Nebuchadnezzar Saved?

Discussion in 'Theological Forum' started by staythecourse, Feb 3, 2008.

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  1. staythecourse

    staythecourse Puritan Board Junior

    Matthew Henry says so but I always put him, Queen of Sheba and Ninevah in the same lot of merely being graced with the ability to recognize the greatness and authority of God. They saved?
     
  2. Neogillist

    Neogillist Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with you that Niniveh only repented outwardly and not evangelically, but I do think that king Nebuchadnezzar was regenerated, otherwise, God would have crushed him permanently just like he does to hardened reprobates.
     
  3. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Dan 4:37 "Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble."

    Does Neb. mean God can only humble him partly, and not fully?

    To what does the language: "righteousness" (right works) and "justice" (just works) of God refer? Or asked a bit differently, What sort of revelation of these things do we thinks God gave him?

    Daniel preached the gospel to this man for over 40 years. Neb.'s language reflects acquaintance with Psalms texts. I think maybe it took that long to reach him, that much time and a divine humiliation.

    If we only had Pharaoh to teach us the power of a hard heart, I think the lesson would be: there are some people not even God can break without shattering into a million shards of waste. I think Nebuchadnezzar proves that impression false.
     
  4. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Bruce makes a very good point by comparing Pharoah and Nebuchadnezzar's experiences. Truly, the Lord is able to bring low to destruction or bring low and raise up again. God sits in the midst of kings (Psalm 82.1). The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will (Prov. 21.1).

    I think also it would be a most remarkable thing to have a whole chapter of Scripture penned by an unconverted man. :2cents:
     
  5. staythecourse

    staythecourse Puritan Board Junior

    I'm honored to have your counsel gentlemen.

    All four of you place King Nebuchadnezzar in the book of life according to your studies. Your unity of mind with Christ is probably moreso than mine so I must continue to ask questions for my benefit.

    Pastor Bruce, I answered the questions in my mind as you laid them out and the first is that we know God will fully humble all at judgment including Pharoah: "Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the father." Satan will, too.

    Satan will not be saved but I see him making a similar statement to that of Nebuchadnezzar. In what way are they different and do they signify salvation for the King? Again, Satan will not be saved.

    Forgive me trying to look more deeply into this differentiation between the two.

    God Bless and have a good night.
     
  6. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I'll just add that when every knee bows, it is at judgment. Rom 14:10-11. Satan is judged already. Nebuchadnezzar, like all men, has not yet faced judgment, yet he confessed God.

    Just last night I was taken by the similarity between the last part of Daniel 4 and the last part of Psalm 50:

    It seems to me that King Neb. indeed praised God, glorified him, and ordered his conversation aright. He acknowledged God's sovereignty.

    I think on such promises we can think he was shown salvation as well.
     
  7. bob

    bob Puritan Board Freshman

    Well certainly we rejoice in that God is no respecter of persons and that sometimes faith is found in the most unusual places. Who would have believed that God would have been pleased to bring a harlot from Jericho into congregation of His elect people? Nebuchadnezzar at the very least espouses some good theology upon the restoration of his kingdom.

    I've always leaned toward not considering his claim as an expression of saving faith. Having said that, I am certainly not dogmatic and I certainly would not wish to allow a petty skepticism to distort what could be a beautiful expression of God's grace and mercy.

    Nebuchadnezzar's proclamation was not unlike other that he had made. In 2:47 He remarks: "Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets,"

    He goes on to construct the golden image.

    In 4:2-3 "Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation."

    He goes on of course to revel in the power of his might. It is difficult to ascertain within the context of polytheistic society if such claims, while perhaps fully believed as spoken, are the product of a man with the saving knowledge of God in his heart or a man who is merely impressed by the god of the Israelites, which he dares to include in his bevy of deities.

    The narration in Daniel ends with his the proclamation following the restoration of his kingdom so it is difficult to know whether or not this remark marked the end of his wickedness or was just another in a series of pious remarks.

    Of interest is also Isaiah 14, that prophecy that describes the doom of a Babylonian king(s). It is not clear exactly who Isaiah speaks of. Some have suggested Nebuchadnezzar, others Belshazzar. Others (such as Calvin) interpret the passage to refer to the dynasty of the kings of Babylon. If Calvin is correct in considering the passage as referring in some sense to Nebuchadnezzar, one would have to grapple with the concept of his being brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit have any bearing upon his eternal state.

    It's an interesting discussion. At the end of the day I am not certain that it is possible to dogmatically state one way or the other. Sometimes I have wondered if the speculation on our part is even profitable. (I say this as one who has over the years listened to a lot of passionate discussion regard the state of his soul)
     
  8. ANT

    ANT Puritan Board Junior

    I just came across this in James B. Jordan's commentary on Daniel (The Handwriting on the Wall) and wanted to share it ...

     
  9. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    WE cannot know Nebs heart (of course) but, in my very humble opinion looking at the Holy-Writ it seems a sincere thing.:2cents:
     
  10. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    And what about Rom 10:8-10?

    If he came to my church with his testimony from Dan 4, I would baptize him.
     
