(Part One)

  By Doug Fortune

“Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.” (Daniel 4:37) Obviously, we understand that Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel chapter four had to do with Nebuchadnezzar’s pride and his kingdom being taken from him. However, most of the prophetic Scriptures have different layers of meanings and applications. It is acceptable within the bounds of orthodoxy to explore fresh prophetic understanding, as long as it is Scripturally sound and does not insist on being the only true interpretation.

With this in mind, let us read for a moment from the fourth chapter of Daniel:
“I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me. How great are his signs! and how mighty are his wonders! his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation... I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.... Thus were the visions of mine head in my bed; I saw, and behold a TREE in the MIDST of the EARTH, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the beasts of the field had shadow under it, and the fowls of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all FLESH was fed of it.” (Daniel 4:2-3, 5, 10-12)

I must admit that when I read verses concerning the ‘earth,’ my spiritual ears perk up, for I know that WE are earthen vessels. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7) Also, this TREE in the MIDST of the EARTH makes me think of another tree; “And the Lord God formed man of the dust (EARTH) of the ground... And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden... And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the TREE of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:7-9)

As we look at these trees in Daniel and Genesis, we may find some striking similarities. From Daniel we read, “The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth: The leaves thereof were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all: the BEASTS of the field had shadow under it, and the FOWLS of the heaven dwelt in the boughs thereof, and all FLESH was fed of it.”

* Apparently this tree looked good, it was pleasant to the eyes.

* It “reached unto heaven,” which could symbolize an attempt to attaining wisdom; “To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.” (Psalms 136:5)

* It was a place that attracted the beasts, symbolic of the carnal BEAST nature; and also attracted the fowls, perhaps symbolic of demonic deception, “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the FOWLS came and devoured them up... Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the Kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (Matthew 13:4,18-19)

* It goes on to say how that “all FLESH was fed of it,” keeping in mind that Galatians 6:8 tells us “For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption (death)...”

This sounds so much like the tree we read of in Genesis; “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” (Genesis 3:6) However, there was a big problem with this tree that looked so good and would supposedly give great wisdom. Apparently it fed the wrong part of man, “And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the KNOWLEDGE of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17) Obviously, this tree did not produce immediate physical death, for Adam lived on for 930 years, however Adam’s true spiritual IDENTITY had died.

This TREE in the MIDST of the EARTH we read of in Daniel was feeding from the ‘dust’ of the earthy Adamic nature, as expressed by Nebuchadnezzar’s pride; “The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of MY power, and for the honour of MY majesty?” (Daniel 4:30) Conversely, we see Adam feeding upon the TREE of KNOWLEDGE in the MIDST of the garden, thinking he could take the place of God. The sad thing is, Adam wasn’t the last person to eat of the tree of knowledge. In fact, much of what we see in the Church today is a product of the tree of knowledge. We are surrounded with the thought that somehow by partaking of the tree of KNOWLEDGE of good and evil we can become as God. Yes, the thought that by partaking of knowledge, by learning facts from our Bible we can become like Jesus... the thought that our MIND can give us the NATURE, the character of Christ. Even the Pharisees had the right information, “you search the Scriptures diligently because you suppose and trust that you have eternal life through THEM. And these very Scriptures testify about Me!” (John 5:39) Do you see the fallacy, do you see the deception of the serpent in this thinking (it’s an old trick)... do you see that unfortunately THIS is the spiritual DNA of much of modern Christianity. It’s NOT an information/knowledge thing, it’s a new nature/character thing!

I find that there is so much activity in the Church that falls into the category of feeding from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. I can be taught and trained to the point of having my SOUL (mind, will, emotions) operating upon spiritual principles that are ingrained, and yet still be living from the soul realm, rather than living from the SPIRIT. The tree of knowledge of good and evil appeals to the soul as it judges between good and evil according to the REASONING of the soul. The tree of knowledge of good and evil is very INFORMATION gathering and dispersing oriented as it appeals to the mind, the reasoning abilities.

The tree of knowledge feeds the soulish (psuche) life of man. Matthew 16:25 explains, “He who seeks to save his life shall lose it...” The word translated as save in that verse is sozo in Greek, which means to save, protect, preserve. The word translated as life in that verse is psuche in Greek, from which we get the word psyche, which is the mind, the SOUL. That verse literally says that if we seek to protect and preserve our SOUL life (life lived from the mind, will, emotions), we will lose it. The word translated as lose, apollumi in Greek, means to destroy fully. Just like God told Adam that when he fed his SOULish life from the tree of knowledge, he would “surely die.” Just like the TREE of the SOULish life of Nebuchadnezzar upon which it was decreed, “He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit.” (Daniel 4:14)

Matthew 16:25 goes on to say that if we lose our SOULish life for HIS SAKE, we will find it, or better translated, we will OBTAIN. What is it that we obtain? Jesus said His words (the incorruptible Seed of Life) were Spirit (Pneuma in Greek) and Life (Zoe in Greek), or Spirit Life. Jesus said His purpose in coming was that we may have LIFE, Zoe or Spirit Life. He did NOT come to give us psuche, or SOULish life!