Heaven Has The Rule

Heaven Has the Rule
Robert Wurtz II

And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule. (Daniel 4:26)

Sometimes it takes a radical situation to remind us that God is still on the throne. He is in charge and He doesn’t get nervous. When men rear their heads to exalt themselves above what is reasonable He simply selects from a myriad of ways at His disposal to deal with the person.

Nebuchadnezzar II (ca 634-562 BC) was one of the greatest world leaders who ever lived. He certainly was the greatest ruler of Babylon. In fact, God’s estimate of him is revealed symbolically as the head of gold on the great statue (Daniel 2:6-8). Part of his reign encompassed the years when Zedekiah (Mattaniah) was the last king of Israel before the people were carried away, the Temple and cultus destroyed. (Jeremiah 4:7, 52:1ff)

Nebuchadnezzar moved in a barbarity characteristic of those cruel times. For example, he ordered the sons of Zedekiah executed in their father’s presence, and afterwards his eyes put out so that event he saw was his sons being murdered. Zedekiah was then loaded with brazen fetters, and at a later period taken to Babylon, where he died. This is just one example of what Nubuchadnezzar was capable of.

A Troubling Dream

Dreams can be meaningless phenomena (so-called “pizza dreams”); but occasionally, God sends a dream. Nebuchadnezzar described the phenomena saying, I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. (Daniel 4:5) Dreams that come from God have a unique way of arresting our attention. The dream itself can be read in Daniel 4:10-17.
Nebuchadnezzar took it upon himself to record and proliferate this story related to his dream. The event consumes the entire 4th chapter of the book of Daniel. The fact that such a great man would publish a self-incriminating and self-deprecating story presses the stories’ authenticity beyond doubt. He writes, Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. (Daniel 4:1ff) He addresses this message to everyone on earth, present and future (4:4)

An Essential Lesson

God was teaching Nebuchadnezzar an important lesson. I have sometimes said that “there is a generation that doesn’t learn by lecture, illustration or revelation; but by destruction and devastation.” Destruction deals with loss; devastation deals with the emotional response to that loss.

Nebuchadnezzar was under the delusion that somehow he had made himself great. When he surveyed the great and magnificent city from the top of his palace, “pride overcame him,” so that he dedicated the building of this great city as the house of his kingdom to the might of his power and the honor of his majesty. A cursory study of the topic of pride in the Bible reveals God’s attitude towards it.

Daniel’s Interpretation

We read the troubling interpretation, 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. (Daniel 4:24-26)

God was about to make this man into a circus act. God was going to swap out his human heart and give him the heart of an animal. This means he will behave like an animal and will lose his ability to reason as a man reasons. He would be driven from his human habitat (estate) into a different habitation! He would live like an animal for seven years — going so far as to eat and sleep after the manner of oxen. This phenomena was known among the Greeks and in modern times as Zoanthropy, only for Nebuchadnezzar it would be “God induced.” He soon lived and looked like a wild beast. His hair grew out like feathers and his fingernails became like claws.

An Appointed Time
God knew how long it would take to thoroughly change Nebuchadnezzar’s mind. In other words, God changed his heart so he would change his mind. Who can fathom this? God took this man’s heart (reasoning faculties) so that he would learn who was really in control. 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. (Daniel 4:25)
How Soon We Forget

Daniel gave instruction to Nebuchadnezzar to be careful what he says so that God may give him a reprieve and not immediately enforce the dream. But a year went by and with it the disturbing feeling and fear that came with the dream itself and the interpretation that followed. At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon. The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? (Daniel 4:29, 30) If we jump ahead to Nebuchadnezzar’s commentary at the end of this publication we read, those that walk in pride he is able to abase. (Daniel 4:37b) He spread abroad the root cause of his suffering. He walked in pride. As if to say, I am Nebuchadnezzar and if he can humble me he can humble anyone. Matthew Henry once stated to the effect, God is never at a loss for a means of punishing a stiff-necked people, His quiver is always full.

God Keeps His Word

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 eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws. (Daniel 4:33)

Solomon made an observation once that speaks to the hearts of men; Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the children of man is fully set to do evil. (Eccl. 8:11 ERSV) God did not delay in carrying out what He said. The “same hour” that Nebuchadnezzar spoke pridefully he was driven into madness and then into the fields to graze in the pasture and chew the grass like a cow.

