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Introducing Prevailing Hope – When Life Hurts .

Get your free introductory sample to the Prevailing Hope Book by clicking on this link and filling out the form here.

Prevailing Hope -When Life Hurts is a true story to give hope in the midst of all we go through on this earth.It’s a journey of how the LORD has shown me how I can be okay even when life is not okay. My prayer is all who read this, will draw closer to the SOURCE of all HOPE, the LORD Jesus Christ. From my heart-Brenda

Prevailing Hope – When Life Hurts is available for purchase currently by following this link: http://bit.ly/2mgej8j

Welcome to AHA Bible Moments!

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“Bible History IS Secular History when given the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth.”

You are about to enter the world of “I didn’t know that” moments from the Bible!

 Instruct the wise and they will be wiser still; teach the righteous and they will add to their learning.

Proverbs 9:9

Paul Harvey, during his daily radio broadcasts, made famous the statement “The Rest of the Story.” He would tell the unfamiliar stories behind the familiar stories of men, feats, events and situations. Did you know the same is true of many “bible stories” found in the Old and New Testament scriptures? The following may not be quite the same as Mr. Harvey’s reviews of history, events and people, but they can be just as stunning, revealing, informative, and mind opening.

This publication will look at dozens of these surprising “aha moments” from miniJimscripture. Some will startle, some readers will find them particularly satisfying, and some will realize that history and the Bible are the same thing; a review of what was and remains an actuality. The Bible stories in scripture are space-limited and cannot publish everything surrounding, coinciding, or consequential to these stories. Some Bible time events are well-known and others not quite as well known but none the less found in scripture with a correlating “aha moment”. NOTE: The Bible and history are contemporaneous.

Included in this website are messages from others who serve our God; i.e. studied individuals such as ministers and Bible teachers.

Let’s explore some of these aha moments in scripture and have a ton of fun while doing so!!

– Dr. J

Bible Devotions or Bible Study?

Bible Devotions are like paying the minimum amount due on ones credit card debt. One seldom gains ground. Bible study is like paying the monthly balance in full plus something extra. We gain ground quickly!

 

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Article #19 of the Daniel series

Daniel 4:32-33

32 And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

33 The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

There is a condition known as Lycanthropy, coming from the Greek ‘lykos’ meaning ‘wolf’ and ‘anthropos’ meaning ‘man’, from which we identify ‘Wolf-Man’. Very few recorded cases exist yet extensive mythology has originated by the belief that a person could change into a wolf; this has led to legends of werewolf’s etc. that are found around the world.

A variation of this disease is Boanthropy where, rather than believing oneself to be a wolf, one believes oneself to be an ox or cow. It is this illness that most likely fits this situation. Myth and legend aside, there was a case recorded in England just after the Second World War. A man in his early twenties was admitted to a mental institution with all the symptoms consistent with Boanthropy. In his commentary on Daniel, Dr John Walvoord, one with whom I have a great respect, offers the following: “Raymond Harrison recites a personal experience with a modern case similar to that of Nebuchadnezzar which he observed in a British mental institution in 1946. Harrison writes: ‘A great many doctors spend an entire busy professional career without once encountering an incidence of this kind of Boanthropy described in the book of Daniel. Harrison therefore considers him-self particularly fortunate to have actually observed a clinical case of Boanthropy in a British mental institution in 1946.

The patient was in his early twenties, who had reportedly been hospitalized for about five years. His symptoms were well developed on admission and diagnosis was immediate and conclusive. He was of average height and weight, with a good physique and he was in excellent bodily health. His mental symptoms included pronounced anti-social tendencies, and because of this he spent the entire day from dawn to dusk outdoors in the grounds of the institution. His daily routine consisted of wandering around the magnificent lawns, of the hospital. And it was his custom to pluck up and eat handfuls of grass all day long.

On observation he was seen to discriminate carefully between grass and weeds. On enquiry from the attendant, Harrison was told that the diet of this patient consisted exclusively of grass from the hospital lawns. He never ate institutional food with other inmates, and his only drink was water. The writer was able to examine him curiously, and the only physical abnormality noted, consisted of a lengthening of the hair and a coarse thickened condition of the fingernails. Without institutional care the patient would have manifested precisely the same physical conditions as those mentioned in Daniel 4:33. From the foregoing it seems evident that the forth chapter of Daniel was describing an accurate and attestable mental affliction.”

Of course the critics of the Bible say that this could never have happened, however Eusebius refers to a Greek historian called Abydenus who sites a case in 268BC of a man with almost identical symptoms to Nebuchadnezzar. Josephus also quotes Berosus, a Babylonian historian, who documented the case of a Chaldean priest at the time of Alexander the Great, who once again appears to have suffered from this disease. In the East India Company Museum in London there is a cuneiform tablet that has been discovered that is inscribed with details about Nebuchadnezzar’s illness. Yet further evidence to support the Biblical account was the discovery of what has become known as the ‘Prayer of Nabonidus’ found in cave #4 at Qumran (part of the Dead Sea Scrolls found between 1947-1956). There is little doubt that the author is none other than Nebuchadnezzar himself. The scroll reads:

The words of the prayer that (Nabonidus?), the king of Assyria and Babylon, the [great] king, prayed [when he was smitten] with a malignant disease by the decree of the [Most High God] in [the city of] Tema. I was smitten for *seven years and from [men] I was put away. But when I confessed my sins and my faults, He [God] allowed me (to have) a soothsayer. This was a Jewish [man of the exiles in Babylon. He] explained (it) and wrote (me) to render honor and great glory to the name of the [Most High God]…” (JIV NOTE: Soothsayer was most likely Daniel himself.]

*Some bible scholars believe this to be written as 7 seasons or periods of time. In this geographical area there are only two recognized seasons; summer and winter. If this is correct that would mean the translation would then read 3 ½ years.

Daniel 4:34

And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:”

How often do we take ‘seven years’ to learn the most basic lesson that God is in control? So often our pride exhibits or unveils itself as worry, which is a declaration that we and not God, are in control. Oswald Chambers said: “If God is the God we know Him to be when we are closest to Him, what an impertinence worry is”. (see Matt 6:25-34 & Phil 4:6-7) Worry is simply a lack of faith in the one whose dominion is an everlasting dominion. What will be will be as “He’s got the whole world in his hands.”

Daniel 4:35

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashions it, What makest thou? The post has no hands?” (Isaiah 45:9) In short, we try to make God into something that fits our heart’s desire and will. Genesis 1:1 does not read in any translation…”in the beginning Man created an image of a god to fit his and her wishes in life.”

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why have you made me [like] thus?” (Rom 9:20)

Daniel 4:36-37

36 At the same time my reasoning returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honor and brightness returned unto me; and my counselors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me.

37 Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase. Amen!

Nebuchadnezzar lived for about one year after returning to his Babylonian throne. The Jewish Talmud records that Daniel was the one who looked after Nebuchadnezzar throughout the seven years, and then saw him restored to his throne. However this time the king knew that ‘his’ throne was really only on loan! The Bible does not explain or define who cared for him but we do suspect Nebuchadnezzar was kept within the palace grounds.

