118 – NEBUCHADNEZZAR
Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful king of Babylon, is the son of Nabopolassar, the founder of this empire. Jehovah used Nebuchadnezzar for his wars, and called him servant. “‘Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ declares Jehovah, ‘and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them…’” (Jer.25:9). This was a word about Israel. Jehovah will prophesy against Egypt, now: “‘Behold, I am going to send and get Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and I am going to set his throne right over these stones that I have hidden; and he will spread his canopy over them. He will also come and strike the land of Egypt; those who are meant for death will be given over to death, and those for captivity to captivity…’” etc. (Jer.43:10-11). Jehovah used Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, the king of kings, with his horses, chariots, cavalry, and a great army. His daughters who are on the mainland he will slain by the sword… (Ezek.26:7-8).
In Isaiah chapter 14, Jehovah speaks about the king of Babylon, calling him “oppressor” (Is. 14:9): “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; it arouses for you the spirits of the dead.” And Jehovah continues to speak by the mouth of Isaiah: “Your pomp and the music of your harps have been brought down to Sheol; maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you, and worms are your covering. How have you fallen from heaven, O star of the morning, son of the dawn! You have been cut down to the earth, you who have weakened the nations! But you said in your heart, ‘I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God, and I will sit on the mount of assembly in the recesses of the north. I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.’ Nevertheless you will be thrust down to Sheol, to the recesses of the pit” (Is.14:11-15).
Fantastic! Nebuchadnezzar personifies Satan and Jehovah qualifies him as servant, and sends him to war his wars? If Nebuchadnezzar is a picture of Satan, and, obedient to Jehovah, he fulfills his purposes, he is not an enemy, but an ally and servant. If Nebuchadnezzar is the serpent, or dragon, or Satan, for these are the names of the same demon, things that happened to Satan happened to Nebuchadnezzar also. For example, Satan, in his pride, wants to be worshipped as God is. And Nebuchadnezzar built a statue of gold 30 meters high to which all had to bow in worship (Dan.3:5).
Another comparison: Nebuchadnezzar ruled the nations in absolute authority (Dan.4:1). Being a perverse king, he was taken from among men as a punishment, and transformed into a beast. He ate grass until seven times had passed. When they were gone, Nebuchadnezzar was restored to his throne and ruled again (Dan.4:32-34). Satan also had power over the kingdoms of this world, but because of his wickedness he was repealed and condemned to feeding from dust for seven times (Gen.3:14). The seven times are the seven dispensations that make up the history of men in this world, that is:
1. The dispensation of Eden, or of innocence, which covers the period from Adam to Eve, in paradise. This dispensation did not last one hundred years, for Adam, expelled from the Garden, begot his son Seth when he was 130 years old (Gen.5:3).
2. The dispensation of conscience, which lasted about 1,500 years, from the exit from Eden until the Flood.
3. The dispensation of the human government, when men edified the Tower of Babel, which lasted till the call of Abraham, was of 300 years.
4. The dispensation of the promise, established with the patriarchs, lasted from Abraham to Sinai, when the people of Israel received the Law.
5. The dispensation of the Law, which lasted 1,600 years, that is, from Moses until Jesus Christ.
6. The dispensation of grace, which began in Jesus Christ and already lasts 2,000 years. This is the dispensation of the Church and of the Holy Spirit.
7. The dispensation of the anti-Christ, until the judgment of this world.
Well, Jehovah declares that he will create a new heaven and a new earth, when his people Israel shall be restored and blessed, and when Jehovah will dwell among them (Is.65:17-25; Jer.31:33; 32:37-38; Ps.132:13-14). And Satan will be restored in the New Earth, after seven times, to eat of the dust, that is, to feed on the dead (Is.65:25).
The third fabulous picture is in Jeremiah. “I have made the earth, the men and the beasts which are on the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I will give it to the one who is pleasing in My sight. And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and I have given him also the wild animals of the field to serve him” (Jer. 27:5-6).
Now, if Nebuchadnezzar is a picture of the devil, and Jehovah handed all the nations over to the hand of the wicked king, it was Jehovah who handed the kingdoms of this world in the hands of Satan. Luke registers this fact. “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, ‘I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be Yours.’ And Jesus answered and said to him, ‘It is written, “ You shall worship the Lord your God and serve Him only”’” (Luke 4:5-8).
If, then, Nebuchadnezzar is a servant of Jehovah, and an ally, in the same way that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed and oppressed the nations, the devil oppresses and destroys under the rule of Jehovah. Also, when the people of Israel was taken captive to Babylon by Jehovah, it was handed over to the hands of the devil by the same Jehovah, and this is why Jesus said to the Pharisees, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44).
Our God and Father of the Lord Jesus does not hand anyone over to the devil, on the contrary, redeems us from the devil with the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:18-19; 1 Cor. 6:19-20).
By Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira