The PURE TRUTH Restored                          Vol. 1, No. 2

Where Is Nebuchadnezzar's
7-Year Interregnum In History?

(Originally published as: "Nebuchadnezzar's Seven-Year Interregnum...
Is It Historical? in The PURE TRUTH magazine, No. 15, March-April 1995)

ANIEL reveals that king Nebuchadnezzar of ancient Babylon went insane for seven years -- leaving his throne to others -- but was reinstated as monarch after the seven years had passed and his sanity restored.   Why is there no historical record of this amazing event?   Or is there?...

    The problem with many historians is that they cannot see the evidence of past scriptural events because generally they are too close to the facts and mainly because they have a decidedly secular bias or prejudice, even those whose background is supposedly religious.

    The trouble with seminaries or religious colleges has always been that they cannot impart spiritual insights they do not have, regardless of how many years the student devotes to his training or how erudite in their teachings he becomes.

    This is true because, despite the presumptions of "inspiration," they really have no better knowledge of truth, or historical facts, than uneducated lay people; perhaps less!

    Here then, from an Ambassador College and university "dropout," is the real truth about Nebuchadnezzar's Interregnum, along with the historical facts which utterly prove it and are known to all scholars, yet have never -- until now, that is -- been correctly understood in the light of what scripture reveals to be the historic reality!

The Generally Accepted History

    The following is the supposed "history" of ancient Babylon, according to Merrill F. Unger and other past religious historians, in the articles: "Babylon" and "Chronology" in Unger's Bible Dictionary:

    "The city of Babylon did not reach the height of its glory, however, until the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II, (B.C. [sic] 605-562)."

    "He was succeeded on the throne by Amel-Marduk (562-560), the Evil-Merodach of II Kings 25:27. This man was murdered by his brother-in-law, Nergal-sharusur (560-556) whose son ruled only a few months and was succeeded by one of the conspirators, who made away with him. A noble named Nabunaid, or Nabonidus, then ruled, together with his son Belshazzar (556-539; see Dan. 5); Nabonidus was the last king of the neo-Babylonian Empire."

    In 539, Babylon fell to Cyrus of Persia, thus ending the greatness of the ancient city-state known as Babylon.

    According to the article: "Nebuchadnezzar," we are told by Unger's that this same Nebuchadnezzar II -- son of Nabopolassar -- as a young general, inherited his father's empire of Babylon in 605 by defeating Egypt's King Necho II at Carchemish on the Euphrates and pursued the defeated Necho to the borders of Egypt when, in 604, Nebuchadnezzar's father died abruptly at Babylon, forcing Nebuchadnezzar to abandon his planned invasion of Egypt and return post haste to take over the government at Babylon.

    However, according to another Unger's article, "Chronology:" "Necho [was] defeated by [the] Chaldeans at Haran in c. 609 B.C. [sic] and at Carchemish c. 605 B.C. [sic]" and: "The Chaldean Period c. 612-539 defeat of Assyria and Egypt under Necho at Haran c. 609 B.C. [sic]."

    So Nebuchadnezzar actually began his conquest of Assyria and Egypt, which brought Babylon to its ascendancy, as early as 609 B.C.E. (Before Common Era) and this empire lasted through 538.

    The full significance of these dates will be explained shortly.

Missing the Boat Historically!

    Again, continuing in Unger's: "After a prosperous and eventful reign of forty-three years (604-562 B.C. [sic]) Nebuchadnezzar died and was succeeded by his son, Evil-Merodach (Amel-Marduk)."

    Interestingly, though Daniel is quoted in both this article and again in the article "Babylon" with the comments: "Archaeology has shown the complete suitability of Nebuchadnezzar's words recorded in Dan. 4:30, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have built for the royal dwelling-place by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?'" and: "How well the words of Dan. 4:30 fit this ambitious builder.…," nowhere do we read in Unger's about the seven-year insanity interregnum of this king, as recorded in the remainder of the very same fourth chapter of Daniel!