Also we should remember the admonition by Paul: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all
godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior;
Who will [wills that] have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.
For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus

(1 Tim 2:1-5)

Do not misunderstand this verse. ALL MANKIND will not be forgiven at the end of time, but all mankind will be judged. God wills that all mankind would follow him and be saved but man has a free will to choose.

Belshazzar.

JIV NOTE: In our next article (#20; chapter 5) we jump forward several years into the reign of Nebuchadnezzar’s grandson, Belshazzar. Some translations identify him as “the son of Nebuchadnezzar.” However we know two other kings ruled for some time in Babylon. One of those short term rulers was a son-in-law, Nabonidus, from whom came Belshazzar. Belshazzar never was the actual king but was left to rule Babylon while his father, King Nabonides, ventured around the Middle East and Egypt with his armies. Odd as it may seem, Nabonides was defeated by the Medo-Persians and allowed to live. Very shortly thereafter, his son Belshazzar was killed in his palace in Babylon by the Medes.

Ruler Reigned Comments
Nabu-apla-usur (Nabopolassar) 626 – 605 BC Took control of Babylonia from Sinsharishkun of Assyria, ejected Assyrian armies from Babylonia in 616 BC. Entered into alliance with Cyaxares and destroyed the Assyrian empire.
Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar II) 605 – 562 BC Chaldean king. Defeated the Egyptians and Assyrians at Carchemish. Is associated with Daniel in the Bible.
Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) 562 – 560 BC Released Jeconiah after 37 years in captivity.
Nergal-shar-usur (Nergal-sharezer/Neriglissar) 560 – 556 BC Son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II. Murdered Amel-Marduk.
Labashi-Marduk 556 BC Son of Neriglissar. Murdered after being deemed unfit to rule.
Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus/Belshazzar) 556 – 539 BC Last Mesopotamian king of Babylon, originated in Harran in Assyria. Was not a Chaldean, often left rule to his son Belshazzar in a co-regency arrangement. He married a daughter of Nebuchadnezzar.

Article #18 of Daniel Series

The Tree Dream

We just came off of Article 17 where Nebuchadnezzar had a horrifying dream (Daniel 4:10-17). The dream was one that 400 Babylonian advisers to the king would not or could not interpret. Verse 4:18 the king is asking Daniel (Belteshazzar) to give him the meaning of this “TREE” dream.

Daniel 4:19

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was *astonied (stricken dumb; ASV) for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.

*Astonied means stunned or hesitant. Daniel was not stunned at the question or who asked for the interpretation, but at what he already knew was the meaning of the dream.

Once again, Nebuchadnezzar uses Daniel’s Jewish name, and then confirms Daniel’s Babylonian name so all would know to whom the king is referring.

Back in verse 9 the king confidently asserts that nothing troubles Daniel – that is, up until now! We will see in chapter nine that Daniel was familiar with Jeremiah’s prophecies in chapter 27:“And now have I given all these lands unto the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant; and the beasts of the field have I given him also to serve him. And all nations shall serve him, and his son, and his son’s son, until the very time of his land come: and then many nations and great kings shall serve themselves of him.” (Jer 27:6-7) This is another remarkable prophecy that accurately foretells that after Nebuchadnezzar (whom God calls ‘My servant’), his son [Evil-Marduk] and then his grandson [Belshazzar] will rule Babylon until their time is up. As for Daniel’s thoughts, if God had raised up Nebuchadnezzar for a purpose (that of bringing judgment on the house of Judah), what was to happen to him now? No wonder Daniel was ‘astonied’ [astonished, dazed]. And then there is the question of how exactly do you break this information/news to the king?

This hour must have been one of the longest of Nebuchadnezzar’s life; eventually he says to Daniel ‘Don’t let the dream trouble you (as well)’. If Daniel is troubled this is not good. Finally Daniel says in effect ‘If only this dream were about your enemies; but alas…it is about the king himself.

Daniel 4:20-22

20 The tree that thou sawest, which grew, and was strong, whose height reached unto the heaven, and the sight thereof to all the earth;

21 Whose leaves were fair, and the fruit thereof much, and in it was meat for all; under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and upon whose branches the fowls of the heaven had their habitation:

22 It is thou, O king, that art grown and become strong: for thy greatness is grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and thy dominion to the end of the earth.

Thus what Nebuchadnezzar probably feared is confirmed, he is the tree. After all some time earlier he was the head of a huge statue, why not also the tree? It is the next bit that is of most concern to both Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar…

Daniel 4:23

And whereas the king saw a watcher and an holy one coming down from heaven, and saying, Cut the tree down, and destroy it; yet leave the stump of the roots thereof in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him;

The ‘watcher’ from the context is an angel who comes down from the Holy One in Heaven. The important points in this verse are that the tree is to be cut down but the root is to remain. However the root or base of the tree stump is to be bound with iron and brass. (JIV) At the beginning of the verse the vocabulary refers to ‘it’ i.e. an impersonal pronoun, but by the end of the sentence the vocabulary changes to use the personal pronoun ‘his/him’. Thus this verse could be seen to have a double reference; firstly to king Nebuchadnezzar who is already identified as the tree in verse 22; and secondly the reference may be to Nebuchadnezzar’s dominion i.e. the kingdom of Babylon; will it rise again?

The reference to seven times is seen by most Bible commentators to represent seven years. In Daniel 7:25 and Rev 12:14 we read of time (singular) times (plural) and half a time. From the context we understand that this is referring to three and a half years (specifically the last three and a half years of the Tribulation), where time = 1 year, times = 2 years and half a time = 6 months. Thus Daniel is saying that Nebuchadnezzar is going to be cut down for seven years, during which time he will be covered with the dew and have his portion [food] with the beasts of the field. Some translations use the word “seasons.” This would mean the time of Neb’s insanity would be 7 seasons; i.e. 1 ¾ years. By traditional measures.

Is there a problem with their ‘seasons’ theory? YUP! The Babylonians only counted summer and winter as seasons. This would make 7 seasons or 3 ½ years. 3 summers and 3 winters PLUS one additional summer or winter seasons. I write (teach) but YOU Decide.

Daniel 4:24

This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High, which is come upon my lord the king:

King Nebuchadnezzar was all too familiar with issuing decrees; now one had been issued against him by the highest authority that there is – the Most High God and he knew it. This had to be stunning to him. He was the supreme and is now discovering he isn’t. “The most HIGH…” Daniel calls recognition to God; not the gods of Babylon.

Daniel 4:25

That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Daniel explains to the king exactly what will happen to him, how he will be humbled until (whenever you see an ‘until’ in the Bible take note!), [until] he finally realizes that it is the most High who rules in the kingdom of men, and He will give it to whomsoever He chooses. This is the third time this lesson had been taught to the king (two warnings and then this pronounced judgment – see Daniel 2:37-38 & Daniel 3:28-29), on the previous two occasions he completely missed the point – this time he will finally get it.


