Lydia and I once had the opportunity to visit Yerevan, Armenia. While we were there, we visited a monastery named “Khor Virap” (which means “deep dungeon”), which is located on the border with Turkey overlooking Mount Ararat. The site is so beautiful that you can see the two mountains when the sky is clear. It's an incredible view from that position. Merchants in Yerevan, which is close to the location, will try to sell you something related to Noah's Ark, as they, too, believe that the ark is there on Mount Ararat. Genesis 8:4 says Noah’s Ark “came to rest on the mountains of Ararat.” The monastery has a whole description of the Genesis account of Noah's Ark, signifying its biblical significance for those who might visit. The monastery was built over a pit, which holds great importance for the Armenians beyond the Genesis account. The man connected with the pit and the monastery was Gregory, who became a saint and also is referred to as Gregory the Illuminator. He was a strong Christian who served in the army of Armenia.
Gregory’s father, Anak, was believed to have assassinated King Khosrov II, who was the father of King Tiridates III. During a time when Armenia had a pluralistic society and Christianity was not yet a widely accepted religion, King Tiridates III asked Gregory to burn incense to a pagan idol. However, Gregory refused to do so because of his Christian beliefs. The king was outraged by Gregory's refusal and by his father’s assassination, so he decided to punish Gregory by imprisoning him in a dungeon to rot and die. He would have died if it were not for a kind lady who would visit him every day for fourteen years and give him a loaf of bread.
In 297 AD, the king wanted to marry a Christian nun, but she had already taken vows of chastity and refused to marry him. In his fury, he killed a group of Christian nuns who were fleeing from Roman persecution. As a result, he lost his senses, experiencing lycanthropy, a condition in which the person behaves like a wild animal. He would roam the forest like a wild boar. After a period of time, those close to him had lost hope that he would ever improve.
However, Tiridates’ sister had a dream that revealed the only man who could help the king was Gregory. She believed that Gregory could free the king from his affliction and pray to his God for healing. The problem was that since Gregory had been put into exile in a cave many years ago, it was believed that he had already died.
Nevertheless, they sent for Gregory anyway. When they found him in the cave, he was barely alive and emaciated. They brought him to the king. They asked Gregory to pray for the king's healing, which he did. To everyone's amazement, the king regained his senses almost immediately. He was healed of his affliction and was able to reason and think clearly once again. The king then acknowledged that Gregory's God was the one true God. In 301 AD, the king proclaimed Armenia a Christian nation and thus made Armenia the first Christian nation officially.
Daniel 4:1-37 is the account of how King Nebuchadnezzar came to acknowledge Daniel’s God as the one, true God. This is the same man, who one chapter earlier had thrown Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace for not bowing to his idolatrous statue.
Daniel 4:1–3 (NKJV)
1 Nebuchadnezzar the king, To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you.
2 I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.
3 How great are His signs, And how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, And His dominion is from generation to generation.
I imagine Nebuchadnezzar went to Daniel and said, “Daniel, I can see that you're writing the court stories. I can see that you're writing about the things that have happened while your people have been in exile in Babylon. You must include this story in your book.” Here you have the powerful testimony of a once-pagan king coming to faith in the one true God.
We may not be the king of an empire like Nebuchadnezzar nor the king of a country like Tiridates. But, if God has proven Himself in your life, you have a story to proclaim. If Nebuchadnezzar was alive today, he would pass out a gospel tract to every one he could, which would be Daniel chapter four - how God proved He alone is the One True and Living God. Who needs to hear your story today?