    So the religious historians and archaeologists have treated this scriptural account of history as so much "mythological fiction."

    However their very own history, when combined with scriptural accounts, proves Daniel recorded actual history, and modern so-called "historical" accounts are so much intellectual gibberish by comparison!

    In order to understand the historic truth, and distinguish it from well-intended but false nonsense history, let's begin with a closer examination of yet another historical personage, as recorded in Unger's article: "Nabonidus."

    According to this article, Nabonidus was: "the last ruler of the neo-Babylonian Empire (556-539 B.C. [sic]). He is called Nabunaid in the cuneiform records.   His son Belshazzar, who figures so prominently in Dan. 5, was associated with him legally from his third regnal year to the capture of Babylon by Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire (539 B.C. [sic]).…   No Babylonian document actually affirms that Nabunaid's son Belshazzar was present at the fall of Babylon, yet there is no positive evidence against his participation in these events."

    Now stop and ask yourself, WHY would this "religious historian" bother to even bring up this point?   Could it be because he is automatically questioning the historical truth of the scriptural account, while taking no issue with his own grasp of the facts?

    However, since Babylon ceased to exist as an independent world power when it was conquered by Cyrus of Persia in 539, no Babylonian document would therefore exist giving the details of that battle!

    It should go without saying (but for the general ignorance and arrogance of these supposed historians) that this would be the prerogative of the victor, or independent historian such as Daniel, to record.

70 Years Determined for WHAT?

    History does record the seven-year period of Nebuchadnezzar's insanity, believe it or not.   You just have to know where to look for it.

    Yet historians have completely missed the boat here because of their ingrained bias and prejudice against scripture as a historical source.

    Seventeen years ago I was inspired by the Creator Yahveh to understand the truth on this subject, which has baffled and confused the best minds of Christian and secular historians and the would-be teachers of the so-called "Plain Truth."

    I have this understanding by the merciful grace of Almighty Yahveh, to whom belongs all credit for its discovery -- since He alone reveals true history to His servants and prophets -- not because I have any kind of superior intellect or am a "great thinker," compared to those who have failed to understand this and many other scriptural truths only now being revealed by the restoration of all things!

    Several scriptural keys reveal the truth, once they are put together properly with the historical facts known to the secular and so-called religious historians and archaeologists.

    According to II Chronicles 36:21, the Babylonian captivity of Yasrael was: "To fulfill the words of Yahveh by the mouth of YermiYahv ["Jeremiah"], until the land had enjoyed its sabbaths: for as long as it lay desolate it kept sabbath, to fulfill seventy years."

    The Worldwide Church and others have taught that this was a 70 year captivity, because the land rested for 70 years, according to this verse of scripture.

    But if you read it again more carefully you will see that this is not what it says. The NIV translates this verse as follows:

    "The land enjoyed its sabbath rests; all the time of its desolation it rested, until the seventy years were completed in fulfillment of the word of Yahveh spoken to YermiYahv." (Correct name transliterations restored to the text throughout.)

    The scripture in question, referred to in this verse, is Jeremiah 25:11-12, which reveals exactly which period of time this 70 years was intended to cover:

    "'This whole nation [of Yasrael] will become a desolate wasteland, and THESE NATIONS will serve the king of Babylon seventy years.   But when the seventy years are fulfilled, I will punish the King of Babylon and his nation, the land of the Babylonians, for their guilt,' declares Yahveh, 'and will make it desolate forever.'"

    Clearly, the seventy years was determined not for the total length of Yasrael's captivity, but rather for the nation and king of Babylon!

    The King James translation muddles this truth in Jeremiah 29:10 with the mistranslation "at Babylon," but the NIV corrects this mistake with the following translation:

    "This is what Yahveh says: 'When seventy years are completed FOR BABYLON, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place."

    Secular history verifies these facts, for the Babylonian captivity began, according to Unger's article "Nebuchadnezzar," in 587 when Yaravsalem ("Jerusalem") fell finally to Nebuchadnezzar after being besieged for a year and a half.