Daniel 4:26

And whereas they commanded to leave the stump of the tree roots; thy kingdom shall be sure unto thee, after that thou shalt have known that the heavens do rule.

Throughout this period Nebuchadnezzar did not lose his throne, an incredible fact in itself. And yes, he will learn his lesson this time. The obvious but not addressed is who is the “THEY”? What is even more amazing, he Nebuchadnezzar continued as usual for another 12 months.

We have free will but God has more than one option to convince us of something. This does not mean we will finally do it God’s way but it does show a merciful God who offers many chances or opportunities.

Daniel 4:27

Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquility.

Here Daniel pleads with the king to repent of his pride and iniquities in the hope that these events will be postponed or not occur. There was no immediate consequence to Daniel’s prophecy of 7 years. This gave the king plenty of time to forget what had been told him; perhaps even the dream itself. This is far too often the case with new Christians. Once a new born Christian prays for forgiveness, some wain in their initial joy. Psalms 51:12: King David pleads for exactly the same thing; a return to his initial joy in God.

Daniel 4:28

All this came upon the king Nebuchadnezzar.

…however, as king Neb himself records here, all this happened as Daniel had interpreted. Recall that this review of Nebuchadnezzar’s life and struggle with the One God is recorded by Daniel but from the mouth of Neb himself.

Daniel 4:29

At the end of twelve months he walked in the palace of the kingdom of Babylon.

We know from 2 Peter 3:9 that God is longsuffering toward us; here we find that God gave Nebuchadnezzar a year to repent, but as Jeremiah records in 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” So one evening the king is out for a stroll looking at his kingdom and feeling invincible…

Daniel 4:30

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 honor of my majesty?

Oops! Proverbs 6:16-19 says: “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Notice what is top of the list? A proud or haughty look; the look at the “me syndrome.”

Again we read: “Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.” (Proverbs 16:5) “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18) “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but shall uphold the humble in spirit” (Proverbs 29:23)

In a nutshell, God hates pride. Pride was the sin of Satan (1 Timothy 3:6 see also Isaiah 14:13-15 & Ezekiel 28:14-17). Both James and Peter tell us that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. It is not wise to put one’s self in a position where God is resisting you ‘cuz you ain’t gonna’ win!

Daniel 4:31

While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is [now] departed from thee.

The terror of this is almost unimaginable. However God through Daniel and a dream had warned him of this judgment a year before, so the king was without excuse. The same is true for the people in this world; God has given ample warning through His two witnesses; the law and the prophets (also see Luke 16:31) and has foretold the coming judgment ‘so they are without excuse’. Revelation 11 also warns of a time two witnesses in Jerusalem will preach 24/7 for three and a half years about turning to God and away from the antichrist.

The speed which this judgment fell should be a wake-up call for anyone ‘dabbling’ in sin.

Daniel Article #17

CHAPTER 4
Daniel 4:1

Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.

The first thing to note is that it appears that it is Nebuchadnezzar who is now doing the writing! It is the ONLY chapter of the Bible written by a Gentile king; be it by his hand or the hand of Daniel we do not know. It may have only been a decree that Daniel is quoting verbatim, but Nebuchadnezzar’s words.

Daniel 4:2

I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.

Something has obviously changed in this man’s life – “What about the life that’s showing I’m undergoing the change?” – Steven Curtis Chapman.

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs! How mighty are his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion is from generation to generation.

This is being said by the most powerful ruler on the earth at that time! What a contrast to chapter 3 where Neb’s image of gold suggested that his was an everlasting kingdom; a total misunderstanding of his previous dream as interpreted by Daniel of a statue of gold, silver, bronze, iron and iron with clay mix. This most likely is written by the hand of Daniel by translating what Nebuchadnezzar says in the aftermath of these events.

Daniel 4:4

I Nebuchadnezzar was at rest in mine house, and flourishing in my palace:

On the surface he was flourishing – like so many in this world, thinking that they have it all, not aware that it can all disappear like that.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, the ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within himself, saying, what shall I do, because I have no room where to store my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee. Then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:16-21; Matthew 6:19-21)

How challenging is Daniel 4:4 when compared to Luke 12:16-21. What does it mean to “lay up treasures? It does not mean to be foolish and squander. It does not mean to be fruitful. It does not mean to preserve for today but it does mean the future is not in one’s possessions.

Daniel 4:5

I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts upon my bed and the visions of my head troubled me.

God has a way of getting our attention. Even the hardest, most unreachable people in our eyes are never beyond the reach of God. I suspect that Daniel had been praying for his king and friend for some time, believing that God was able to get through to him. If there is no god why do so many atheist, agnostics, cynics, and politically correct societies spend so much time trying to disprove him by their statements, actions, writings, and positions?

Daniel 4:6

Therefore made I a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known unto me the interpretation of the dream.

Daniel was well known to the king by now, so why not just call him? I think that Neb realized this dream was not good and wanted to hear a sugar coated interpretation rather than the truth. We see exactly the same with Ahab, king of Israel in 1 Kings 22:6-8 “Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said unto them, Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. And Jehoshaphat

said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides these 400 men, that we might inquire of him? And the king of Israel said unto Jehoshaphat (King of Judah), There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may inquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil.” So the reason that Ahab didn’t ask is basically because he told the truth – and sometimes the truth is hard to take! I think that is why king Nebuchadnezzar didn’t first call Daniel.

This is why we often go to the wrong places for advice or sympathy. The “Oh woe is me” syndrome, but don’t tell me it is my fault. Just give me some more of my self!

Daniel 4:7

Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof.

This tells a story! In chapter two the Chaldeans were straight with their ‘dummies guide to interpreting dreams’. This is what they were famous for as we mentioned in chapter two. And this time the king even tells them the dream so it should be easy for them – but then again, they have had their fingers burnt by a certain Daniel too many times by now; even if they did interpret the dream, Daniel was bound to come along and tell them they’d got it wrong! They just were not going to take that chance. Notice they ‘did not make known’ not ‘were not able’. It appears that they didn’t even try!

Daniel 4:8

But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,

So finally king Neb gives up and accepts the inevitable. But who does Neb say came in? Aha moment – DANIEL! – that is his Hebrew name, yet king Neb chooses to use this in telling us the history of these events, adding his Babylonian name just in case anyone else didn’t know who Daniel was. How amazing that after all this time in Babylon (Daniel would have been about 50 years old by now), with so much pressure to blend into their culture (when in Rome do as they do ‘syndrome’) that Daniel retains his Jewish identity and the name that glorifies his God. But also not that Nebuchadnezzar still confesses his god by saying “according to the name of my god”; not the God with whom by now he was well aware.

Daniel 4:9

O Belteshazzar, master of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in thee, and no secret troubleth thee, tell me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and the interpretation thereof. Neb still gave credit to his gods…

This is an interesting verse because Nebuchadnezzar informs us that Daniel is ‘chief of the Magi’. Now the Magi [Bethlehem? Christmas Maji?] were essentially a Persian religious sect specializing in the mystical; so what was Daniel doing in charge of them? The Magi are a tribe that settled in Mede to the east of Babylon; i.e. Medo-Persia.

