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Thursday, October 11 2012

The Prophet Daniel: The Fiery Furnace

Studies in this complete "The Prophet Daniel" series:
1. A Child Of The Exile 2. Nebuchadnezzar's Image 3. The Fiery Furnace 4. The Dream Of A Tree
5. The Hand Writing On The Wall 6. The Den Of Lions 7. The Four Great Beasts 8. The Ram and The He Goat
9. The Seventy Weeks 10. The Hiddekel Vision 11. Kings Of The North and South


Abraham came out of the idolatry of Babylon (see A Biography Of Abraham: From Ur To Canaan). When some of his descendants (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches), the Israelites, became corrupt with idolatry, the LORD (see Who Is The LORD?) sent them, first Israel (see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Lost Ten Tribes), then Judah (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah), back to where their key ancestor began - the land of idolatry in Babylon.

Among those taken during the gradual exiles to Babylon were "children of Judah" whose names were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah - who the Babylonians renamed as Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

The Plain Of Babylon

"1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah [see also Who Were The First Jews? and Israel In History and Prophecy: Kingdom Of Judah], Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego." (Daniel 1:6-7 KJV)

King Nebuchadnezzar set up a great image of gold that was to be the focus of state worship i.e. "the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces" were all required to be "patriotic" to it.

"3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon [see The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image and What And Where Is Babylon Today?].

3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

3:3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up." (Daniel 3:1-3 KJV)

The infamous tower of Babel had been created in the same region centuries before - to which "the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth." Nebuchadnezzar even had the imperial audacity to command all of those scattered people and languages to "worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up." Notice carefully that Nebuchadnezzar himself did not worship the image.

"3:4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 3:5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 3:6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

3:7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up." (Daniel 3:4-7 KJV)

Some have speculated what the image was, whether man or "beast" (see the Fact Finder question below) - or whether the image was a statue of Nebuchadnezzar himself - the actual meaning of "the golden image which I have set up."

Nebuchadnezzar's Golden Image

"3:8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

3:9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.

3:10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image:

3:11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

3:12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:8-12 KJV)

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (who were then known by the Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego) refused to worship the image. Daniel surely wouldn't have either, but he, by then as Prime Minister, was apparently not required to, along with Nebuchadnezzar himself.

"3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

Then they brought these men before the king.

3:14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

3:15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

3:17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

3:18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up." (Daniel 3:13-18 KJV)

When they refused to worship his image, Nebuchadnezzar became "full of fury" and had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego cast alive into a "burning fiery furnace."

Fire

"3:19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 3:20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 3:21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 3:22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 3:23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

3:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?

They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

3:25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Daniel 3:19-25 KJV)

To the amazement of all, the LORD miraculously protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the fire.

"3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither.

Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 3:27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them." (Daniel 3:26-27 KJV)

As he had earlier done with Daniel, in a matter of a dream of Nebuchadnezzar's image (see The Prophet Daniel: Nebuchadnezzar's Image), "the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon."

"3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 3:29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon." (Daniel 3:28-30 KJV)

Fact Finder: What will be the connection between the end-time "image of the beast" and the "mark of the beast"?
See What Is The Mark Of The Beast?


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This Day In History, October 11

1138: Aleppo, Syria was devastated by a massive earthquake.

1521: Britain's King Henry VIII was given the title "Defender of The Faith" by Pope Leo X. Just over 12 years later, physically-adulterous Henry broke away from the spiritually-adulterous Church of Rome that refused to condone the king's successive marriages. Henry then established the Church of England with the reigning monarch (himself) designated as head of the church; Henry thereafter declared his adultery "legal" in his "church."

1531: During Switzerland's second civil war, Roman Catholic forces defeated Protestant forces at Kappel. Huldrych Zwingli was killed in battle.

1649: The Sack of Wexford. English forces under Oliver Cromwell attacked Wexford, killing over 2,000 Irish Confederates.

1727: King George II of England was crowned.

1737: An earthquake killed 300,000 in Calcutta India.

1811: The first steam-powered ferry went into service.

1862: The Confederate Congress passed a law that permitted anyone who owned 20 or more slaves to be exempt from military service in the Civil War. The law was widely seen as producing "a rich man's war and a poor man's fight" (as most wars have been regarded ever since by those who are not duped by self-glorifying propaganda i.e. the wealthy manufacturers of war equipment, through the politicians that they get elected, are in the "business" of war, while those who are actually sent to fight are the expendable "workers"; U.S. President Eisenhower, a former General, warned of the unnecessary wars started by what he called the "military-industrial complex").

1869: The Red River Rebellion was sparked when Louis Riel and 16 Metis stopped a survey party from entering land at The Red River Colony. The rebellion followed Canada's annexation of Rupert's Land, the immense area drained by the rivers flowing into Hudson's Bay i.e. parts of what is today known as Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota.

1911: A Chinese revolution overthrew the Chinese monarchy.

1915: During the First World War, a British hospital nurse, Edith Cavell, was executed in Belgium by German troops for her allegedly assisting the escape of allied prisoners. Her killing resulted in widespread international outrage.

1962: Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council in Rome with a theme of "Christian unity" i.e. everyone returning to the Church of Rome. It was the largest Roman Catholic council ever held, and was attended by delegates from a number of Protestant denominations.

1972: A race riot broke out on the U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk off the coast of Vietnam. Over 200 sailors were involved, 60 were injured. The incident was not made public until the New York Times newspaper reported it.

1976: The so-called "Gang of Four," Chairman Mao Tse-tung's widow and three associates are arrested in Peking, setting in motion an extended period of turmoil in the Chinese Communist Party.

1986: During the "Cold War," U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev met in Iceland to discuss nuclear arms reductions in Europe.





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