When the Time was Up

It took seven years, but this proud leader finally came to himself. Perhaps his forgetfulness led to the length of days needed to complete the work, but God took the time to deal with him. He knew what to do and He did it. Unlike Pharaoh that rebelled over and over until he was at last destroyed, Nebuchadnezzar serves as an example to all of how to rightly respond to God. He didn’t get angry, he worshipped. 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 honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: (Daniel 4:34)

God is still on the throne and He is working out His purposes in the earth. Why did God choose Nebuchadnezzar to rule Babylon? I don’t know. My job is not to question God but to trust Him. He knows what He is doing. If I had all the facts and the mental ability to comprehend them — I feel confident that I would agree with God. He always does what is right. 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.


Four Basic Attributes of God (ubiquity and Ex-nihilo)

Four Basic Attributes of God
Robert Wurtz II


But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. (1 Peter 3:15 NKJV)

“And I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” (Luke 12:4–5 NKJV)



Our first passage deals with an important reality that must exist in the heart of every professing Christian; that is, they must sanctify the Lord in their heart. When Peter penned these words, killing Christians was practically a sport. The killing could commence, gain an audience, and the perpetrator(s) would be cheered on. These killings eventually moved to the Roman Coliseum where large crowds attended as if it were a modern-day professional sporting event. This blood-thirsty, murderous nature in he heart of fallen man can strike fear in those who are subject to it’s pitiless, merciless, diabolical rage. The solution? Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready.

God has to have the ultimate place in our hearts. He must be sanctified in us in such a way that we have what is commonly called, “the fear of the Lord.” People who do not fear God do not sanctify Him in their hearts. As shocking as it may sound, He may as well be their favorite super hero. That’s about the level of fear and reverence some people have for the Lord. 

The Fear of God

There are some verses in the Bible that are so hard to dance around that even the most robust theological libraries struggle to find significant comments on them. Luke 12:4-5 is one such passage. The commentators who do speak to the verse work overtime to blunt the edge of what common sense makes perfectly clear. First, Jesus was not talking to His enemies, but to His friends. Second, bear in mind that the same Greek word for fear (phobeo) is used throughout. Lets look at the number of times fear is used: Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into hell; yes, I say to you, fear Him!” 

Most people being helplessly killed by someone would have a tendency to submit to that person in order to stay alive. This is common sense. They do it out of phobeo (from whence we get our English word phobia). There is no sense in starting up the music and dancing around this verse like the NIBC does for example; suggesting that phobeo means “to hold in respect.” In 2015 the word respect means to hold in deep admiration. The Lord had respect unto Abel’s offering. Is this how we are to view one who can kill us and then cast us into hell for all eternity? Clearly someone is in denial.


Adam Clarke once said, “A man has but one life to lose, and one soul to save; and it is madness to sacrifice the salvation of the soul to the preservation of the life.” Moreover, “God is to be feared more than the most powerful men: “I will forewarn you whom you shall fear (v. 5): that you may fear man less, fear God more. Moses conquers his fear of the wrath of the king, by having an eye to him that is invisible. By owning Christ you may incur the wrath of men, which can reach no further than to put you to death (and without God’s permission they cannot do that); but by denying Christ, and disowning him, you will incur the wrath of God, which has power to send you to hell, and there is no resisting it. Now of two evils the less is to be chosen, and the greater is to be dreaded, and therefore I say unto you, Fear him.” “It is true,” said that blessed martyr, Bishop Hooper, “life is sweet, and death bitter; but eternal life is more sweet, and eternal death more bitter.” (Matthew Henry)   

With these things in mind I wish to consider four important things about God that may help us understand better who He is.   

1. GOD IS OMNIPOTENT

The word omnipotent (omni-potent) simply means – all powerful or possessing unlimited power. Actually, God is the source of all power. The word power can be defined as – “to be able” or “to have the ability to do.” In terms of both energy and authority, God is the source of all of it. In fact, when Jesus was being crucified He told the Romans, You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin. (John 19:11 NKJV) If something has energy it was received from God; if someone is in authority they received that authority from God too. (Romans 13:1) As it is written… For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it (1 Corinthians 4:7)? God is the supplier and we are the recipients. 


On a practical level, authority is sometimes measured by the reaction to a command that one in authority gave. T
he faster the order is carried out, the greater the perceived authority. In Genesis 1 and 2 God spoke the universe into existence in demonstration of power and authority. The fact that it happened instantly is a testament to the authority of God. In Matthew 8:8 the Roman centurion told Jesus “just speak the word.” Why? It was his own personal understanding of authority. Jesus commended him for his faith. Moreover, when Jesus commanded the winds and waves to obey Him, the disciples questioned how a man could possess such authority. the time would fail to list the many examples.