    From 587 until Cyrus' decree mandating the end of that captivity in 538 is, counting inclusively, a period of only 50 years.

    Religious historians have argued back and forth, and confused the "70 years" as the length of the captivity itself, for many generations.   According to Unger's article "Captivity:"

    "(4) Duration.   Jeremiah (25:12; 29:10) predicted that the captivity should last for seventy years, and this prediction has aroused much discussion.   The best explanation of the chronological problem involved is that there were two, if not more, coordinate modes of computing the period in question, used by the sacred writers, one civil, and extending from the first invasion by Nebuchadnezzar to the decree of Cyrus, B.C. [sic] 606-538; and the other ecclesiastical, from the burning of the temple to its reconstruction, B.C. [sic] 587(6)-517."

    Yet this very same article immediately goes on to frankly admit: "The Babylonian captivity was brought to a close by the decree (Ezra 1:2) of Cyrus, B.C. [sic] 538, and the return of a portion of the nation under Sheshbazzar or Zerubbabel, B.C. [sic] 535; Ezra, B.C. [sic] 458, and Nehemiah, B.C. [sic] 445."

    Notice how the so-called "civil" period, from 606-538, is at best, counting inclusively, only 69 years and not 70, while the period from 587-517 is, counting inclusively once again, 71 years, rather than 70!

    So actually none of these attempted explanations of the 70-year period are accurate, much less fit the scriptural facts which reveal this was not a seventy-year captivity but was instead the total time that Nebuchadnezzar would rule over the nations surrounding Babylon, from Babylon's ascendancy until its final destruction!

    A more recent attempt at explaining away the general ignorance of what these scriptures actually say is found in the NIV footnote to Jeremiah 25:11-12, where we are told:

    "25:11-12 seventy years.   See 29:10.   This round number (as in Ps 90:10; Isa 23:15) probably represents the period from 605 (see notes on v. 1; Da 1:1) to 538 B.C. [sic], which marked the beginning of Judah's return from exile (see 2 Ch 36:20-23; see also notes on Da 9:1-2).   The 70 years of Zec 1:12 are not necessarily the same as those here and in [Jeremiah] 29:10.   They probably represent the period from 586 (when Solomon's temple was destroyed) to 516 (when Zerubbabel's temple was completed).   See note on Zec 7:5."

    Notice how they have fudged the year for the destruction of Solomon's temple, pushing it forward one year, in the false attempt to force history to fit their incorrect theory!

    In fact, the NIV footnote to this verse in Zechariah says:

    "7:5.… seventy years.   See 1:12 and note.   Since these fasts commemorated events related to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple (see note on 8:19), the 70 years here are to be reckoned from 586 B.C. [sic]   Strictly speaking, 68 years had transpired; 70 is thus a round number." [sic]

    For seventy years Yahveh was angry with Yavdea and Yaravsalem. (According to Zechariah 1:12.)

    This was not the total period of their captivity in Babylon, but represented instead the beginning of the siege of Yaravsalem by Nebuchadnezzar beginning in 589 (One and a half years before it fell, remember) until the building of the temple of Zeravbabel in 520, according to Unger's article: "Temple.   4. The Temple of Zerubbabel," quoting Smith's Bible Dictionary on this subject as follows:

    "'We have very few particulars regarding the temple…erected after their return from the captivity (about 520 B.C. [sic])…'"

    Zechariah 1:16 reveals that the end of the seventy years of Yahveh's anger toward Yaravsalem (verse 12) would end with the rebuilding of His temple!

    The only "fly in the ointment" of this explanation appears to be Daniel 9:1-2, which says: "In the first year of Darius.…   In the first year of his reign, I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of Yahveh came to YermiYahv the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Yaravsalem."

    The NIV translates the last verse as follows: "I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of Yahveh given to YermiYahv the prophet, that the desolation of Yaravsalem would last seventy years."

    Even though this translation follows the Masoretic Hebrew fairly accurately, can this one scripture contradict both history and all the other scriptures?   The obvious answer is "NO!"

