Day 242: King Nebuchadnezzar's Role

Jeremiah 26:12-14 Around 608 BC Jeremiah again began predicting the sack of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple by foreign invaders. The people and princes were angered at this prediction and sought Jeremiah’s death but soon relented and allowed him to live. King Jehoiakim also wanted to have Jeremiah killed-just as he had the previous prophet Uriah-but Jeremiah was spared on account of his defenders.

Ch 27:1-22 Zedekiah met with several other kings of the region in 594 BC to plan a possible revolt against the Babylonians. The Lord had Jeremiah attend the meeting to explain that Judah must accept the Babylonian rule because it was God’s will and, therefore, any revolt would be met with disaster. Since the false prophets had the king’s ear, however, he paid heed to them and not to the true prophet, Jeremiah.

Ch 27:5 Because God is Omnipotent, he has the power to do whatever he wills at any time. Being the Creator of all things, he has sovereignty and control over everything.

(CCC 269)

Daniel 8:1-14 The ram and the goat are allegories for the Greek expansion that would defeat the Medo-Persian Empire. The “first king,” represented by the goat’s horn, is Alexander the Great, who broke both horns of the ram, signifying the Persians and the Medes. Following the death of Alexander, his empire was divided among his four generals-Philip, Antigonus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy-who are represented here by the four horns that replaced the large horn. When Antiochus IV Epiphanes was elevated to power, he waged war against the other Greek generals; he is signified by the “little horn” that grows out of one of the four horns of the goat. The stars that are trampled are the people of Israel who were killed in his siege, and the overthrow of the sanctuary and its offerings refers to Antiochus’ destruction and desecration of the Temple.

Two thousand and three hundred evenings: This figure is not meant as an exact measure of time; rather, it means that Antiochus’ reign would come to an end soon and that his days were numbered.

Ch 8:15-27 Gabriel is presumably the same archangel who would later announce the virginal conception of Christ to both Mary and Joseph. This vision was unusual for Daniel insofar as the angel interpreted it. The language and symbolism here refer to the nations and individuals discerned by the book’s target audience without provoking anger from their conquerors. (CCC 148, 332, 335, 350)

Ch 9:1-19 Instead of a vision, Daniel received an illumination that was explained to him by an angel when he read a prophecy of Jeremiah. The passage immediately inspired him to compose a penitential prayer on behalf of all the people of Judah and Israel. Within this prayer, Daniel acknowledged that the people brought the exile upon themselves through their sins; the prayer humbly appeals to God’s merciful love and forgiveness. Lastly, these heartfelt words request the chance to return to the Promised Land and worship in the Temple.

Ch 9:20-27 The number seven, as well as the multiples of seven, in Scripture represent perfection or completeness. The idea of completion refers symbolically to the restoration of Jerusalem and its Temple.

Ch 9:24-27 To anoint a most holy place: This is a prophecy referring to the reconsecration of the Temple.

An anointed one, a prince: Some Church Fathers saw this as a reference to Cyrus, king of Persia, who allowed the Jews to return to Judah; others see Zerubbabel, the descendent of David who helped build the Temple. Many also point to the Messiah, Jesus Christ, who brought true freedom to his people.

Abominations: The Book of Daniel is set in the exile years but was likely written in the second century BC by scholars who couched their warnings and criticisms of Antiochus IV Epiphanes within the context of Babylon. The abominations could also refer to the Temple desecrations orchestrated by both Nebuchadnezzar and Antiochus.

Proverbs 16:9 Prayerful petition for light, a well-informed conscience, and decision-making in the presence of God are effective ways of knowing God’s will. “With the light of reason, human beings can know which path to take, but they can follow that path to its end, quickly and unhindered, only if with a rightly tuned spirit they search for it within the horizon of faith,” wrote St. John Paul II (Fides et Ratio, 16). (CCC 159)

Ch 16:12 Part of the proper exercise of authority involves a hatred of evil and the desire for justice in every decision and mandate. (CSDC 378)

(*The Didache Bible RSV-CE Ignatius Edition, 2006)

  • Later, in Daniel 9, in the midst of Daniel’s prayer and supplication to God regarding the seventy years of exile prophesied by Jeremiah, the angel Gabriel comes to him in a vision.

  • Gabriel gives a revelation that is both good news and bad news.

  • The good news is that an anointed one is coming who will “put an end to sin,” “atone for iniquity,” and “bring in everlasting righteousness” (Dn 9:24-27).

  • The bad news is that this anointed one is not to come at the end of these seventy years of exile, but rather it will take “seventy weeks of years” (thus 70x7, or 490 years) plus some before this revelation will be fulfilled.

(*Walking With God: A Journey Through The Bible by Tim Gray and Jeff Cavins)

  • This is one of Fr. Mike’s favorite Proverbs

  • He’s said it maybe 20 times so far

  • Proverbs 16:9, “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.”

  • SO GOOD!


  • So in Jeremiah we kind of flipped around a little bit, time-wise

  • Jeremiah Chs 20-21 is this fast-forward to basically the final deportation to Babylon

  • Now, we go back in Jeremiah Ch 26

  • It’s the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah

  • Remember, Josiah was the first king that Jeremiah served under

  • Now we are back to the second king Jeremiah served, Jehoiakim

  • Then we jump up to Zedekiah, which will happen soon

  • Here is one of the things that marks Jeremiah’s life

  • He is threatened with DEATH because he is willing to tell the TRUTH

  • The priests and prophets want him to die

  • When the princes of Judah hear this

  • Jeremiah 26:16, “Then the princes and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, ‘This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.”

  • They also quote the prophet Micah who also came before King Hezekiah and told him that he needed to repent

  • All of Jerusalem and Judah needed to repent and they did that

  • So the princes and the people are saying, “Listen, this has happened before where we had a prophet prophesy in God’s name the truth that we need to repent.”