  11. elnwood

    elnwood Puritan Board Junior

    This brings up an interesting question. If Nebuchadnezzar was saved, why wasn't he circumcised and made a Jew? If this had happened today, he would have been baptized.
     
  12. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I think the simple answer was that he was not of Israel in the physical sense, yet he was of Israel spiritually. Romans 9:6. Without opening up a baptism debate, I think we could say that his heart was circumcised.
     
  13. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    Calvin writes, But God intended him to become more and more blinded, as he is accustomed to treat the reprobate and even his elect at times. When men add sin to sin, God loosens his reins and allows them to destroy themselves. Afterwards he either extends his hand towards them, or withdraws them by his hidden virtue, or reduces them to order by his rod, and completely humbles them. He treated the king of Babylon in this way....But God wished in this way to render him more inexcusable, and although he did not bring forth fruit immediately, yet a long time afterwards, when God touched his mind, he very properly recognised this punishment to have been divinely inflicted. Hence this dream was a kind of entrance and preparation for repentance, and as seed seems to lie putrid in the earth before it brings forth its fruit, and God sometimes works by gentle processes, and provides for the teaching, which seemed for a long time useless, becoming both efficacious and fruitful.

    When God, therefore, wishes to lead us to repentance, he is compelled to repeat his blows continually, either because we are not moved when he chastises us with his hand, or we seem roused for the time, and then we return again to our former torpor....But the singular benefit of God was this, Nebuchadnezzar, after God had often chastised him, yielded at length. It is unknown whether or not this confession proceeded from true and genuine repentance: I must leave it in doubt. yet without the slightest doubt Daniel recited this edict, to shew the king so subdued at length, as to confess the God of Israel to be the only God, and to bear witness to this among all people under his sway.

    Meanwhile we must remark, how this edict of the king of Babylon receives the testimony of the Spirit; for Daniel has no other object or purpose in relating the edict, than to shew the fruit of conversion in King Nebuchadnezzar. Hence, without doubt, King Nebuchadnezzar bore witness to his repentance when he celebrated the God of Israel among all people, and when he proclaimed a punishment to all who spoke reproachfully against God. Hence this passage is often cited by Augustine against the Donatists. For they wished to grant and act of impunity to themselves, when they disturbed the Church with rashness and corrupted pure doctrine, and even permitted themselves to attack it like robbers.

    ...since King Nebuchadnezzar who was never truly converted, yet promulgated this decree by a kind of secret instinct. At all events, it ought to be sufficient for men of moderate and quiet tastes to know how King Nebuchadnezzar's edict was praised by the approval of the Holy Spirit. If this be so, it follows that kings are bound to defend the worship of God, and to execute vengeance upon those who profanely despise it, and on those who endeavour to reduce it to nothing, or to adulterate the true doctrine by their errors, and so dissipate the unity of the faith and disturb the Church's peace....He calls him The High God , meaning, doubtless the God of Israel; meanwhile, we do not know whether he cast away his superstitions. I however incline to the opposite conjecture, since he did not put off his errors, but was compelled to give glory to the Most High God. He so acknowledged the God of Israel as to join inferior deities with him as allies and companions, just as all unbelievers, while admitting one supreme deity, imagine a multitude of others. So also Nebuchadnezzar confessed Israel's God to be Most High; yet he did not correct the idolatry which still flourished under his sway; nay, he mingled and confused the false gods with the God of Israel. Thus he did not leave behind his own corruptions. He celebrates indeed with magnificence the glory of the supreme God, but this is not sufficient without abolishing all superstitions, and promoting that religion alone which is prescribed by the word of God, and causing his pure and perfect worship to flourish.

    Hence he never willingly submitted to the God of Israel; and his affections were clearly but momentary, whenever they manifested any sign of piety. Because he besought Daniel so imploringly, we see his disposition to have been servile; just as all proud men swell out what they do not need any one's help, and become overbearing in their insolence; but when they are reduced to extremity, they would rather lick the dust than not obtain the favour which they need.

    Reformation Study bible note on Daniel 4:34,35,37 Although Nebuchadnezzar confesses God's sovereignty, he does not confess a belief that the God of Israel is the only God.
     
  14. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    As a Presbyterian I hold Calvin in great esteem, but too often people appeal to Calvin as final authority rather than the Bible, Calvin was human, and like all humans he was not always right. I feel he reads this wrong and sets himself as a judge over another heart , which of course cannot be done. In this matter I do think Calvin was wrong.:2cents:
     
  15. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    Nice to see a post by Don! And a thought provoking question, of course.
     
  16. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    Neb.

    An example of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, total depravity. This is sometimes overlook in the life of Neb. when reading Daniel alone.

    6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.
    7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon (Jeremiah 39:6).
     
  17. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Yes, and we know that no one who is totally depraved can ever be changed. Nope. He's definitely toast. Some people not even God can change, assuming he wanted to.

    C'mon Gil. No one who hopes N got saved when he was maybe 60 yrs old denies that he was as cold a monster as any back in the day he was invading countries and killing pregnant women.

