Did God Save the Hitler of the Old Testament?

Daniel 4:34-47 – At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?” At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble.

King Nebuchadnezzar is the Adolf Hitler of the Old Testament. A brutal dictator demanding religious devotion, he expanded the most powerful nation on earth with brutality. His soldiers conquered nations, enslaved their people, and stole their wealth. He also had Jews thrown into a fiery furnace and spent most of his adult life benefitting from the presence of God in Daniel, a slave he castrated and forced to serve his kingdom after conquering his homeland in Israel. Like Satan, the king was proud, godless, and wanted to overthrow every other king and kingdom, including King Jesus and the Kingdom of God.

God’s patience with Nebuchadnezzar is incredible. God warned him in a dream that Daniel interpreted for the king, that he had a year to repent of his sin and convert to worshipping the real God or spend seven years insane living outside and eating grass like an animal. With a hard heart, the king ignored the warning from the King of Kings and suffered everything promised.

At the end of Daniel 4, we see Nebuchadnezzar for the last time. The question is whether or not he truly repented of his sin and turned to trust in Daniel’s God. The commentators are basically split on the matter. Some think he continued to use God without loving or surrendering to God and is the Judas of the Old Testament as the legacy of his family is also completely ungodly. Others think he came to saving faith and is the Apostle Paul of the Old Testament.

Before losing his mind, Nebuchadnezzar was up on the roof of his palace looking down on everyone in pride. Now, he says that he stopped looking down on people and started looking up to God. This reminds me of an old quote from C.S. Lewis, “A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you.”

King Nebuchadnezzar’s final state letter may be his version of a testimony epistle like we find in the New Testament. His final official communication may be like Solomon’s book of repentance (Ecclesiastes), or Jonah’s book of repentance (Jonah). Either way, if you struggle to believe that God can save someone like Nebuchadnezzar, forgive his sins, and change his heart, you may not understand the grace of God. Nonetheless, Jesus can sort out who is in and out of His Kingdom, but we need to know that we have eternal life for ourselves.

Do you think, based upon this Scripture, that king Nebuchadnezzar was saved or not? Why? Why not?

In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.

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