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I am me but am concerned about YOUR eternity. If you don't buy into such religious underpinnings, that is called a choice. If I am wrong, I end up just as you hope will happen to you. If you are wrong, we end up in very different places. You guess which one is playing it safe.

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.

Article #10 of Daniel Series

We left our previous article [#9] questioning if Daniel might have doubted if God would answer his prayer and give him insight as to Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. Note…he didn’t quote the Lord’s Prayer. Matthew gives specific instructions about our prayer life but that book wouldn’t be written for another 550 plus years. He did however go into his prayer closet and pray from the heart; not from a quote or tradition.

Daniel 2:20-23

20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

21 And he changed the times and the seasons: he removed kings, and sett up kings: he gives wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

22 He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him.

23 I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter.

Oswald Chambers once said: “If God is the God we know Him to be when we are closest to Him, what an impertinence worry is”. The God that Daniel is thanking here is our God; He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. That means that the next time one is in a difficult situation, the God of Daniel is ready to take our call!

Philippians 4:6 states  “Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns.” This is a New Testament quote but Daniel practiced it hundreds of years before the New Testament was even written.

Daniel 2:24

Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show unto the king the interpretation.

Daniel could have used this as an opportunity to get rid of all these other ‘wise men’, yet he says ‘destroy not’. Daniel no doubt saw this as an occasion to witness to them also, showing that, despite their fancy Babylonian names, there is just one God who reigns. The sad side to this in modern times is, there are many sitting in the pews today who build their hope and salvation upon a Daniel prayer of being saved due to someone else’s life in Christ. Perhaps these church attenders without Christ feel they will be caught up in the rapture by credit given for church attendance. This is a fatal and flawed thought.

Daniel 2:25

Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

Arioch is typical of your bureaucratic professional type. Notice how he seems to take credit for solving the king’s problems! It is Arioch who claims to find the solution in another man’s abilities. Arioch didn’t find Daniel. Daniel found him.

Daniel 2:26-27

26 The king answered and said to Daniel, [whose name was Belteshazzar,] Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, ‘The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king;’

After Arioch’s confident assertions, the king asks Daniel ‘Can you show me the dream and the interpretation?’ In effect Daniel says no way, nor can anyone else on earth! – Arioch’s heart must have skipped a beat! Fortunately, Daniel continued…

Daniel 2:28

But there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed are these;

Here Daniel gives the king a 7-word summary of the subject of the dream. Note that Arioch wished credit for discovering Daniel but Daniel only offers his God as the answer. This is the beginning of God training Nebuchadnezzar to be “His Servant” [Jeremiah 27:6].

Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him.”

Daniel 2:29

As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets makes known to thee what shall come to pass. Now this is impressive. Daniel actually tells the king what he was thinking about before he went to sleep – it was this that gave rise to the dream. And notice again the scope of the dream: what is going to happen hereafter. Essentially Daniel did more than interpret the dream; he pointed out what was on the king’s mind prior to him even going to bed to have the unknown dream.

Daniel 2:30

But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Daniel again makes it clear that it is not because he is more intelligent or better than anyone else that God has revealed the dream to him; but for 1) ‘their sakes that shall make known the interpretation’ i.e. Daniel and his three friends and 2) for the king himself that he would understand.

Here as in verse 49, Daniel includes his three friends in the ‘who deserves credit’ list. Just because Daniel was the one that received the vision does not negate the part that his friends played through their prayers. This should serve to remind us that those who support a ministry are as important as those who head up and are the public face of that ministry – ‘every part doing its share’ (Eph 4:16).

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.

Church attendance is NOT a ticket to Heaven.

Article #9 of Daniel Series

REMINDER: We left off in our previous article with the wise men of Babylon weaseling their way to addressing the King’s dream. He won’t tell them what it was but insists they not only interpret it but also (remind) tell him what it was. They can’t do it.

Daniel 2:8

The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me.

King Nebuchadnezzar sees their problem, and just as he thought, there is a limit to these guys usefulness. Just as in the closing paragraph of our previous article in this series and its ending joke-comparison, Nebuchadnezzar is telling his wise-guys to “get their own dream” The problem now? How can he trust their interpretation? And he perceives that they are trying to stall for time. They are!