We will find out in chapter 6 that it was not something that was happily accepted by some of his contemporaries; but it appears that Daniel had converted this group (Tribe of the Magi) and told them about the prophecies regarding the coming Jewish Messiah. How do we know this? Because just over 500 years later, a group of these Magi travelled for miles across the middle eastern deserts to Israel to celebrate the birth of a baby that had been born King of the Jews! These Magi didn’t go to the stable but to Joseph and Mary’s house in Nazareth – we have been duped by tradition into thinking that there were 3 wise men, or 3 kings and they went to the stable. Wrong, Wrong, Wrong! [Mark 7:13].

Also in this verse we have confirmed that king Neb knew that Daniel could and would be able to interpret the dream. What a testimony Daniel has: ‘no secret troubleth thee’, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (Isaiah 26:3)

The Dream – Daniel 4:10-17

10 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.

11 The tree grew, and was strong, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth:

12 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.

13 I saw in the visions of my head upon my bed, and, behold, a watcher and an holy one came down from heaven;

14 He cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree, and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:

15 Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:

16 Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.

17 This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.

Daniel 4:18

This dream I king Nebuchadnezzar have seen. Now thou, O Belteshazzar, declare the interpretation thereof, forasmuch as all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known unto me the interpretation: but thou art able; for the spirit of the holy gods is in thee.

So Nebuchadnezzar asks Daniel to interpret the dream to him, and reiterates that the best of Babylon were unable to answer. It is interesting to note that even before Daniel has spoken on this occasion, Nebuchadnezzar concedes that ‘the spirit of the holy gods’ is in Daniel. Obviously he remembers the events of chapter two but has forgotten or refuses to admit he acknowledge “the God of Daniel”.

Article #16 in our Daniel series

Daniel 3:26

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

King Neb gets as close as he can and spoke – not shouted ! ‘Hey guys, why don’t you come on out?’ All the people who had gathered on the plain of Dura are now watching something completely different than they were expecting to watch – yet this was what God had gathered them all there to see. Nebuchadnezzar thought they were gathered to worship him, but God had a different idea!

KING NEB

We have to wonder if Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego just delayed coming out for a little while. After all, how many times do you find yourself standing around talking to the Son of God in the midst of a furnace. There is a reality here also, that other people may look in at us in the midst of our time of tribulation and see that we are ‘not harmed’ by the flames. They may observe the peace and comfort we have in our suffering and wonder how we are able to cope. But as surely as He did with these three Godly men, God will bring us out of the furnace to glorify His name or take us home. Paul…”for me to live is Christ but to die is [my] gain.”

In verse 15 Nebuchadnezzar boasted: ‘and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’ yet now, somewhat swayed by recent events, says: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God. Slowly king Nebuchadnezzar is getting the picture, but as we will see in chapter 4, he still has some way to go! God is molding Neb into “his servant.”

But what a testimony to these young men, that because of their faith and trust in God, the most powerful ruler on the face of the earth declares that their God is the Most High God!

Only three come out of the furnace. Where’s the forth one? He stays in there waiting for you, so that you know that when you find yourself in the furnace, He will be with you.

ALWAYS

I will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb 13:5)… but, might we opt to leave Him?

Daniel 3:27

And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counselors, 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. God’s deliverance is complete – not even the smell of smoke!

We think so small yet our God is so big. Oswald Chambers, commenting on the occasion when Peter walked on the water to meet Jesus says: The wind was actually boisterous, the waves were actually high, but Peter did not see them at first. He did not reckon with them, he simply recognized his Lord, and stepped out in recognition of Him and walked on the water. Then he began to reckon with the actual things, and down he went instantly. Why could not our Lord have enabled him to walk at the bottom of the waves as well as on the top of them? Neither could be done saving by recognition of the Lord Jesus. We step right out in God over some things, then self-consideration enters in and down we go. If we are recognizing our Lord, we have no business with where He engineers your circumstances. The actual things are, but immediately we look at them and are overwhelmed. We cannot recognize Jesus, and the rebuke comes: Wherefore didst thou doubt?” Let actual circumstances be what they may, keep recognizing Jesus, maintain complete reliance on Him.

Daniel 3:28

Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, 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.

Peter & Paul both taught that we should obey the government, yet they were both put to death in Rome for civil disobedience. In Acts 5 Peter and the Apostles openly defy the Jewish leaders and kept publicly preaching in the name of Jesus despite being warned not to. In 1 Peter 2:13-14 Peter says: “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.” So how are we to understand this? Quite simply, we should obey and submit ourselves to every law of man unless it contradicts the higher law of God. Peter himself confirmed this in Acts 5::29“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did just that here, and what do we find? The unbreakable and eternal law of God (Exodus 20:3-5) has caused the fallible word of the king to be changed!

Daniel 3:29

Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, 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. We should note that “everyone who” included the King, but he means everyone but him. He still hasn’t quite got it! He recognized that God can interpret dreams, now he recognizes that God can deliver; but he still has not understood that God is in complete control – it is He alone that rules in the kingdoms of men. At this stage he is really impressed with the signs and wonders (like so many in the church today) but has not truly sought after the source of those things.

Daniel 3:30

Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon. “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

One should ask; why did Neb promote these men? Was it there deeds or was it to excuse himself from his dastardly deed of the furnace and his self-exaltations? We find soon that he himself has not relented to God’s will.

Book of Daniel -Chapter 15

Book of Daniel – Article #15
(continuation of the historical fiery furnace incident in Daniel)

Recall in our previous article (#14) we ended with the well-known story behind the writing of “It Is Well, With My Soul.” Even though Horatio Spafford had lost his family at sea, he clung to the prevailing hope in his and hopefully YOUR Savior. He went to sea and was informed by the skipper of the ship he was on at the latitude and longitude in the Atlantic where he lost his family when their ship sank after colliding with another ship, the Loch Earn. Well, things are not going too well for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. BUT….their confidence in God does not waiver.

Daniel 3:19

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

FURY

It is only now do we read that Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury and his continence changes. Prior to this point he likely wanted to see these men escape from this. They were high officials within his administration. But now he really is cross and any compassion gives way to rage. He had total authority. None like him on earth. He could afford to lose three of his top administrators better than losing his control over the people and his kingdom.

Furnace heated 7 times greater- interesting!

Daniel 3:20

And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

At this point we know the facts and are expectantly awaiting for the victory. However Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego did not; they must have thought that this is it! Maybe God wasn’t going to deliver them, maybe their lives were to be ended at this point. They may have been aware of the history of Job who said in faith: “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:” (Job 13:15) Later in the book of Romans Paul was to say: “For me to die is gain but to live is Christ (Philippians 1:21).

This was a demonstration of total confidence in God. They said that even if their God does not rescue them., they will NOT compromise their faith in the God of Israel. Like David facing Goliath; he did not hesitate and in fact, charged into the face of danger and the threat to his people even though he was but a young lad.

