圈和銅圈箍住,在田野的青草中讓天露滴濕,使他與地上的獸一同吃草,

16 使他的心改變,不如人心;給他一個獸心,使他經過七期(期:或譯年;本章同)。

17 這是守望者所發的命,聖者所出的令,好叫世人知道至者在人的國中掌權,要將國賜與誰就賜與誰,或立極卑微的人執掌國權。

18 這是我─尼布甲尼撒王所做的夢。伯提沙撒啊,你要說明這夢的講解;因為我國中的一切哲士都不能將夢的講解告訴我,惟獨你能,因你裡頭有聖神的靈。

19 於是稱為伯提沙撒的但以理驚訝片時,心意驚惶。王:伯提沙撒啊,不要因夢和夢的講解驚惶。伯提沙撒回答:我主啊,願這夢歸與恨惡你的人,講解歸與你的敵人。

20 你所見的樹漸長,而且堅固,得頂天,從地極都能看見;

21 葉子華美,果子甚多,可作眾生的食物;田野的走獸住在其;天空的飛鳥宿在枝上。

22 王啊,這漸長又堅固的樹就是你。你的威勢漸長及天,你的權柄管到地極。

23 王既看見一位守望的聖者從天而降,:將這樹砍伐毀壞,樹墩卻要留在地內,用鐵圈和銅圈箍住;在田野的青草中,讓天露滴濕,使他與地上的獸一同吃草,直到經過七期。

24 王啊,講解就是這樣:臨到我主我王的事是出於至者的命。

25 你必被趕出離開世人,與野地的獸同居,吃草如牛,被天露滴濕,且要經過七期。等你知道至者在人的國中掌權,要將國賜與誰就賜與誰。

26 守望者既吩咐存留樹墩,等你知道諸天掌權,以後你的國必定歸你。

27 王啊,求你悅納我的諫言,以施行公斷絕罪過,以憐憫窮人除掉罪孽,或者你的平安可以延

28 這事都臨到尼布甲尼撒王。

29 過了十二個月,他遊行在巴比倫王宮裡(原文是上)。

30 :這大巴比倫不是我用大能大力建為京都,要顯我威嚴的榮耀麼?

31 這話在王口中尚未完,有聲音從天降下,尼布甲尼撒王啊,有話對你,你的國位離開你了。

32 你必被趕出離開世人,與野地的獸同居,吃草如牛,且要經過七期。等你知道至者在人的國中掌權,要將國賜與誰就賜與誰。

33 當時這話就應驗在尼布甲尼撒的身上,他被趕出離開世人,吃草如牛,身被天露滴濕,頭髮,好像鷹毛;指甲,如同鳥爪。

34 日子滿足,我─尼布甲尼撒舉目望天,我的聰明復歸於我,我便稱頌至者,讚美尊敬活到永遠的神。他的權柄是永有的;他的國存到萬代。

35 世上所有的居民都算為虛無;在天上的萬軍和世上的居民中,他都憑自己的意旨行事。無人能攔住他手,或問他,你做甚麼呢?

36 那時,我的聰明復歸於我,為我國的榮耀、威嚴,和光耀也都復歸於我;並且我的謀士和大臣也來朝見我。我又得堅立在國位上,至大的權柄加增於我。

37 現在我─尼布甲尼撒讚美、尊崇、恭敬天上的王;因為他所做的全都誠實,他所行的也都公平。那行動驕傲的,他能降為卑。

  

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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:

属天的奥秘 274, 290, 395, 728, 776, 1326, 3301, ...

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

Doctrine of the Lord 40, 48

最后的审判 54

真实的基督教 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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尼布甲尼撒
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