Daniel 2:9

But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me [and probably his father before him), till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can show me the interpretation.

The king underlines the decree – cut to pieces; dunghill etc. – and then tells them that he doesn’t trust them. He probably has been suspicious previously. The king is not going to be fooled this time. He wants evidence of actuality as much as factuality. Can they do it? He suspects fake news or at this time in history, fake interpretations; Evidence not speculation. This is similar to so-called scientists who hide everything in “well over millions of years” while one states the ice age ended one million years ago and another states it was 4,000 years ago. It is all speculation but presented just as was previous Nebuchadnezzar wise-guys handle dreams…speculation that makes sense to the deceived or ignorant.

Daniel 2:10-11

10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can show the king’s matter: there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

11 And it is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is none other who can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

It is interesting in scripture how often ‘evil’ men speak the truth. Here they are absolutely correct that only ‘the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh’ can do what the king is asking. Caiaphas, the high priest made the following true statement about Jesus that was also prophetic: “Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.” (John 11:49-50). Judas said: “I have betrayed the innocent blood.” (Matt 27:4).

Socrates said: ‘It maybe that God can forgive sin, but I don’t see how’. This shows great insight and understanding of the nature of God and the nature of man. God is righteous and holy and therefore cannot just forgive and forget sin. Sin – the inherent nature of man since the fall – has to be paid for, if justice is to be done. God would simply not be just if He ignored sin – this is what Socrates realized. The problem is, how can a finite man pay an infinite price? It cannot be done. But because “God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. So God, whose dwelling is not with flesh, became flesh and dwelt amongst us (John 1:14) so that He, being infinite, could pay the infinite price for sin that we owed, thus once and for all satisfying the justice of a holy God.

Daniel 2:12-13

12 For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon.

The king’s suspicions are now fact. His pay-role of wise men are not very wise.They are deceitful but not insightful.

13 And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

Even though Daniel and his friends were still trainees, king Nebuchadnezzar was prepared to abandon his training program as well as getting rid of the old guard. What was the point of wasting the king’s money on these wise men if none of them could help when he needed it? It probably was not a targeting of Daniel and his three friends as much as it was the entire system being fake. He most likely did not even know Daniel at this time. See the next verse…

Daniel 2:14-15

14 Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon:

15 He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel.

It would appear that Daniel was oblivious to the king’s dream up until this point, thus supporting the fact that he was still in training and had not yet graduated – otherwise he also would have been called before the king. Arioch is only too pleased to explain the situation to Daniel, as killing all the wise men of Babylon was probably the last thing he wanted to do.

Daniel 2:16

Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would show the king the interpretation.

This really is Jewish hut-spa! Daniel, only 16 or 17 at this time, not yet ‘qualified’, goes into the king who has just signed a decree to have him executed! But then again, he had nothing to lose. This highlights a problem for so many Christians; we have so much to lose; so much in this world that is important to us, that we don’t want to stick our necks out for the sake of God’s glory. Daniel at this time had nothing but his relationship with God. That was clearly foremost in his mind as he went to see the king. Daniel saw this as an opportunity to bring glory to his God.

Daniel 2:17

Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions:

JIV NOTE: Note in this verse Daniel does NOT use his friends’ Babylonian names. He is writing text in Syriac but uses their Jewish names. This is just great! Daniel gets home and says to his friends: “Guess what guys, the king has had a dream. No one could figure it out so he was going to kill all of us…But I told him that you guys and I would be able to work it out! How cool is that? You can hear their reply: You did what?’

Something tells me that Daniel did not need to encourage them to pray that evening!

Daniel 2:18

That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel

and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

It’s at times like these that we are so glad that our God is merciful. What did they pray that evening? We can only speculate but possibly something like Psalm 28:1-2 “Unto thee will I cry, O LORD my rock; be not silent to me: lest, if thou be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit. Hear the voice of my supplications, when I cry unto thee, when I lift up my hands toward thy holy oracle.”