    And how about the fact that Zedekiah was (arguably) a worse sinner than N was? It was a horrific judgment, but he was rebelling... against both N AND God. Z was warned of the consequences, both human and divine.

    And beside, N's total depravity HAS been mentioned by at least two different people in this thread.
     
  18. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    Pastor Buchanan,

    Agreed! Just trying to put things into perspective using the Scriptures and God's Sovereign Grace over sinners adapted by Him despite their iniquities. God "probably" saved Neb. and look, not Zed.

    17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.
    18 Zedekiah was twenty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Hamutal, the daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah.
    19 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that Jehoiakim had done.
    20 For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon (2 Kings 24:17-20).
     
  19. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Gotcha.
     
  20. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    From Thomas Boston, THE WISE OBSERVATION OF PROVIDENCES ILLUSTRATED AND ENFORCED.

    Providence has a language to the children of men. It is a clear part of the name of God, whereby he manifests himself to the world, and has served to convince men of his eternal power and Godhead, whom no other arguments could reach: Dan 4:37, "Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise, and extol, and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." Ps 19:3-4, "There is no speech, nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." Rods have a language, Mic 6:9, "The Lord's voice crieth unto the city, and the man of wisdom shall see thy name: hear ye the rod, and who hath appointed it." And so also have mercies a language, Rom 2:4, "Not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance." And providences being the work of a rational agent, they must have a design.
     
  21. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    Thomas Boston, GOD'S DELAY OF EXECUTING THE SENTENCE OF CONDEMNATION AGAINST UNGODLY MEN, OFTEN MISERABLY ABUSED BY THEM, 509-510.

    He knows what he intends to do, and none can hinder: Dan 4:37, "All the King of heaven's works are truth, and his ways judgment, and those that walk in pride he is able to abase." The prince that is afraid of the rebels, will strive to crush them ere they gather to a head; but he that knows he can crush them when he will, may let them gather all their strength together. God can carry on the designs of his glory, by bearing long with impenitent sinners: Rom 9:17, "For the scripture practice unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." Thus also he can laugh at the trial of the innocent: Job 9:23, "If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent." Like a father holding his child in his hands over a deep pool; the child cries, and the father smiles.
     
  22. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    I don't view Calvin as a final authority on whom God brings repentance. As I read Calvin's thoughts last night, however, on the 4th Chapter of Daniel, I was amazed at the depth of insight he possessed. I must leave it in doubt Calvin stated. I'm a glass is half-full kind-of-guy, but my optimism does not change what might or might not be. His is an opinion I highly respect. I went to him to gain insight after all the positive comments, not knowing what I would find. If "N" is in heaven I am thankful and appreciative to a God who made it happen. If he is not in heaven, I am humbled. I tremble and stand in awe that He is the same God who sovereignly chose that "N" should not be named among the elect.
     
  23. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    Did he pray the sinners prayer? :lol:
     
  24. KMK

    KMK Moderator Staff Member

    I don't know, but there is a copy of the decision card he signed. :lol:
     
  25. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    If Nebuchaddnezzar was not converted, then I don't know who has ever been saved.
     
  26. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree! This man was HUMBLED! I find it noteworthy that the Book of Daniel sort of "moves on" to other matters, there is almost a feeling that there was some sense of a conclusion in regard to Neb. and the Living God.:2cents:
     
  27. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    I'm surprised that nobody has brought Daniel 7:1-4 into the discussion yet. Many interpreters (myself among them), have seen the vision in 7:4 as referring to Neb's conversion of heart, and not merely to the restoration of his mind. Unfortunately all of my Daniel commentaries are in storage, or I'd drag them out for you.
     
  28. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    One thing I find odd from the text itself is where Nebuchadnezzar blesses God: Blessed, says he, be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego! Ask yourselves as believers do you bless the God of Sam, Bill, and Emma IF He is your God? Do you not find that strange language? Why does he not speak of Him as *** HIS *** God?
     
  29. etexas

    etexas Puritan Board Doctor

    I have Praised God with the words: All Praise and Glory to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I do not really find it odd, he made a connection to God via the witness and ministry of those men, it is in my mind a "separating" the true God, from the Pagan "gods".:2cents:
     
  30. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    True, Max, but this might not be so insurmountable if "N" truly devoted himself to the God of Israel and abstained from his former superstitions. He mixed and matched his idols with God, but we are guilty of that too at times are we not? Sorry to quote Calvin again but it makes sense when he states: We term the faith of [N] to be but momentary, because, while his senses were fixed upon the miracle, he was content with the spectacle without inquiring into the character of the God of Israel, and the bearing of his law....We clearly observe this in many profane men, for God often humbles them, to induce them suppliantly to fly to him for saftey; but meanwhile they remain perplexed by their own senses; they do not deny their own superstitions, nor regard the true worship of God. To prove our obedience to god, we must uphold this principle--nothing pleases him which does not spring from faith.

    I want to see what other commentators have to say on this. Reading Calvin's Commentary on Daniel ( Chapters 3 & 4 ) has been most rewarding. My mind is not dead set on this. I'm mearly giving you his thoughts. I want to find other views and comments. ;)
     
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