Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians: The Importance of Daniel 1:20 and 2:2 for Interpreting Daniel 3

February 27, 2021

Who were Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians? In the first article in this series, I treated Daniel 1:2 and Daniel 3 to show that they were profoundly idolatrous people who were thereby regularly in fellowship with demons. Later in Daniel 1, the Spirit provides another vital statement that reveals another key aspect of who Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were.

Profound Consultation with Occultists

At the end of their three years of preparation for entering into the king’s service, Daniel and his friends excelled profoundly in their wisdom and understanding:

Daniel 1:19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Specifically, they vastly excelled the wisdom and understanding of all the leading practitioners of two types of occult practices in the entire Babylonian kingdom.

The king could have compared them with philosophers or prophets but instead they were compared with all such leading occultists in the kingdom. Pondering who they were compared with brings out that Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were people who profoundly consulted with occultists and esteemed their counsel very highly.

It also shows that the king himself had fully consulted with all such leading practitioners of the occult in his entire kingdom. Two later statements in the book show that the king even had various occultists among his leading advisers (Dan. 2:2; 4:6-7).

Because all practitioners of the occult engage in demonic activities, the profound consultation with occultists reveals a second key way that demons influenced Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians. To understand just how immensely the occultists corrupted Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians, we must compare Scripture with Scripture concerning the exceedingly great corruption of at least certain occultists.

Immense Corruption by the Occultists

To understand how immensely Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were corrupted by all the occultists in all his kingdom, we must solemnly consider that Scripture reveals the horrific extent to which demons can corrupt humans in a passage that makes several key revelations about an ancient sorcerer:

Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: 7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. 9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, 10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

This profound revelation is noteworthy for many reasons.

First, it says that he was an occultist (who was also a false prophet) who sought to turn away from the faith an unbeliever who wanted to hear God’s truth. Such people thus are profoundly dangerous to unbelievers.

Second, it infallibly reveals key truths about the sorcerer by infallibly recording what the leader of the apostolic company being filled with the Spirit said to the sorcerer. This shows that the statements that Paul made about the sorcerer were exactly what the Spirit directed him to say about the sorcerer. None of Paul’s statements about him were in any way just his own thinking, perspectives, or even possible biases against a particular kind of person because of that person’s ethnicity or any other important aspects of his person.

Third, it shows how consummately this human being was a corrupted human being.

Elymas was “full of all subtilty and all mischief.” He was a profoundly crafty and fraudulent person who used deceit to accomplish his objectives.

He was an “enemy of all righteousness.” He actively opposed everything that was an aspect of righteousness before God. He thus openly fought against the doing of anything that was righteous in the sight of God.

He also would “not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord.” This man continually did whatever he could to corrupt the doing of something in a way that was right before God.

Fourth, and most disturbingly, he was a “child of the devil.” Through his involvement and participation in the occult, this man whom God made in His image had become so corrupted that he was now a child of the most evil being in the universe. In effect, the image of God in him had been completely overcome so that he effectively was a human being who was in the image of the devil!

This passage thus shockingly reveals that there are occultists (at the very least those who are sorcerers) who actively and passionately seek to promote demonic interests in every possible way!

We know that sorcerers were among the leading advisers of king Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2:2). We also know that the Babylonians were a shockingly occult people (Is. 47:9, 12).

Applying what this profoundly sobering passage (Acts 13:6-10) reveals to what we know about the pervasive influence that occultists (including sorcerers) had with Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians shows that the king and his people were people who had been immensely corrupted by demonically corrupted humans who actively sought to corrupt them from doing anything that was righteous before God.

Application to Daniel 3

Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians were people who were profoundly influenced by demons through their idolatry. Furthermore, they were also profoundly influenced by demons through their profound consultation with occultists.

The musical perspectives and practices of such demonically corrupted people were thus routinely directed into following every possible way to produce instrumental music that does not please God. Given the role that music played in the profoundly important idolatrous worship event in Daniel 3, we have further biblical basis to hold that the music played in the event in Daniel 3 was profoundly ungodly music.

Rajesh

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