If God needs to knock off of us some rough edges He is doing it out of love and compassion. Yes, these things can be painful at the time. Consider Mary and Martha: Jesus let their brother (Lazarus) die, not just so He could do a miracle (John 11:40), but so that they would believe in Jesus and therefore they themselves would never die (John 11:25) – an infinitely greater gift than seeing their brother raised, but they didn’t understand at that time.

(Daniel 3:20 continued) In Hebrews we read: “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when you art rebuked by him: For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and challenges every son whom he receives. If ye endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father refuses to chasten? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seems to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby”. (Hebrew 12:5-11).

Even Jesus said: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) so we should expect ‘tribulation’ from the world and chastening from the hand of God. It is the former that is the case with these three men, but like Peter and the apostles in Acts 5: “…and when they (Sanhedrin) had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.” (Acts 5:40-41)), Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego counted it an honor to stand for the name of the Most High God, for He alone is the One who rules in the kingdoms and nations of men. Vengeance will be mine says the Lord God (Romans 12:19).

When a metal smith is refining gold in a refining pot, he keeps skimming off the dross (the impurities) that are brought to the surface by the heat. The way of knowing when it is pure is when he can look into the pot and see an unblemished refection. We are the pot of gold. He is the Refiner. The scum on the top is impurity needing to be removed.

Daniel 3:21

Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and are cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Usually victims were stripped to humiliate them, yet here the king is so cross he just wants them thrown in.

Hosen = undergarments, Hats = a turban of some description; other garments = robes of office; coats = usual outer garments. In a WWII sense, and an eerie parallel- Hitler’s final solution to the “Jewish” problem. We could also discuss that the Swastika was originally a Jewish religious symbol, but not in this article. It would be a distraction even though fascinating.

Daniel 3:22

Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire destroyed those “mighty men” men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

This gives us an idea just how hot this furnace may have been and they were not even in the furnace; just next to it. From the furnaces that have been found in this region, it may mean that the opening was at the top with a casting window or windows to the side. The intense heat was just too much for these mighty men who were overcome by the flames. The argument against this thought may be verse 26 when the king “comes near to the mouth of the furnace.” At least close enough to get a better view.

Daniel 3:23

And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down (nef-al’) bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

This verse could lend support to the idea that the opening was at the top. Nef-al’ according to Strong’s translation may also mean they “bent the knees” as in realizing the heat did not affect them and the bended knee was in honor and respect for the God who had already saved them.

Daniel 3:24

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spoke saying unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

The word ‘Astonished’ is ‘tevah’ in Aramaic. It conveys the idea of ‘sweeping to ruin’, to ‘take alarm’, utter helplessness. We might say that the rug was pulled from under him, that he was well and truly knocked sideways! The answer from his counselors would suggest that they were looking the other way and were not seeing what the king was. Imagine their surprise when the king then says…

Daniel 3:25

He answered and said, But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt…..

By going through this furnace the only thing that was missing was their bindings! How precious that is to us, when in our own furnaces to realize that all that gets burnt is what was binding us before we went in. To be “set free” is an excellent parallel. Galatians 5:1. In other words, the droth at the top of the potters gold purification process and that is holding us back from purity has been skimmed off.

…..and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God

The Aramaic actually says ‘the son of the gods’ – Plural. But we need to remember that the Holy Spirit is the real author of scripture. In Genesis 1:1 we read: ‘In the beginning God’ – singular, and we are comfortable with that, except the word in Hebrew is *‘Eloheim’. Whenever a Hebrew word ends with an ‘im’ ending it is plural meaning more than one (eg. Cherub – singular, Cherubim – plural). Thus Genesis 1:1 should read “In the beginning the God Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, this is the same throughout the Old Testament whenever ‘Eloheim’ is used. Yet it is always taken as singular in the Hebrew and hence it is translated so. Thus we have in the first verse of the Bible a subtle hint of the Trinity – Father, Son and Spirit. The same is also true in this verse in Daniel; what we have is what scholars call a ‘theophany’ – an Old Testament appearance of Jesus Christ. (See also Joshua 5:13-15 and compare with Exodus 3:4-6)

*Note: The Aramaic word used is equivalent of the Hebrew ‘Eloheim’ and is not the same as ‘Bar-Eloheim’ (sons of God) usually translated ‘angels’.

Rev Dr. Jstark

Article #14 of our Daniel Series

In our previous article, the three friends of Daniel had just defied the order to bow to the golden idol of Nebuchadnezzar. It was a set up from the beginning but King Neb did not know that.

Daniel 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.

Now the king had already said that whoever would not bow to the image would be thrown into the furnace, yet he calls these men before him to ask them personally. This would suggest that the king was keen to give these men a second chance. We already know from the end of chapter two that these men were in prominent governmental positions in the province of Babylon (Dan 2:49), and no doubt the king wanted to avoid having high ranking officials perform a public act of defiance against him, particularly on this day when all the people were gathered together on the plain of Dura.

Daniel 3:14

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

Neb still didn’t “get it.” The fact that the king addresses them by name and the manner in which he does so again suggests that up until this time they had had a good relationship with the king. The idea in the Aramaic is ‘did you intend to do this, was it on purpose?’ The king is hoping that it was just a misunderstanding and was not going to be something that would spoil his special day. But as we will see, these men had purposed in their hearts (also see Dan 1:8).

“Purpose is something that comes through meditation; you have to think about what you’re going to do if you face this circumstance or that circumstance. And when you are prepared and the circumstance happens, you react to that which you have meditated on. So if you meditate on that which will not be helpful, then when you are in that potentially compromising situation you will do that which you have meditated on”. (Ron Matsen)

This is precisely why we are told to be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom 12:12), and to ‘think on these things’ (see Philippians 4:8), setting our affection on the things above (Col 3:2). When we think on these things there is no room for other distractions or actions.

Daniel 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?

So the king reiterates the decree and offers them a way out of this situation… a second chance. How many of us would have had second thoughts at this time? After all, to be given a second chance may be God providing a way of escape. How easy it would have been to rationalize that Idols are not real gods; surely it would have been better to give in to king Neb’s command and ‘live to fight another day’? Would bowing be such a bad thing if we didn’t mean it in our hearts?

What about us? Us being those religious crowds in church. Often we sing our songs in church on Sunday about being completely abandoned, surrendering all, serving God with a whole heart etc. etc. yet on Monday when we are asked questions by the world, how do we answer? Do our lives demonstrate fruit ‘worthy of repentance’ (Luke 3:8)? We have all been there, backed into a corner with no apparent way out. We start to reason to ourselves: “It’s not really lying, the truth would do more harm than good”; “it’s not really theft, just ‘borrowing’”; “It’s not really wrong, it’s just… (fill in the blank)”; it’s not really worshipping an idol to bow down and pretend…is it? Even when quoting the Lord’s Prayer in unison, it includes those who have no forgiveness of heart and those who have not Jesus in thought, but themselves quoting a prayer for unsound religious activity. “Forgive us (me) our sin Lord just like the person sitting next to me does.”