Or maybe Psalm 31:1-4: “In thee, O LORD, do I put my trust; let me never be ashamed: deliver me in thy righteousness. Bow down thine ear to me; deliver me speedily: be thou my strong rock, for a house of defense to save me. For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name’s sake lead me, and guide me. Pull me out of the net that they have laid privately for me: for thou art my strength.”

We should also note that this verse says…”should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.” This may mean Daniel expected the rest of these fakes to be cut to shreds” and their homes demolished. He wasn’t expecting that his intervention may save hundreds of others who were not of his blood line, but it will. However, a favor done is easily forgotten. We will see this in a later article on Daniel.

Daniel 2:19

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

Keep foremost in mind that Daniel prayed three times a day from a window facing Judah and Jerusalem. He didn’t simply focus his prayer time beginning out of fear for being slaughtered. It was his daily practice he carried with him for his life time in Babylon. All answered prayer is an occasion to bless God; but how much more here when, thanks to Daniel and his big mouth, God’s reputation is on the line! Daniel’s faith is remarkable; did he have any doubt that God would answer them? Not that one would notice.

How often does one finally plead with God when things get turned upside down in life? Every covenant with Israel and promise to the Christian church in the New Testament and current times is based upon the premise of an ”If you, then I” foundation. Don’t wait for a crisis to finally make a foxhole visit with God. Consider the crisis may happen because God has been waiting patiently to hear from any of us who claim Christ as our Savior. It is simple. Being right now with “Dear God of Heaven…”

Article #8 in our Daniel Series

Article #8 in our Daniel Series

CHAPTER 2
Daniel 2:1

And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him.

The third year of Jehoiakim as we have already seen in article #7 was 606 B.C. This was the year when Nebuchadnezzar came up against Jerusalem, besieged it and eventually took the choice captives back to Babylon including Daniel and his friends. Josephus records that it was while Nebuchadnezzar was in Palestine that he got word that his father, King Nebopolassar, had died. In our way of thinking, Nebuchadnezzar actually became king in the autumn of 606 B.C. upon the death of his father. However the Babylonians (unlike the Jews) did not include the ascension year as part of a king’s reign. To the Babylonians, the first year of a king’s reign was counted from the first full year that he reigned. This makes 605B.C. King Nebuchadnezzar’s first year and 604 B.C. his second year. Daniel was taken to Babylon (as we have just noted) in 606 B.C. and we know from chapter one that he served a three-year apprenticeship before being presented to the king.

606 B.C. – Daniel’s 1st year in training – Neb’s year of ascension

605 B.C. – Daniel’s 2nd year in training – Neb’s 1st year as king

604 B.C. – Daniel’s Final year in training – Neb’s 2nd year as king

Thus it would appear that it was during Daniel’s final year as a trainee that Nebuchadnezzar had this dream. He would only be around 18 years old. This explains why Daniel did not present himself before the king when the king called for the ‘wise men of Babylon’. In fact, none of the men that Ashpenaz was training for the king would have been ready at this time, so those that presented themselves before Nebuchadnezzar would no doubt have been the men who had served under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father; and as it becomes clear, Nebuchadnezzar does not trust them!

Nebuchadnezzar ruled his empire and had complete authority; what he said went. There was no government or cabinet that passed laws. It was all down to what him and what he said (this is alluded to in the king’s dream itself). No succeeding Babylonian ruler had this power. We see in chapter 6 when king Darius (the Mede) signed a decree, he was bound by the ‘law of the Meads and Persians’ (Dan 6:16). Although he was the king, he was himself bound by the Medo-Persian law. Cyrus was King of Persia while Darius the Mede was a sub king (Satrap) of Babylon.

Daniel 2:2

Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king.

The king is so disturbed that he calls for his royal advisors, he is evidently not bothered about how this will make him look. He just needs to know what this dream meant. Many dreams are an amalgamation or merger of thoughts and images that we have seen that day, or in recent days.

