Nebochad and the Gentle times

by IP_SEC 2 Replies latest watchtower beliefs

  • IP_SEC

    So I'm reading Daniel chapter 4 about the dream of the tree that gets cut down. Witnesses believe it has dual fulfillment. (1) against Nebuchadnezzar II when he went insane and (2) the trampling of the Jews (including spiritual Jews) by the nations from 6ot7 to 1914. (gentile times) Is it just me or is that dream only refering to Nebuchadnezzar and his 7 years of madness?

    I looked up how the society ties the tree to the destruction of Jerusalem and in my opinion I now see the reasoning as convoluted.

    Does any other group try to place a dual fulfillment on this like the witnesses?

  • Leolaia

    The WTS' interpretation is not original to the Society; Jonsson gives a good overview of the history of this concept in GTR. It is a concept, of course, foreign to aims of the author of Daniel and it designates a notorious Gentile king as the type of God's kingdom -- a rather unlikely model for an antitype. The story itself is parallel to similar tales regarding the Median king Astyages and the Persian king Xerxes, both of whom were described as having dreams picturing themselves as a vine or tree overshadowing the entire earth (cf. Herodotus, Historia 1.108), and the motif of madness is cognate to the story underlying the Prayer of Nabonidus (4QPrNab) in the Dead Sea Scrolls (in which the king Nabonidus was incapacitated by an affliction), and the tale of Nebuchadnezzer's loss of kingship is also related in the Assyrian history of Abydenus (see Eusebius, PE 9.41.6). The court tales concerning Nebuchadnezzer, Belshazzar, and Darius in Daniel had a subtext of encouraging the Jews during the persecution of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (cf. God's protection for standing firm in the lion den story of ch. 6, refusing the pressure to accept idolatry in ch. 3, etc.), and so it is important to recognize that the story about Nebuchadnezzer's madness is a cautionary tale with veiled reference to Antiochus' boasts and blasphemy against God (cf. Daniel 7:8, 25, 11:36-38), who will be brought low and humbled by God. Daniel, BTW, does not expect that a period of some 2,000+ years would pass before Gentile domination over the Jews would end. The great vision of ch. 11 places the "time of the end" during the reign of the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes (11:21-45), the Seleucid and Ptolemy "divided kingdom" of iron and clay in ch. 2, which failed to "mingle through marriage" (2:43; compare 11:6, which refers to the failed marriage between Antiochus II Theos and Berenice, daughter of Ptolemy II Philadelphius) is presented as the last Gentile empire, which is shattered by God's kingdom which "will stand forever" (2:44), it was during the reign of the "little horn" (=Antiochus IV) in ch. 7 that the divine court was assembled and the "one like a son of man" was given the kingdom and dominion over all peoples (7:11-14), and in ch. 9 the seventy weeks of Gentile domination over Jerusalem and God's people comes to an end 3 1/2 years after Antiochus had forced daily sacrifice to end and had installed the abomination of desolation (9:26-27; these events occurred in 168-167 BC). Most critical scholars thus agree that original outlook of Daniel expected the end of Gentile domination to occur around 164-163 BC. The failure of this expectation has led to continual reinterpretation of the visions of the book, all the way to the present.

  • IP_SEC

    Ahh hmm it looks like GTR is going to be my next read.

    Thank you Leolaia

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