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusts in them. O Israel, trust thou in the LORD: he is their help and their shield” (Psalm 115:4-9)


Of course we know that bowing was not an option to these three men, nor could it be. The reputation of the God of Israel was on the line. The king’s statue was a public act of defiance against their God and the Chaldeans [religious Babylonian priests] were just waiting for them to crumble. Yet these men knew the law which clearly stated: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:3-6)

“Every day God will find a way of asking you ‘Do you trust Me?” Chuck Missler

In scripture, those who have made great professions of faith have often had that profession tested to a breaking point. It is the heating up and subsequent hammering of steel that gives it its strength; molded by God’s Spirit. A true example of Christianity.

The king asks: ‘and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’ Great question O’ king! Hmmmmn? “He who seeks finds”! (Luke 11:10)

Daniel 3:16

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

The Aramaic word that the KJV translates as ‘careful’ is ‘chashach’ (khash-akh’) meaning to ‘have need of’. In other words they were saying to the king ‘we have no need to answer you, we are not accountable to you but to God’. It also implies that they were not anxious about this situation. It also may mean they were not defending their action; they could side-step it all. They ultimately answer to God, not Nebuchadnezzar. Neb did not understand that.

Daniel 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.This is an incredible statement of faith that comes from a life deeply rooted in God. “Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth forever. I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me? The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.” (Psalm 118:4-9) Jesus said “fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”(Matt 10:28) Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen….(Hebrews 11)

Daniel 3:18

But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Thus they make it clear, they will not bow down to this image or worship any other foreign god. There is only one God for these men and they will not compromise regardless of the cost. Remember that these men lived before the cross and without knowing all that Jesus suffered and endured to purchase our freedom.

It is amazing the lengths that some people will go to, to worship false gods and follow false religions; all encouraged and offered up by Satan himself and our free will. All the effort that was put into making this statue, all the hours spent in rituals and practices that have no eternal value. How much more should we, who know the Truth, refuse to worship false gods, *whatever form they come in, and seek to serve our God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength?

*There are times that a denomination may become the idol. Even to the point of spiritualizing what the Word of God plainly states. Ministers defend their seminary training by arguing their religious point of view through the eyes of seminary instead of the Bible.

In World War II when the British and allied forces had been pushed back to the beaches of Dunkirk, France by the German army, being trapped by the English Channel on one side and the approaching German’s on the other, sent a simple three word message back home: “But if not”. Immediately this was recognized as being a quote from the book of Daniel and was understood to mean that the trapped British troops would wait to be saved, but if not, they would die fighting and standing up for their cause. This then led to the famous Dunkirk evacuations where hundreds of military, merchant and private fishing boats set sail across the Channel and dramatically rescued 350,000 British and allied soldiers.

It has been said that those in power in Britain understood, however if such a message were to be sent today, the soldiers would likely perish. Few know what the Bible says anymore.

In October 1871, tragedy struck Chicago as fire ravaged the city. When it was all over, 300 people were dead and 100,000 were homeless. Horatio Gates Spafford was one of those who tried to help the people of the city get back on their feet. Spafford was a lawyer who had invested much of his money into the downtown Chicago real estate and consequently had lost a great deal to the fire. Also about this time his only son had died leaving him with his wife and his four daughters. For two years Spafford, who was a friend of evangelist Dwight Moody, assisted the homeless, impoverished, and grief-stricken that had been ruined by the fire. Eventually Spafford decided to take a family vacation to Europe with the intention of meeting up with his friends Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey who at that time were on one of their evangelistic crusades.


At the last minute Horatio Spafford was delayed by some business so decided to send his family on ahead; he would catch up with them on the other side of the Atlantic. Their ship, the Ville de Havre, never made it. Off Newfoundland, it collided with another ship, the Loch Earn, and sank in a matter of minutes. Though Horatio’s wife, Anna, was able to cling to a piece of floating wreckage (one of only 47 survivors among hundreds), their four daughters, Maggie, Tanetta, Annie, and Bessie, died. Horatio received a telegram from his wife in England informing him of this terrible tragedy; all it said were two words: “saved alone.” Spafford boarded the next available ship to be near his grieving wife. As his own ship passed by the area where his daughters had died he was moved to write a song – the now famous ‘It is well with my soul’. He met up with his wife and they went on to meet up with Dwight Moody. “It is well,” Spafford told him quietly. “The will of God be done.”

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate, And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me shall roll,

No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But, Lord, ‘tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait, The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh trump of the angel! Oh voice of the Lord! Blessèd hope, blessèd rest of my soul!

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight, The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend, Even so, it is well with my soul.

It is well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Article #13 of our Daniel Series

CHAPTER 3 (article #13)
Daniel 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.

As we move into chapter 3 some scholars place these events about 15-23 years after the events of Chapter 2. Whereas in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream he saw an image made of different metals descending in value, where the head of gold represented Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, we are now presented with an image made entirely from gold. The obvious conclusion from this is that king Nebuchadnezzar has taken the greeting wherewith he is greeted ‘O king live’ (Dan 2:2:4 / 3:9) a little too far! It would appear that in erecting this image, king Nebuchadnezzar is presumptuously asserting that his kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom, seen by the fact that the whole image and not just the head are made from gold, and therefore this is really an act of defiance against the God of Heaven. As in the cartoon movie Finding Nebo it is “Mine; mine; mine!” He is trying to change the outcome of his previous dream made of Gold, silver, brass, iron, and a clay-iron mix (Daniel 2:31-35).

This chapter is very much like the events that we will study in chapter 6 where Daniel’s enemies conspired against him and duped king Darius into signing a decree that would entrap Daniel. These Babylonian-Chaldeans do connive.

It is amazing that people are so insecure and jealous of others’ achievements that they will seemingly stop at nothing to remove the competition. This is compounded when the ‘competition’ is either morally upright or just a sitting President of the United States. Those who stand for truth are seen as an irritant to a society that wants to be free from moral constraints. Jesus Himself confirmed this: If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own but because ye are not of the world…”, (John 15)

Paul reiterated this in 2 Tim 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

A cubit is the measurement from the tip of your finger to your elbow. Although this measurement varies among ancient cultures, it is usually regarded to be about 18 inches. This would make the image approximately 90ft tall, *9ft wide; a 9:1 ratio.

*about 49 square feet at the base.

The dimensions of this statue are more like the Obelisks of Egypt, and it may well have been that on one of his expeditions Nebuchadnezzar would have seen these erected to immortalize Egyptian Pharaohs and deities and thus became part of the inspiration for him wanting to build one himself. However, unlike an Obelisk, this was an image of a man.

JIV NOTE: Archaeologists have unearthed a 45ft square & 20ft high ‘base’ in the plain of Dura which many now believe could have been the base for this image, and would have been clearly visible from the walls of Babylon.