Some dreams are simply because we had too much pepperoni on the pizza before we went to bed. In the book of Daniel, there are many dreams recorded in the Bible such as those connected to Joseph in the book of Genesis (Joseph’s own dreams per the stars in the heavens, sheaths of hay, the butler and baker in prison, Pharaoh’s dream). In Job we read:

For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceived it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;” (Job 33:14-15)

In the book of Acts, Peter quoted from the prophet Joel who said: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams” (Acts 2:17)

JIV NOTE: This should be taken to heart for those denominational ministers and religions who say such things as prophesy, visions from God, and dreams are only things of the past. This is a bit like global warmers who say the last ice age ENDED X thousands of years ago but without explanation as to when it ended or what was the cause. Prophecy, visions and dreams have NOT ended.

The magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were supposed to be experts in interpreting dreams. Archaeologists have unearthed books containing formula whereby they would take the key elements of a dream and come up with the interpretation. The magicians, astrologers, sorcerers, and the Chaldeans were not just superstitious nut cases as we may think from our understanding of the terms; these were men of great learning and would have been highly respected. Babylon was famous for its science and discoveries. The division of the elliptic into 360o came from Babylon and was probably done so because of the earth’s orbit, which at that time may well have only been 360 days. Thus these characters were no daily newspaper horoscope columnists – yes they dabbled in the occult, but they tried to apply scientific method to their practices.

The magicians: – sacred scribes, involved in mystic writings and secret writings

The Astrologers – ‘Enchanters’, involved in séances (talking to the dead – and stars; Maji)

The Sorcerers – principally involved in using drugs and hallucinogenic; incantations etc. The Chaldeans: – the Babylonian priests.

Daniel 2:3

And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.

So the king explains the predicament. Man is created in God’s image. He is Father, Son and Holy Spirit just as we have a body, mind and spirit. Nebuchadnezzar’s spirit was troubled within him. He had a dream but couldn’t even recall it in as much as he was troubled by it.

Daniel 2:4

Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriac, O king, live: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.

In the usual (and no doubt wise) way you address the most powerful man in the known world, the Chaldeans get straight in there and ask the king to tell them the dream and they would be only too pleased to give the interpretation – no doubt their formula books at the ready.

IMPORTANT NOTE: In the original manuscripts the writing in this verse changes from Hebrew (which the book has been in up to now), into Aramaic (Syriac). It is significant that Daniel then uses Aramaic all the while he is referring to the Gentiles. Later in the book when the focus comes back to the Jews he will switch back to Hebrew (chapter 7, verse 28). Normally in the Bible we see the world through the lens of Israel, however in Daniel we get a rare glimpse at the world from a purely gentile perspective. Perhaps it also means that beginning in Daniel 2:4, the target market of the scriptures is to the gentiles of this world and End Time parallels.

Most people assume that the Bible was written in Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament). In general this is true. There are parts in both the Old and New that are in Aramaic. Aramaic itself is closely linked to the original Hebrew and was a pictorial language; i.e. letters themselves were shapes – little pictures – that carried meaning with them. As with original Hebrew, their letter ‘A’ was written like an ox head and meant ‘strength’. Their letter ‘B’ was drawn like a tent and symbolized a ‘house’. Thus when you put the two letters together, ‘A’ & ‘B’ you get AB = the Strength of the House – this is their word for Father! We see this in the word ‘Abba’ Father. This is no longer the Hebrew in use.

Ezra was another biblical author who used both Hebrew and Aramaic, and in the New Testament Jesus used Aramaic words, such as ‘Talitha cumi’ spoken to Jairus’ daughter in Mark 5:41.

Daniel 2:5

The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill.