    So either of two possibilities exist which explain this apparent contradiction.   The first, and least probable, is that an early copyist of Daniel mistook the name of ZechariYahv for YermiYahv.

    The second, and more likely, possibility is that this verse has been misconstrued through transcription. Lancelot Brenton's English translation of the Greek Septuagint, itself an early translation from the original Hebrew scriptures, bears out this truth, both in the context of Jeremiah 25:8-12 and Daniel 9:1-2, as follows:

    "I Daniel understood by books the number of the years which was the word of Yahveh to YermiYahv, seventy years for the accomplishment of the destruction of Yaravsalem."

    Notice this does not say, as the Masoretic Hebrew does, that the length of Yaravsalem's destruction -- according to YermiYahv -- would last seventy years, but rather that the accomplishment of the seventy years prophesied by YermiYahv against Babylon would end with the return from exile of the Yasraelites to Yaravsalem.

    As history proves, the total length of Yaravsalem's desolation was -- at most -- only 50 years; far short of the full seventy years determined against Babylon.

Where's the Seven-Year Interregnum?

    The seventy years was a judgment against both Babylon and its king! (Jeremiah 25:11-12.)

    Nebuchadnezzar ruled as co-regent with his father from 609 through 605, and as sole regent from 604 until -- so we are told by historians -- 562; just 43 years. (Or 48 years total, including the period of co-regency with his father.)

    Closely examining the rulers that succeeded Nebuchadnezzar, we find that from 562 until the rule of Nabonidus beginning in 556, counting inclusively, there are exactly seven years!

    Is this merely a coincidence?   Hardly.   But Unger's passes over some other important scriptural evidence, with little or no understanding, such as the article "Belshazzar" which has the following:

    "Belshazzar…was the eldest son and co-regent of Nabonidus (B.C. [sic] 539), the last sovereign of the Neo-Babylonian Empire.   The following passage [Babylonian archives] explicitly states that before Nabonidus started on his expedition to Tema in Arabia he entrusted actual kingship to Belshazzar: 'He entrusted a campaign to his eldest, firstborn son; the troops of the land he sent with him.   He freed his hand, he entrusted the kingship to him.   Then he himself [Nabonidus] undertook a distant campaign.   The power of the land of Akkad advanced [together] with him; towards Tema in the midst of the Westland he set his face.…   He himself established his dwelling in Tema.…   That city he made glorious.…   They made it like a palace of Babylon…'" (Ellipses theirs.)

    Notice how Belsazzar was first made a general and then co-regent just as Nebuchadnezzar was.   So while Belsazzar ruled from Babylon, his co-regent father Nabonidus settled in Tema in Arabia. Continuing:

    "The Babylonian records indicate that Belshazzar became co-regent in the third year of Nabonidus' reign (B.C. [sic] 553) and continued in that capacity until the fall of Babylon (B.C. [sic] 539).…   During Nabonidus' absence in Tema, the Nabunaid Chronicle explicitly indicates that the New Year's Festival was not celebrated but that it was observed in the 17th year upon the king's return home.   Accordingly, it is evident that Belshazzar actually exercised the co-regency in Babylon.…"

    The 17th year would place this "New Year's Festival" celebration in 539, or the very time of Babylon's destruction by Cyrus of Persia!   (Actually at the end of 538!)

    This could well be the very banquet described in Daniel 5, which resulted in the final judgment upon Babylon!   Continuing:

    "The book of Daniel is thus not in error [Who thought it was?] in representing Belshazzar as the last king of Babylon…nor can it be said to be wrong in calling Belshazzar 'the son of Nebuchadnezzar' (Dan. 5:1).   Even if Belshazzar were not lineally related to Nebuchadnezzar, which is doubtful…the usage 'son of,' being equivalent in Semitic usage to 'successor of,' in the case of royalty would in this case still not be inaccurate."

    Sounds like a reasonable explanation, doesn't it?   However, there is one great difficulty with this last argument.