It is not out of the question that this statue was of solid gold. Archaeologists have also discovered a 40’ table in the ruins of ancient Babylon made from solid gold and 15’ high solid gold statues were found in the Temple of Murdoch; billions of dollars in gold.

Daniel 3:2

Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Inside info: Sheriff in Chaldean is tiphday meaning lawyers; the legal system.

The king is obviously impressed with his creation. He calls for all the leaders and chief people of the land to come giving their wide eyed appreciation. There were about between 100 and 120 provinces in Babylon at this time meaning that anywhere from 200,000 to 300,000 people could have gathered for this ‘grand unveiling’. From the end of chapter two we know that Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego as they may be better known) were promoted to oversee the affairs of the province of Babylon, hence the reason they were invited. Daniel on the other hand we are told was “ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon”. Thus it would appear that Daniel was second only to the king. If this is so and Daniel has so much influence before the king, then why, we may ask, did Daniel not object to this gross act of idolatry? And why does Daniel not appear to attend this event? These are questions that we will return to later in our study.

Daniel 3:3

Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs (judicial system), 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.

The fact that we have the same phrase repeated here suggests that Daniel is recording this event, by copying the decree that had been written by the king (or maybe a decree that was written for the king!).

Daniel 3:4

Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, Notice that this is a command from the king and to people, nations and languages – this is a diverse and mixed crowd from the known and Babylonian conquered world.

Daniel 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:

Six instruments mentioned – the number of man (6). Hmmmm?

Music and idolatry have long been close companions. Even today in church ‘worship groups’ it is so easy to put the focus on the music rather than the God whom we are supposed to be worshipping. Even some of the music in today’s churches (buildings) has a catchy tune but deliberate lyrics with no mention of God, salvation, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. These are NOT worship songs of God.

Much of the root of this problem is that Satan appears to have been the worship leader in heaven; heading up the praise team (see Ezekiel 28:13-15). It would seem that he has a great understanding of how powerful and manipulative music can be. Music is a gift from God and is intended to accompany our praise to Him (as even a casual reading of the book of Psalms can confirm), yet in the wrong hands, it can be used for evil with devastating results. Consider the lust, violence and immorality that are communicated to young people through music. Satan always distorts what God has made good. Satan also has a fake copy of everything Jesus represents. Even back yard gardens have fake plants mixed in with the good plants.

From what we know of history, the Babylonians had a love for music. This is prophetically seen in Psalm 137:1-4: “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion. How shall we sing the LORD’s song in a strange land?” Odd that today we do that in churches. But, it is better said that we sing a strange song in God’s land.

Daniel 3:6

And whoso falls not down and worships shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Two things are out on the plain of Dura; the Image and a fiery furnace. The furnace may have been built for the sole purpose of melting and molding the gold for the statue.

Daniel 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.

…that is, all except three men who stood out like a sore thumb! Where Daniel was at this moment is unknown. The many nations mentioned are those who were in Babylon perhaps as ambassadors, visitors, or conquered captives.

Daniel 3:8

Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

Notice that it’s the Chaldeans again who had been humbled in chapter 2. The meaning of accused is literally: ‘chewed them up’ by their words. Oddly, the tens of thousands of captive Jews in Babylon deserted their God for Babylon’s god-king. All but these three stood for and by their faith. Might this be an example of End Time so-called church believers? I suggest YES.

Daniel 3:9

They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever. This is the greeting that the king wants to hear. In another sense, may your power exist forever. After all, is this not the intent of the gold statue?

Daniel 3:10-11

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:

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

The fact they repeat to the king his decree leads some to conclude that they were the ones who had been responsible for getting the king to write this decree in the first place as a way of trapping these Jews. As we will mention and will again later, Daniel is not present at this time, and it may well be that, knowing Daniel was away on business, they seized this opportunity to entrap his friends. If given the probability that this is some time after chapter two, they may well have been plotting and planning this event for years. It had to take a good deal of time to simply build the image.

PS; Furnace is mentioned 30 times in the Bible (KJV), and always in connection with tribulation and/or judgment.

Daniel 3:12

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

Archaeological discovery. One such example is in regard to Daniel’s three friends. An archaeological dig in the area of ancient Babylon unearthed a five sided clay cylinder now in the Istanbul museum with the names: Hananunu – which is the Aramaic for Hananiah, Mishael-Mardach – obviously a reference to Mishael, and Abou-Nebo, the Aramaic for Abed-nego; these men are mentioned on the cylinder as having a prominent place in the government, thus clearly identifying these men as Daniel’s three friends as recorded in the Bible.

They are accused not just for refusing to bow today, but for not worshipping Nebuchadnezzar’s gods in the past – which the Chaldeans suggest is defying the king himself. This was not an impulse thing for these three men, but a predetermined purposing of heart that was made from the moment they got to Babylon – they will not be defiled! Other Jews of captivity may have also refused but were not the target of these evil men of Babylon.

Again, at the rapture of the church will there still be churches (denominations) with full houses? This is not a possibility but a probability. The church of Jesus according to Ephesians 4:5 and 6 is not a religion or a denomination. Denominations separate. They do not unite as that would demand political-religious compromise and correctness according to man’s law and standard.

Article #12 of our Daniel Series

 Daniel and possibly his three compatriot Hebrew buddies were standing in front of the King of Babylon. They are about to interpret the dream the king had that bothered him very much…about the future.

The Dream – Daniel 2:31-35

31 Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

32 This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

33 His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

34 Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

35 Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Daniel 2:36

This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Notice that Daniel says WE will tell once again including his three friends. This verse even suggests that they came with Daniel to tell the king of his dream.

The Interpretation – Daniel 2:37-38

37 Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

38 And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

As we mentioned earlier, no subsequent king had the absolute power of Nebuchadnezzar. Other empires may have exceeded Nebuchadnezzar’s in physical size, but not in absolute authority.

Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream is shown pictorially on the following page.

The Babylonian Empire is shown to the left and the conquering Persians to the right (below).

Daniel 2:39

And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

The detail and accuracy of this prophecy is a thorn in the flesh to critics; for after Babylon (that had much gold), another kingdom did arise, but not with the absolute power of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar. In 539 B.C. Cyrus of Medo-Persia conquered Babylon (without a battle! – see our coming article on Chapter 5). Cyrus was part Median and part Persian and so united the two factions into the great Medo-Persian Empire. Silver coinage became the currency of the empire. After the Medo-Persian Empire, history confirms that a third kingdom, wielding brass shields and swords, with stunning speed conquered the Persians and went on to take the known world. It is recorded that Alexander at only 30 or so years of age wept because there were no more lands to be conquered. After Alexander’s death around age 32 the Greek Empire was ultimately divided between his four generals, but it never had the same power as it did under Alexander. Eventually the Greek Empire fell to a fourth empire. 

Daniel 2:40

And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. Now we move onto the ‘iron’ nation that breaks into pieces and subdues all things. Even those with a basic grasp of history will be familiar with the empire that succeeded the Greeks; Rome. Whereas the previous empires took the best of the cultures and nations they were conquering, leaving much intact, Rome did not. The Roman Empire seemed to thrive on what it could destroy. It really did break into pieces and subdue all things. NOTE: Tradition/history has it that when the Romans came to town, they crucified the first 5 or 6 people they encountered. This went a long way toward discouraging ANY rebellion, even if none was in the plans of the conquered villages and cities. Crucifixion was common practice with the Romans.

