The Big Tree


     Nebuchadnezzar had another dream, which filled his heart with terror. In a vision of the night he saw a great tree growing in the midst of the earth, towering up to the heavens, and its branches stretching to the ends of the earth. In it the fowls of the air dwelt, and under it the beasts of the field found shelter. As the king gazed upon that lofty tree, he beheld a "watcher, even a holy one,"--a divine messenger, similar in appearance to the One who walked with the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace. This heavenly being approached the tree, and in a loud voice cried, "Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit; let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches; nevertheless, leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass."

February 1,1881 

S A R S H  P 25




The Result of Exalting Self.

     I am instructed to call the attention of our people to the second dream given to Nebuchadnezzar, and to the experience that came to him as the result of his failure to heed the warning. Nebuchadnezzar was troubled by the dream, and unable to obtain from his wise men an interpretation of it, he called in Daniel, and told him the dream.

     "I saw," he said, "and, behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the width thereof unto the end of all the earth; the leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowl of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all flesh was fed of it. I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven, and he cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit; let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches; nevertheless, leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth; and let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. . . . This dream I Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now, thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation; but thou art able: for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee."




     The dream and its meaning filled Daniel with astonishment, and "his thoughts troubled him." But he faithfully told the king that the fate of the tree was emblematic of his own downfall; that he would lose his reason, and, forsaking the abodes of men, would find a home with the beasts of the field, and that he would remain in this condition for seven years. He urged the proud monarch to repent and turn to God, and by good works avert the threatened calamity. "Wherefore, O king," he said, "let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by showing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility."

     Had the king heeded this counsel, the threatened evil might have been turned aside. But he went on in proud superiority. For a time he was impressed by the warning given him. But his heart was not changed, and the heart that is not wholly transformed by the grace of God, soon loses the impression made by the Holy Spirit. Nebuchadnezzar felt that he was rooted in the hearts of his subjects, and his prosperity tempted him to do unjust things. His rule, which in the past had, to a great extent, been just and merciful, now became harsh and oppressive. The reason that God had given him was used for self-glorification.

     About a year after the king received the warning, he was walking in his palace, thinking of his power as the ruler of earth's greatest kingdom. And the king spake, and said, "Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of my kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?"

     The God of heaven read the heart of the king, and heard its whisperings of self-gratulation. "While the word was yet in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken, The kingdom is departed from thee. And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.

     "The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar." In a moment his reason was taken away, and he became as a beast. "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." For seven years he was thus degraded. For seven years he was an astonishment to his subjects. At the end of this time his reason was restored to him, and looking up in humility to the God of heaven, he recognized the  divine hand in his chastisement. The transformation had come. The mighty monarch had become the humble child of God, obedient to His will. The despot had been changed into the wise, compassionate ruler.

     In a public proclamation Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged his guilt and the  great mercy of God in his restoration. The record says:

     "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 earth, and  none can stay His hand, or say unto Him, What doest Thou? At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom and excellent majesty was added unto me. How 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."

     The lesson that the Lord would have all humanity learn from the experience of the king of Babylon is that all who walk in pride He is able to abase. By stern discipline Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the lesson that God, not man, is Ruler, that His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. So men to-day must learn that God is supreme. When men gain success in the work of the Lord, it is because God has given them this success, not for their own glory, but for God's glory. He who seeks to steal a ray of light from the glory of the Lord will find that he will be punished for his presumption.

M  R  Volume Seven  P 69