There is some debate as to what Nebuchadnezzar is saying here; he is either saying that he can’t remember the dream, or that the ‘thing’ that has gone [forth] from him is the command to interpret the dream; it would seem more likely that it is the latter. J Vernon McGee states: This would be a rather extreme judgment, but you can see what the king wants. Frankly, a faulty translation of this verse gives the impression that the king had forgotten his dream. He hadn’t forgotten his dream. He knows the dream, senses its importance, and refuses to divulge it to the wise men. Why? He wants to get a correct interpretation of it. In the margin, the American Standard Version of 1901 translates “The thing is gone from me” as, “The word is gone forth from me.” In other words, Nebuchadnezzar is saying to these men, “I will not change my mind about this judgment I am pronouncing. Don’t beg me to tell you the dream—I’m not going to do it. You are going to come up with the dream if I am ever to listen to your interpretations.” The Berkeley Version has a helpful translation at this point also: “The king answered the Chaldeans, ‘This word I speak, I mean! If you do not tell me the dream and what it means, you shall be torn limb from limb and your houses will be destroyed.’” Nebuchadnezzar is putting fear in these men. They have to come up with the interpretation of the dream, but they first of all have to give what the dream is.

These wise men are fakes and know it. This is Nebuchadnezzar’s way of separating the wise from the wise-guy.

Daniel 2:6

But if ye show the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honor: therefore show me the dream, and the interpretation thereof. Just in case being cut to pieces and having one’s house made into a dunghill was not a big enough incentive, the king offers a reward for whoever can tell him the dream and the interpretation.

Daniel 2:7

They answered again and said, ‘Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.’

This was a real problem for them. They believed that they could interpret dreams – if they had them! But without a dream to begin with, they were well and truly stuck. A group of the scientists who believe that they have become so clever they don’t need God. They explain to God that they can now create life. God asks them if they could do it like He did it – from the dust of the ground. They look at each other and confidently assert that they could even do this, after all, the essential ingredients that we are made of are found in the dust of the earth. God decides to take them up on this challenge, so says ‘Go ahead then. Create life from the dust of the ground’. So the scientists bend down and pick up a few handfuls of dust to head back to their laboratory. All of a sudden God interrupts them, “Oh no you don’t. Get your own dust!”

Article #7 of the Daniel Series

Article #7 of the Daniel Series

Recall in our previous article that Daniel had just made a plea with his Babylonian trainer Ashpenaz. We learned that “An inscription was found on a monument that is now housed in the Berlin museum” confirming the person of Ashpenaz; the inscription reads: “Ashpenaz, master of the king’s eunuchs” confirming the historical (secular) accuracy of Daniel. Daniel did not wish to violate his Hebrew culture and Judaism.

Daniel 1:10

And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. The prince’s fear is certainly justified! As we will see in the following chapters, Ol’ King Neb had a habit of cutting people to pieces and turning their house into a dunghill! This was just too risky an experiment regardless of how much Ashpenaz liked Daniel. We should also note Daniel was with “others” in the same situation. They are not mentioned by name other than Daniel’s three other teenage captives from Judah we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Aben-nego.

Daniel 1:11

Then said Daniel to (the) Mel[t]zar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel,

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Not wanting to take ‘no’ for an answer, Daniel then goes to Melzar, that is, the guard– this is what the Jews call ‘hutspa’. This is a little like “mommy says ‘no’ so let’s ask daddy!” This is the young teenager character of Daniel revealing itself though he is Spirit lead life. The word “Melzar” is not actually a name but a position; a title. King James calls this guard a “steward.” Strong’s interpretation makes it similar to what one would call a “butler”; i.e. melzar

Daniel 1:12

Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse [vegetables & perhaps kosher meat] to eat, and water to drink. (Isaiah 61:11 – vegetables/pulse)
This time Daniel suggests a 10 day trial. Pulse is not like it sounds! It would be vegetables and possibly kosher meat, but not meat sacrificed to idols.

Daniel 1:13-14

13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them [pulse] ten days.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating I’m not sure if ‘consented’ means ‘gave in’. The Hebrew word used for consented is shâma‛. It means to be intelligent about it.

Daniel 1:15-16

15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.

16 Thus Mel[t]zar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

Can anyone imagine how this went down with all the other Hebrew and possibly foreign captives! In all seriousness, this may have been the start of Daniel’s unpopularity with his colleagues that we see fester and grow in our subsequent chapters. He demonstrates that he is already a “take charge” guy and convincing. Again, note this verse states “than all the children” who were subject to this training. We also should note that the others in training did eat of the non-kosher foods.