Power and authority are symbolized in scripture through various metaphors such as horns and keys. In Revelation, Jesus, the Lamb, is said to have seven horns and seven eyes. This is perfect power and perfect revelation.


2. GOD IS OMNIPRESENT

The word omnipresent simply means that God is everywhere and at all times. God is transcendent of His creation. Omnipresence is sometimes called ubiquity. Though God is present in all places at once, it does not mean that all substance contains God. In other words, matter itself is not God. God transcends the creation. Moreover, God manifests Himself uniquely in certain places and not in others. 

Remember, God is transcendent of the creation, which means that God exists apart from the material universe. While being separate from the creation, God is still present everywhere in the creation (immanent or existing within). An example of error would be to hug a tree thinking you were hugging God or to partake of the Eucharist in Catholic services thinking you were literally consuming Christ’s body. God exists in the creation, but He and the creation and separate.

There is literally no place to hide from God. David asked, Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me (Psalm 139:7-10). This is good for the believer, but bad for the unbeliever. As it is also written, Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD (Jeremiah 23:24) and again, And though they hide themselves in the top of Carmel, I will search and take them out thence; and though they be hid from my sight in the bottom of the sea, thence will I command the serpent, and he shall bite them: And though they go into captivity before their enemies, thence will I command the sword, and it shall slay them: and I will set mine eyes upon them for evil, and not for good (Amos 9:3-4) And again, And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:15-16).

3. GOD IS OMNISCIENT

Omniscient simply means all-knowing. God knows everything that can be known: past, present, and future. There is nothing that God does not know. God is more than omniscient, He is the source of true knowledge and wisdom. Understand that wisdom is the ability to use knowledge. Just as wisdom is broken down into earthly, sensual, and demonic on one side, and the wisdom from God, above, etc. on the other side; so knowledge can be broken down into truth and lies. What God considers as truth is unchangable, because God does not change. 

Truth is absolute according to the Bible and is not relative as the world teaches. Satan is the father of lies. He has taken his knowledge of truth and twisted it to make everything from deception to damnable lies. He authors blasphemies and heresies by twisting truth into falsehood. He cannot create things ex-nihilo (out of nothing), so he takes what God has given him and fabricates lies and deception from the “raw materials.” 

Satan has limited power and limited knowledge. God has unlimited power and unlimited knowledge. Satan cannot increase in power unless God were to give him more power, and that because the only power he has is what he has received from God. He cannot register a blip on God’s radar screen unless God wants him to. What gives Satan his “power” is when people submit to him and grant him authority over us. He cannot control a believer, but he can deceive them into yielding to him. That is where Satan is powerful; he deceives people into doing his will.

4. GOD IS SOVEREIGN

Because God is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient- He is Sovereign. The word literally means superior to all others in power and authority. God is the highest degree and He is supreme. God is the final authority: there is no more appeal. His counsel is immutable[6]. It is impossible for God to lie. His prophetic word will come to pass.[7] None can stay His hand ir require an answer from Him. He rules and reigns in the affairs of men and gives the kingdoms of this world to whosoever He pleases. 

Nebuchadnezzar learned these things the hard-way, spending years in a pitiful pasture grazing as a wild animal only to find himself submitting to the God he once marginalized. In his own words, “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 honoured him that liveth for ever, 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?[8]” 

Summary

Whether people acknowledge it or not, God is worthy of being feared. Sadly, many Christians fear the concept of the fear of God than they fear God Himself. This is a characteristic of modern-day Christianity that one struggles to find in older writings. It’s as if believers are afraid that people will actually fear God. However, a careful examination of the New Testament demonstrates that God’s love and the fear of God are about equal in their presentation. Do we have this balance in modern times? No, we have a generation that typically lauds “unconditional love” a concept that has no place in scripture. The old-timers would say, “we have gone to seed on love.” Nevertheless, the Bible sheds a lot of light on our concepts of God. We do well to consider these things in this crisis hour.  


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[1] For example, God heals but total healing will not be seen until we are resurrected.

[2] Compare 2 Corinthians 1:20-21, Acts 10:38 and Daniel 11:32-33.

[3] Matthew 16:18-19

[4] Luke 5:21-24

[5] 2 Corinthians 5:20, 1 John 2:12, Colossians 2:13-14, James 5:15, Acts 11:14, Romans 5:9, etc.

[6] Hebrews 6:17

[7] Isaiah 55:11

[8] Daniel 4:34-35

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