    The Hebrew does not say, in either Daniel 5:1 or 18, that Belsazzar was "the son of Nebuchadnezzar."   (It does use this phrase, however, in Daniel 5:22.)   Instead, it says: "Nebuchadnezzar his [your] father."

    Some have even argued (The Worldwide Church among them) that this phrase in Hebrew can also mean "grandfather," but that is not what Daniel said or meant!


    The fact is, Nabonidus and Nebuchadnezzar were both the father of Belsazzar, according to Babylonian and scriptural records.   And this can only mean one thing:

    Nabonidus WAS Nebuchadnezzar, under a new and different name, which he obviously assumed following his seven-year insanity interregnum!

    Semitic custom often called for a change of name when a major change of character had taken place, such as: Abram to Abraham (Genesis 17:5, Nehemiah 9:7), Sarai to Sarah (Genesis 17:15), and Ya'acob to Yasrael. (Genesis 32:28.)

    The evidence all clearly supports this amazing conclusion: Daniel was named "Beltashazzar" by Nebuchadnezzar before his seven-year interregnum (Daniel 1:7, 2:26, 4:8-9, 18-19, 5:12, 10:1), and Belsazzar was the name given to the last co-regent of Babylon by his father Nebuchadnezzar! (Daniel 5:1-2, 18, 22.)

    Not only is there a unique similarity between these two names, revealing the fact they both came from the same mind, but notice also the similarity between the name Nabonidus, as post-interregnum Nebuchadnezzar was called in the Babylonian Chronicles, and Nabopolassar his father.

    In fact, another way to spell Nebu, the first part of Nebuchadnezzar's name, is "Nabo," "Nebu," or "Nebo," according to the phonetic spelling from Unger's article "Nebuchadnezzar:"

    "(Akkad.   Nabu-kudduriusur, Nebo, defend the boundary)."

    These English variations in spelling the very same Akkadian word have confused the issue, but once this is recognized the truth literally leaps out at you.

    The historians have Nebuchadnezzar as having died at the beginning of the seven years of insanity, during which time Daniel plainly reveals -- in Nebuchadnezzar's own words no less -- that others ruled in his stead, but that his throne was restored to him when his sanity returned after the seven years had passed!   (Daniel 4:25-26, 31-34, 36.)

    Nabonidus' change of name from Nebuchadnezzar reflected his newfound humility and change of character, brought about by the experience of his seven years of insanity, when he lived like a beast in the fields.   (Daniel 5:20-22.)

    Now notice the angel's message to Belsazzar, when the time had arrived for Babylon's end:

    "Mene; Yahveh has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end." (Daniel 5:26.)

    Clearly, this is a heavenly reference to the 70 years that were determined against both Babylon and its king Nebuchadnezzar, from beginning to end, from the co-regency with his father to the co-regency with his son, Belsazzar.

    Assuming, as some historians have, that Nebuchadnezzar was a young general of about 18 years old when he defeated Assyria and Necho of Egypt the first time in 609 B.C.E., he would have been approximately 88 years old at the fall of Babylon.

    This means that he would have been about 70 years old when his sanity and the kingdom were restored, and approximately 63 when he lost his mind and kingdom due to his pride, ego and vanity.

    He would have been about 23 when he became the sole regent over Babylon, at the death of his father Nabopolassar.

    This, then, is the ultimate and sole historical truth concerning the Babylonian regent Nebuchadnezzar/Nabonidus, and the seventy years determined against his rulership over the surrounding nations through his pagan city/state of Babylon.

The Source of ALL Truth!

    Scholars, historians and archaeologists, secular and religious alike, have missed this singular truth because they, like Nebuchadnezzar, have been given over to a form of insanity -- the inability to recognize and understand historical truths as revealed in scripture -- due to pride and vanity in their own human accomplishments and supposed erudition!

    Instead, Yahveh has revealed these secrets to His servants the prophets and teachers, those who serve Him meekly and honor Him alone as the author of all truth and the revealer of all His secrets of the past, present and future!

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