Daniel 4

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1 Jag, Nebukadnessar, satt i god ro i mitt hus och levde lycklig i mitt palats.

2 Då hade jag en dröm som förskräckte mig; jag ängslades genom drömbilder på mitt läger och genom en syn som jag såg.

3 Därför gav jag befallning att man skulle hämta alla de vise i Babel till mig, för att de skulle säga mig drömmens uttydning.

4 Så kommo nu spåmännen, besvärjarna, kaldéerna och stjärntydarna, och jag förtäljde drömmen för dem, men de kunde icke säga mig dess uttydning.

5 Slutligen kom ock Daniel inför mig, han som hade fått namnet Beltesassar efter min guds namn, och i vilken heliga gudars ande är; och jag förtäljde drömmen för honom sålunda:

6 »Beltesassar, du som är den överste bland spåmännen, du om vilken jag vet att heliga gudars ande är i dig, och att ingen hemlighet är dig för svår, säg mig vad jag såg i min dröm, och vad den betyder.

7 Detta var den syn jag hade på mitt läger: Jag såg i min syn ett träd stå mitt på jorden, och det var mycket högt.

8 Ja, stort och väldigt var trädet, och så högt att det räckte upp till himmelen och syntes allt intill jordens ända.

9 Dess lövverk var skönt, och de bar mycken frukt, så att det hade föda åt alla. Markens djur funno skugga därunder, och himmelens fåglar bodde på dess grenar, och allt kött hade sin föda därav.

10 Vidare såg jag, i den syn jag hade på mitt läger, huru en helig ängel steg ned från himmelen.

11 Han ropade med hög röst och sade: 'Huggen ned trädet och skären av dess grenar, riven bort dess lövverk och förströn dess frukt, så att djuren som ligga därunder fara sin väg och fåglarna flyga bort ifrån dess grenar.

12 Dock må stubben med rötterna lämnas kvar i jorden, bunden med kedjor av järn och koppar, bland markens gräs; av himmelens dagg skall han vätas och hava sin lott med djuren bland markens örter.

13 Hans hjärta skall förvandlas, så att det icke mer är en människas, och ett djurs hjärta skall givas åt honom, och sju tider skola så gå fram över honom.

14 Så är det förordnat genom änglarnas rådslut, och så är det befallt om denna sak av de heliga, för att de levande skola besinna att den Högste råder över människors riken och giver dem åt vem han vill, ja, upphöjer den lägste bland människor till att härska över dem.'

15 Sådan var den dröm som jag, konung Nebukadnessar, hade. Och du, Beltesassar, må nu säga uttydningen; ty ingen av de vise i mitt rike kan säga mig uttydningen, men du kan det väl, ty heliga gudars ande är i dig.»

16 Då stod Daniel, som också hade namnet Beltesassar, en stund häpen, uppfylld av oroliga tankar. Men konungen tog åter till orda och sade: »Beltesassar, låt icke drömmen och vad den betyder förskräcka dig. Beltesassar svarade och sade: »Min herre, o att drömmen gällde dem som hata dig, och dess betydelse dina fiender!

17 Trädet som du såg, vilket var så stort och väldigt och så högt att det räckte upp till himmelen och syntes över hela jorden,

18 och som hade ett så skönt lövverk och bar mycken frukt, så att det hade föda åt alla, trädet under vilket markens djur bodde, och på vars grenar himmelens fåglar hade sina nästen,

19 det är du själv, o konung, du som har blivit så stor och väldig, du vilkens storhet har vuxit, till dess att den har nått upp till himmelen, och vilkens välde sträcker sig till jordens ända.

20 Men att konungen såg en helig ängel stiga ned från himmelen, vilken sade: 'Huggen ned trädet och förstören det; dock må stubben med rötterna lämnas kvar i jorden, bunden med kedjor av järn och koppar, bland markens gräs; av himmelens dagg skall han vätas och hava sin lott med markens djur, till dess att sju tider hava gått fram över honom',

21 detta betyder följande, o konung, och detta är den Högstes rådslut, som har drabbat min herre konungen:

22 Du skall bliva utstött från människorna och nödgas bo ibland markens djur och äta gräs såsom en oxe och vätas av himmelens dagg; och sju tider skola så gå fram över dig, till dess du besinnar att den Högste råder över människors riken och giver dem åt vem han vill.

23 Men att det befalldes att trädets stubbe med rötterna skulle lämnas kvar, det betyder att du skall återfå ditt rike, när du har besinnat att det är himmelen som har makten.

24 Därför, o konung, må du låta mitt råd täckas dig: gör dig fri ifrån dina synder genom att göra gott, och ifrån dina missgärningar genom att öva barmhärtighet mot de fattiga, om till äventyrs din lycka så kunde bliva beståndande.»

25 Allt detta drabbade också konung Nebukadnessar.

26 Tolv månader därefter, när konungen en gång gick omkring på taket av det kungliga palatset i Babel,

27 hov han upp sin röst och sade: »Se, detta är det stora Babel, som jag har byggt upp till ett konungasäte genom min väldiga makt, min härlighet till ära!»

28 Medan ordet ännu var i konungens mun, kom en röst från himmelen: »Dig, konung Nebukadnessar, vare det sagt: Ditt rike har blivit taget ifrån dig;

29 du skall bliva utstött från människorna och nödgas bo ibland markens djur och äta gräs såsom en oxe; och sju tider skola så gå fram över dig, till dess du besinnar att den Högste råder över människors riken och giver dem åt vem han vill.»

30 I samma stund gick det ordet i fullbordan på Nebukadnessar; han blev utstött från människorna och måste äta gräs såsom en oxe, och av himmelens dagg vättes hans kropp, till dess att hans hår växte och blev såsom örnfjädrar, och till dess att hans naglar blevo såsom fågelklor.

31 Men när tiden var förliden, upplyfte jag, Nebukadnessar, mina ögon till himmelen och fick åter mitt förstånd. Då lovade jag den Högste, jag prisade och ärade honom som lever evinnerligen, honom vilkens välde är ett evigt välde, och vilkens rike varar från släkte till släkte,

32 honom mot vilken alla som bo på jorden äro att akta såsom intet, ty han gör vad han vill både med himmelens här och med dem som bo på jorden, och ingen kan stå emot hans hand eller säga till honom: »Vad gör du?»

33 Så fick jag då på den tiden åter mitt förstånd, och jag fick tillbaka min härlighet och glans, mitt rike till ära; och mina rådsherrar och stormän sökte upp mig. Och jag blev åter insatt i mitt rike, och ännu större makt blev mig given.

34 Därför prisar nu jag, Nebukadnessar, och upphöjer och ärar himmelens konung, ty alla hans gärningar äro sanning, och hans vägar äro rätta, och dem som vandra i högmod kan han ödmjuka.

  
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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 Caelestia 274, 290, 395, 728, 776, 3301, 3384, ...

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

Doctrine of the Lord 40, 48

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

Nebukadnessar
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...

syn
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...

Daniel
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...

Beltesassar
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...

säga
'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...

under
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...

till
‘To grow’ signifies to be perfected.

Makt
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

evigt
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...

sanning
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...

vägar
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....

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