Daniel: The Natural and Spiritual Minds
This study of Daniel is based on viewing the entire book from an inward perspective. Each person, place or thing in the story has a counterpart within us, and when we examine it from this perspective, great spiritual truths are revealed. Here the Holy Spirit shows us how God works in the human soul, spirit and ultimately the body to bring a person into perfection in the end times. This is where we all have to go if we are to survive the tremendous disasters encroaching upon all humanity from every conceivable direction. This is the Day of the Lord the Bible speaks of in many places when all the earth is being judged prior to the coming of God’s kingdom on earth. We must begin to enter into the full stature of the Lord Jesus Christ. As we are encouraged in Heb 6:1, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection…” We can only enter here by the working of the Holy Spirit within us, but he requires our cooperation. God works from the inside out in us. He begins in our spirit, then our soul and then our body. We will see this process laid out before us in the story of Daniel.
In the work presented here, everything in the book of Daniel represents something that is within each of us. Nebuchadnezzar is a Christian’s natural mind; Daniel is the spiritual mind; his three friends are faith-based understandings that form a foundation for his life; the Chaldeans are demons, and so on. Chapter two is about the natural mind’s struggle to find identity. Chapter three is about dissociation. The image of gold is a new alternate personality the natural mind has formed to face the fiery trial (furnace) in his life. However, God will not allow him to use it because his faith (Daniel’s three friends) is strong enough to take him through the trial. The entire book of Daniel can be viewed in type in such a way that each verse fits with the verse preceding and following it. Each chapter falls in line with the chapter before it and flows logically into the next chapter.
Eventually the dissociative mind (Nebuchadnezzar) gives way to a more mature mind (Darius). Belshazzar is the sin nature as related to the soul in chapter five; in chapter eight he is the sin nature in relation to the physical body. The first ten chapters of the book of Daniel show the gradual progression of a Christian into the image of Christ in the end times. What is laid out in chapter two, as revealed in the image, is fully revealed in the ensuing chapters up to chapter 11. Chapter 11 shows the spiritual dynamics the church will encounter as the antichrist spirit takes over the world. Chapter 12 reveals the church at the end of the age when that which is mortal puts on immortality.
Now we can begin our study of Daniel with this inward view to learn many things about our natural mind (soul), our spiritual mind (spirit) and the way God works in our lives to bring us into completeness in him.
The first important type to be identified is Nebuchadnezzar. His name means “Nebo, defend the boundary.” According to the scriptural types laid down by the early church Fathers, men are certain minds. Nebuchadnezzar is a type of our natural mind that tries to defend itself. It sets up boundaries. Nebuchadnezzar was the ruler of Babylon. Babylon was known as “a walled city; the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.” Our natural mind tries to protect itself by putting up walls. In the ensuing verses we will see that this natural mind uses dissociation to protect itself. Dissociation is “a split in the conscious process in which a group of mental activities breaks away from the main stream of consciousness and functions as a separate unit, as if belonging to another person.” That is a definition from Webster’s dictionary. Biblically speaking I would define the main stream of consciousness as being our true self…the person we were before we dissociated the first time.
Nebuchadnezzar ruled over the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Rivers in Scripture often represent the flow of truth and wisdom from God. (Jesus said, “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water” [John 7:38]). In the Garden of Eden there was only one river, a magnificent river far greater than our finite minds can comprehend, but upon leaving the garden it was divided into four rivers. Each river represents a certain way we are able to receive truth. The Tigris River is said to represent our learning from the testimony of others. The Euphrates represents our process of natural reasoning. Does this not represent our natural mind? Rather than learning from God through our spirit, our natural mind tries to determine truth on its own as it reasons things out (Euphrates) based on what it sees and hears from the testimony of others (Tigris).
Nebuchadnezzar means “Nebo, defend the boundary.” Nebo was the scribe of the gods. He wrote down everything about the law. This is like the natural mind…everything must work according to natural laws. Nebuchadnezzar is the natural, upright mind in us, not spiritual, yet it has respect for the truth, and to a considerable degree, follows it. It protects itself from hurt by dissociating and putting up walls. This causes confusion. Babylon means “confusion.”
Jerusalem was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar. We will see here that our natural mind (Nebuchadnezzar) does besiege our spiritual mind. Jerusalem is a type of our spirit as seen in the following scriptures:
“The living waters shall go out from Jerusalem” (Zec 14:8) and “He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (John 7:38). Living waters are flowing out from Jerusalem in the Old Testament and from our heart (belly) in the New Testament. This, of course, is our spiritual heart.
Other indicators of Jerusalem being our spirit can be seen in the following names assigned to Jerusalem in Scripture. It is called “the City of God” (Psa 46:4), “the City of Judah” (2 Chron 25:28), “Faithful City” (Isa 1:21; 26), “City of Righteousness” (Isa 1:26), “City of Truth” (Zec 8:3), “City of the Great King” (Psa 48:2). It was originally named “Salem” which means “peace.” These are all attributes of the human spirit.
Now that we see that Nebuchadnezzar represents our natural mind and that Jerusalem (and also Daniel) represents our spiritual mind and heart, I would like to add a few more understandings before giving a complete interpretation of Daniel 1:1.
Other words we need to define for our spiritual understanding of this first book of Daniel are as follows:
- Three – number of divine completeness or perfection. Taking the things of Christ and making them real and solid in our experience. (Number in Scripture by Bullinger)
- Jehoiakim – Strong’s Concordance gives meaning as “Jehovah will raise.”
- Judah – our true self. This is the person we were before we ever split off from our self. A complete understanding of this requires a long teaching. Briefly, Judah is described in Gen. 49 by Jacob as “a lion’s whelp.” Jesus is the lion of the tribe of Judah. If Jesus is the lion and Jacob is his offspring, it has to be our true self.
- Besieged – in Hebrew also means “to cramp, confine.”
Based on all the above understandings of types I give the following interpretation of Daniel 1:1:
It is time for God’s people to enter into divine completeness and perfection (in the third year). God is going to begin to raise them up into a new dimension in Him (the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah). The state of God’s people at this time is that the natural mind (Nebuchadnezzar) has ruled over (king of) the spiritual part of the person (Judah and Jerusalem) causing the spiritual part to be confined and cramped (besieged).
In most Christians the natural mind keeps us looking at life from a natural perspective rather than a spiritual one. Our natural side is stronger than our spiritual side keeping our spiritual side confined. As we face the challenges of everyday life, it is helpful if we stop to consider whether we are thinking according to our natural mind or listening to God via our spiritual mind.