Present day Iraq is the location of many Biblical events and places, including the great capital city of Babylon, ruled by king Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon stood on the west bank of the Euphrates River about 50 miles south of present day Baghdad.
After the fall of Nineveh in BC 606, Babylon swelled in size and grandeur under the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar. It became a great commercial center, fortified with massive city walls 300 ft. high and 75 ft. wide. Brass gates around the perimeter opened to streets of houses with gardens and vineyards. The beautiful lush terraces of the Hanging Gardens were one of the seven wonders of the Ancient world.
Daniel, the “historian of the Captivity,” recorded King Nebuchadnezzar’s testimony of God’s grace and mercy. A man of God, Daniel was known for interpreting royal dreams (Dan 2:4), so he was summoned to give the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. The King respected Daniel so he willingly heard him give God’s truth (4:18-19). God is not only “the revealer of secrets” but the revealer of the truth. Because God is Truth, it is impossible for Him to reveal anything that is false. Sadly, King Nebuchadnezzar did not respond to the truth, and Daniel’s faithful testimony became reality one year later. As King Nebuchadnezzar surveyed the splendor of Babylon from the palace roof, his heart was lifted up in pride. Consumed with self-importance, daring to rival God, indifferent to the revelation by Daniel, he provoked the Most High to prove who “ruled in the kingdom of men.” The condemnation of King Nebuchadnezzar was evident to his empire and the world when he was reduced to behaving as a beast of the field. Driven from men and dwelling with wild beasts, with hair like eagles’ feathers, and hands and feet like claws, he ate grass as the oxen for seven years.
King Nebuchadnezzar tasted the bitter cost of avoiding truth. After his “understanding returned,” his words revealed a change of heart (vv 34-37): “I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all Whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.“ His view of himself and of God had been corrected. Surrounded by the glory of an earthly kingdom, adorned with temples to pagan gods, King Nebuchadnezzar came to know the “King of Heaven,” whose truth and judgments liberated him from personal sin and pride (vv 27, 37) and Whose kingdom and wonders far surpassed Babylon’s.
To know a personal relationship with God, a person must face the truth about self and about God. Today, the Holy Spirit by the Word of God is able to reveal the seriousness of our personal sin against God and the truth that God accepts Christ’s death on the cross as full payment on our behalf. Resisting this truth from God results in suffering the penalty of eternal separation from God in hell. To accept this truth from God and rest by faith in His Word is to know the blessing of sins forgiven and a home in heaven.