  • We have this account of people DEFENDING JEREMIAH

  • This may be one of the only times we have someone defending Jeremiah

  • Jeremiah Ch 27 goes to the beginning of the reign of King Zedekiah

  • Zedekiah is the FINAL KING OF JUDAH before the final deportation

  • 2 Kings describes how Nebuchadnezzar had come down to Jerusalem, the last thing he did to Zedekiah was he killed his sons in front of him, then gouged out his eyes before he exiled him

  • The last thing Zedekiah saw was his sons being murdered in front of him

  • Remember, Nebuchadnezzar is not a great guy

  • He is not a hero

  • At the same time, we hear the Word of God say, “Nebuchadnezzar is my servant”

  • Jeremiah 27:6, “Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant, and I have given him also the beasts of the field to serve him. All the nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson, until the time of his own land comes…”


  • Jeremiah 27:8, “But if any nation or kingdom will not serve this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and put its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon, I will punish that nation with the sword, with famine, and with pestilence, says the Lord, until I have consumed it by his hand.”

  • Remember, this is Nebuchadnezzar in the role of Judas here

  • This is not God’s follower

  • This is not someone doing the RIGHT THING

  • BUT…

  • This is God saying, “I am willing to use these people doing evil things.”





  • That’s why Jeremiah says one of the least popular things he is EVER going to say

  • Jeremiah is calling the people to SURRENDER to Nebuchadnezzar

  • Remember the basket of good figs and bad figs from the other day?

  • Jeremiah is saying, “It will be good for you, better for you in fact, for you to be brought to Babylon than for you to stay here. Do not flee to Egypt. Do not try to stay here in Jerusalem. But allow Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, to take you into custody. Because that is actually what you actually need to do. You need to surrender.”

  • Can you imagine?

  • Any public figure saying, “Ok I know we have this hostile country trying to invade us. The best thing you can do, because you cannot win, the best thing you can do, because God is on their side in some ways, because God is using them to punish us, to correct us, to heal us, the best thing you can do is to surrender to them.”

  • That would NOT be an incredibly popular thing

  • AND YET…

  • That is what Jeremiah says

  • Jeremiah 27:17, “Do not listen to them; serve the king of Babylon and live. Why should this city become a desolation?”

  • That is probably Jeremiah’s LEAST POPULAR prophecy

  • It PAINS Jeremiah to say this because no one listens to him

  • On to Daniel

  • Jeremiah gets a shout-out from Daniel today in Chs 8 and 9

  • We have the vision of a ram and a goat

  • When we get to The Book of Revelation, we are going to have a lot of similar visions

  • What does that mean?

  • Two horns?

  • All these things?

  • The ram with two horns, one bigger and one smaller is the Medo-Persian Empire

  • This was essentially two nations uniting their forces

  • One horn is bigger than the other

  • The Persians were more powerful than Medes

  • So that is why we have the ram with two horns

  • AND YET…

  • As we are seeing this powerful nation…

  • Daniel 8:5, “As I was considering, behold, a he-goat dame from the west across the face of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a conspicuous horn between its eyes.”

  • This goat is the nation of GREECE

  • Alexander the Great

  • Greece completely and quickly took over all of the known world in the Middle East

  • So this he-goat, the ram??

  • Why these things instead of just specifically saying, “Here is the Medo-Persian Empire. Here is the Greek Empire under Alexander the Great.”


  • When it comes to PROPHECY, it is always shrouded in MYSTERY

  • It is always shrouded in IMAGERY

  • It almost always means something MORE THAN WE JUST SEE ON THE SURFACE

  • At the same time, it also means what we see ON THE SURFACE

  • Here are these nations rising and falling

  • But also God gives this word of HOPE

  • This power, whether the Medo-Persian Empire, or the Greek Empire, or the Roman Empire, they are going to come to an END

  • When they come to an END, God actually gives a TIMELINE

  • 70 weeks of years

  • Almost 500 years (because a week is 7 days x 70 years = 490 years give or take 🤓)


  • There have been so many Biblical scholars who have dived deeply into this

  • They have demonstrated that the People of Israel are exiled for 70 years

  • Cyrus, the king of Persia, sends the people of Israel back to Jerusalem if they want to go back

  • We will hear about all this later in Nehemiah and Ezra


  • There is also this PROPHECY of almost 500 years after this, an ANOINTED ONE is going to come

  • Wait a second, is that Jesus?

  • The timeline actually, depending on how you interpret it

  • Like when did this 500 years start?

  • When did it end?

  • This is a prophecy of THE ANOINTED ONE

  • Not just AN anointed one



  • Just like Isaiah did

  • Ezekiel talked about that heart in us

  • Same with Jeremiah

  • That is diving deeper into the rabbit hole than we are going to do today

  • Have you noticed that the chapters in Daniel are quite a bit longer than in other books?

  • So please, pray for Fr. Mike

  • Fr. Mike is praying for you every single day, lifting you up in prayer


  • What a great gift to be able to walk together


Prayer by Fr. Mike: “Father in Heaven we give you praise and glory. We thank you so much. It is true that we plan our own ways, but you direct our steps. And when we belong to you, when we’re open to you, when we listen to you, when we obey your Word, even when we are simply humble, Lord, there is almost nothing that can replace just a humility before your voice, a humility before your will and before your Word. Yes, we plan our ways. But you direct our steps, Lord God. Help us to continually follow you, to be guided and shaped by your Word. And for every step we take, to be done in faith. For every step we take to be done in hope. And every step we take to be done out of love for you and for our neighbor. For you are love. And you call us to love you and to receive your love, to love our neighbor and to be your love for them. Help us to do this. Help us to be this. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”