Daniel 1:17

As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

We strive so often to gain knowledge but without much understanding. Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding [Desire then Action]. It is the Lord who increases knowledge and gives understanding. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Only a short while ago Daniel and his friends were being taken captive and led to a foreign land uncertain of their future. But like Joseph in Egypt they remained true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He gave them favor exalting them in due time.

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 cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)

Daniel 1:18-19

18 Now at the end of the days [3 years] that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.

For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Ps 75:6-7)

What's In a Name


What is in a Name

Notice that Daniel uses their Hebrew names! “We will not let go of the truth we know.” Perhaps this also suggests that the Israelites were God’s chosen from all mankind thus the use of their Hebrew names, not the gentile ones the Babylonians gave to them. This brings to mind the old hymn “There’s a New Name Written Down in Glory.” Perhaps the composer/lyrics of this song had insight we don’t entertain. Once we are saved we get a new name and IT is written down in heaven (Burl Ives wrote the lyrics to this song)

Daniel 1:20

And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. Ten times better? This can only mean they were standouts. This surely added to the contempt of three years earlier when Daniel convinced the Mel[t]zer for exception to the food they ate. Now it included ALL of the king’s magicians and *astrologers; not just the other captive Hebrews boys held for three years of training.

Next article we meet the magicians & astrologers again, but now in chapter 2, so we’ll talk about them there, but regardless Daniel was ten times better. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)

*See appendix per astrologers.

Appendix

Here is an ahamoment for some and a reminder to those who have followed the articles in ahabiblemoments.com. Many times we read right through bible verbiage not catching its total context. History is not comprised of the bible as a religion and culture or nations and history. They are one and the same thing. The bible records history just as a study in high school or college would be if the topic was Middle East History. The following comes from the History of the Medes, neighbors of the Babylonians and Persians.

The Medes were an people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin who inhabited the western and north-western portion of present-day Iran. [Babylon would be near the eastern portion of present-day Iran (Persia) but in Iraq] By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes were able to establish an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Today’s population of the western part of the Iranian Plateau (including many Persian-speakers, Kurds and Azeris) consider themselves to be descended from the ancient Medes.

Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is almost entirely unknown. It was most likely similar to the Avestan and Scythian languages. [Scyths are descended from dispersed Jews from Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. Many are those who remained behind after the Judeans were released by King Cyrus of Babylon to return to their homelands. Take note of the six tribes that made up the people of the Medes. Pay particular attention to the sixth tribe listed below. Now think of the birth days of Jesus]

The Six Median Tribes
Herodotus lists the names of six Mede tribes or castes. Some of these are similar to tribal names of the Scythians, suggesting a definitive link between these two groups.

  • The Busae group is thought to derive from the Persian term buza meaning indigenous (i.e. not Iranian). Whether this was based on an originally Iranian term, or their own name, is unknown.
  • The second group is called the Paraetaceni, or Parae-tak-(eni) in Persian, and denotes nomadic inhabitants of the mountains of Paraetacene. This name recalls the Scythian Para-la-ti, the people of Kolaxis, believed to represent the common people in general, but whom Herodotus calls the “Royal Scythians”.
  • The third group is called Strukhat.
  • The fourth group is the Arizanti, whose name is derived from the words Arya (noble), and Zantu (tribe, clan).
  • The fifth group were the Budii, found also among the Black Sea Scythians as Budi-ni. Buddha was of the tribe Budha, the Saka (eastern Scythian) form of the name.
  • The sixth tribe were the Magi…They were a hereditary caste of priests of the Zurvanism religion that evolved out of Zoroastrianism [astrology]. The name Magi implies a link with the Sumerians, who called their language Emegir, over time becoming simplified to Magi. Hungarian tradition also traces pre-European Magyar (Hungarian) ancestry back to the Magi. In time, the Sumerian-influenced religion of the Magi was suppressed in favor of a more purely Iranian form of Zoroastrianism, itself evolved from its somewhat dualist beginnings into the monotheistic faith that it is today (also known as Parsi-ism).