I personally cannot but wonder if Proverbs 27:17 may have implications during this iron age and the future yet not played out. Proverbs 27:17 reads…

Iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Did this iron period of Rome in fact sharpen the future Holy Roman Empire; the empire of the antichrist?

Article #11 in our Daniel Series

Daniel 2:41

And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

Unlike the previous empires, Rome was never defeated. It divided into the eastern and western ‘legs’ with the eastern leg [Byzantine] outlasting the western portion by about 1000 years). Since the demise of the western portion, parts that made up the old empire have had their day at ruling; The Ottoman Turks, the French under Napoleon, The Germans, the Dutch, the Spanish and of course, the British Empire. Even America (USA) was founded by people from the old Roman Empire. As we come to this verse we are told of a phase of the (Holy) Roman Empire of which our secular history knows nothing. It is reasonable to conclude that it is yet to come, something that is confirmed in subsequent verses and chapters of this book. We are told this final phase of the Holy Roman Empire will consist of feet and toes, partly potters clay and partly iron – not a good mixture for these two will not stick together. This kingdom will be divided, yet there will be the strength of iron in it. The Antichrist will NOT unite but will divide. There will always be deserters.

Daniel 2:42

And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

This verse hints at the strong part of this kingdom ruling over the ‘partly broken’. This easily fits the era of Antichrist. More on this as we get to chapter 11; Daniel’s view of a future yet to become history.

Daniel 2:43

And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

It is easy to just read over this verse and continue with the interpretation; however, if we read carefully there is a strange remark. We are told that, just as iron was mixed with miry clay in the vision, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men. Who are the ‘they’? From the context, and the fact that they mix themselves with the seed of men, would seem to exclude them from being the seed of men themselves. Chuck Missler (among others) sees this as an allusion to the Nephilim (offspring of fallen angels?). The first mention of these beings is in Genesis 6, the flood came to wipe them out, but we read they still existed (DNA) after the flood (Gen 6:4) only to be finished off by Joshua and then finally by David (remember Goliath & his brothers?). However Jesus said: “as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man” (Luke 17:26). Might it be that the Nephilim (offspring) of fallen angels are set to make a return as part of a major End Time? Perhaps this may be the fallen angels themselves and their offspring. (For more on this subject see ‘Alien Encounters’ by Dr Chuck Missler & Dr Mark Eastman.

Daniel 2:44

And in the days of these [future] kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

This verse confirms that the final phase of the Roman Empire is a future not yet lived out, for ‘in the days of these kings….”. The simple fact that these kings have not yet reigned and from the context it is clear that they must reign – nor have they been destroyed, nor has the God of heaven set up a world government (which is the whole subject of the dream), shows that this is yet to be fulfilled. But when it is fulfilled it will be the end of man’s rule and the beginning of God’s eternal kingdom that will stand. 1,000 years later it is the Great White Throne Judgement and eternity for all will be in one of two places. None will be left in the grave.

Daniel 2:45

Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

JIV NOTE: Jesus Christ calls himself the “CORNER STONE.” [Ephesians 2:19-22] “the stone cut out of the mountains without human hands”

There are those who would try to suggest that all prophecy has been fulfilled, and that Christ’s kingdom was established at His first coming in and through the church. Furthermore, it is proposed that the church is now to fill the earth and subdue it in the name of Christ; but this seems to be faltering if not coming to a stop. Churches have rituals, liturgies, routines, and a bulletin but the Holy Spirit is often missing. Today’s church is fill with unequally yoked memberships.

One of the underlying points is a non-literal interpretation of scripture, particularly in regard to prophecy. The emphasis is on getting people into the church (nothing wrong with that on the surface) but at the expense of watering down the word of God so as not to be ‘offensive’ (and there we have a two-fold and real problem – to present a sinner with a gospel that says he is a sinner on his way to hell unless he repents and puts his trust in Jesus, is always going to be offensive until such a person is brought under conviction by the law – see Psalm 19:7 / Rom 7:7 / Gal 3:24). By watering down the gospel message and not presenting the law, the modern church becomes nothing more than a caring social club. A group that will yield to popular opinion, and political correctness every time. The church today is a mix of unequally yoked people; some believers, some just religious, and some unsaved or members of the “praise team” musical talent. How does the Book of Acts play out today if and when the worship service is unequally yoked worshipers?

As even a casual reading of this chapter (and these last few verses in particular) will show, this simply cannot be, because the church is not a political kingdom but it has been made just that. The kingdom that God establishes here will be a Theocracy. The fact that the church exists alongside political ‘kingdoms’ in the world today shows that the church is not the stone cut without hands, for once that stone smites the feet of the image, it all comes crumbling down and there will be no more opposition. The fact that the church has opposition in this order of things shows that it cannot be the kingdom that Daniel sees in his vision. It is also clear that the stone that is cut from the mountain is done so without hands, i.e. supernaturally. Jesus Christ our Rock! (See 1 Corinthians 10:4; Deut. 32:4; 2 Sam 22:2; Ps 18:31; Is 51:1; Matt 16:18; Acts 4:11; Matt 21:42-44; 1 Peter 2:8)

Psalm 2 – Jesus will rule the nations with a rod of iron – this hasn’t happened yet! We are too busy today claiming His love and ignoring his justness. We miss or ignore the full meaning of God’s Love. It also means He loves JUSTICE.

Daniel 2:46

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors unto him.

Nebuchadnezzar makes the classic mistake of worshiping the instrument and not the source. Daniel had already made the point that it was not because of his ability, but rather it was because of the God of heaven that he was able to interpret the king’s dream.

Daniel 2:47

The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

Neb didn’t get it! The dream wasn’t to show Nebuchadnezzar that God can reveal and interpret dreams, but to show him that it is God who rules in the kingdoms of men. It is He who puts one down and raises another up,“he removeth kings, and setteth up kings” (Dan 2:21). As Jesus said to Pilate:“Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above” (John 19:11).

Nebuchadnezzar will get another warning that it is God and not him that is running the show, but as we will see in chapter 5, he once again misses the point and is humbled before God and man in dramatic fashion! Keep in mind Jeremiah 33:10…”God says, I will send for my servant Nebuchadnezzar…”Also keep on mind that God influences but does not interfere with Free Will.

Daniel 2:48-49

48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

So Daniel is promoted and ensures that his friends are too. As a result of these four Jewish young men the wise men of Babylon were spared from being cut in pieces and their houses being made a dunghill. Were they grateful? The answer is an emphatic NO! In fact as we move into chapter three we will find these wise men conspiring against Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-nego) and trying to get them killed. Their principle motivation; jealousy. After all they represented the greatest minds in the kingdom but had been made to look foolish by four teenage Hebrew slaves.