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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 #22 of the Daniel Series

Belshazzar is slain by the Medes (Persians) and Darius is set to rule of the conquered Babylon. Do not confuse bible facts with nay-sayer historians who claim Cyrus was the ruler. Yes he was at this time; Asian ruler along with the more loosely knit confederation (of sort) Medes. Cyrus ruled the empire. Darius, for a very short time, ruled Babylon. The Bible gives us facts we often miss the reason for why. Things like proper names and places; in this case the Bible specifically gives us the age of Darius in the very last verse of chapter 5. He was 62 years old.

We should ask ourselves since such information is seldom given if it is given for a reason? Darius ruled for a short time then either died or stepped down into retirement. He is NOT the King Darius on the throne of Babylon 40 years later. However, the Book of Esther comes within the next 40 years.

CHAPTER 6
Daniel 6:1

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;

As mentioned at the end of our study of chapter 5, there is some debate over the identity of Darius. Critics have pointed to Daniel’s assertion that Darius the Mede was king of Babylon as proof that the book of Daniel was not an eyewitness account, but rather the work of a much later author who was confused about the details of this period. Critics are quick to make bold assertions that are based on biased opinions rather than objective facts. Professor Robert Dick Wilson who spent a lifetime studying these things states: “This confusion is a matter of evidence. With all due deference to the opinion of other scholars, I am firmly convinced that no man today has sufficient evidence to prove that the author of Daniel was confused. There are no records to substantiate the assertions of confusion. Neither is it clear to the critics nor can they make it clear to others, that the author of Daniel either did not understand the facts with regard to Darius the Mede, or clearly express himself about them.” (Studies in Daniel)

Among the various opinions put forward, the ones favored by most scholars are as follows:

  1. Darius was not the name of a person but simply a title meaning “holder of the scepter”. Certainly there are five later Persian rulers with the same name, which lends some support to this argument.
  2. Donald J Wiseman of the British Museum puts forward the idea that Darius was indeed a title and our character in question was in fact Cyrus himself. Scholars have noted that the closing verse of this chapter could also be translated in such a way as to imply that Darius is Cyrus. (JIV: It is translated this way in the footnotes of the N.I.V.)
  3. Another view is that Darius was Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, although his age as revealed at the end of chapter 5 would seem to discount this; as would the fact that this would then leave a gap of approximately four months with no king over Babylon from the death of Belshazzar until Cambyses was eventually appointed as king of Babylon in 538 BC. However, it is wise to take note that Daniel even mentions his age at his ascension to the throne of Babylon. There is often a reason why God leads writers of scripture to make such statements.
  4. Finally, the view that seems most consistent with what we know from the Bible and history is that Darius the Mede was Gubaru, the general of Cyrus’ Mede army who had taken Babylon on the night of Belshazzar’s feast, aged about 62. Cyrus rewarded Gubaru with a regional governorship for capturing the capital of the Babylonian Empire. What we do know from the ‘Nabonidus Chronicle’ and Josephus is that on October 12th 539BC, Gubaru entered Babylon at night, killing Belshazzar and conquering the city without a fight since the Babylonian army was not even there.

On October 29th Cyrus entered the city, being met at the gates by Daniel with a scroll of Isaiah in his hand. Over 150 years earlier Isaiah had prophesied:

Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish; That confirmeth the word of his servant, and performeth the counsel of his messengers; that saith to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be inhabited; and to the cities of Judah, Ye shall be built, and I will raise up the decayed places thereof: *That saith to the deep, Be dry, and I will dry up thy rivers:That saith of Cyrus, He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure: **even saying to Jerusalem, Thou shalt be built; and to the temple, Thy foundation shall be laid. Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of (Belshazzar) kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron: And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel….” (Isaiah 44:24 – 45:6)

Note that Isaiah even mentions the access of the Medes and Persians into Babyloon; the river that has been dried up (diverted) so the troops simply walked in under the water gates of the river that flowed into Babylon.

**This is the prophecy of Isaiah almost 200 years earlier that the “captive” Judeans would be released to return to Jerusalem by a king named Cyrus.


Only a few weeks before, Cyrus had instructed Gubaru to take the ‘impenetrable’ city of Babylon by diverting the river Euphrates into a canal upriver so that the water level dropped “to the height of the middle of a man’s thigh” (Herodotus). Thus the city’s flood defenses were rendered useless and the Persian army was able to march right into the city through the river bed. As Cyrus is now reading this portion of Isaiah he must have been ‘blown away’. Not only does this Jewish prophet, who had been dead for 150 years, mention him by name, but the passage describes how the city would be taken and the fact that Belshazzar’s loins were loosened – something that was no doubt common knowledge by now.

Cyrus, approximately one and a half years later in 537 BC, went on to sign a decree allowing the Jews to return to their homeland and rebuild their temple all by Daniel’s beckoning of him. This decree is recorded at the end of 2 Chronicles and at the beginning of Ezra: “Now in the first year of *Cyrus king of Persia [NB: 539 to 538 = Ascension year, therefore 538 to 537 = first year of reign], that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled [see Jer 29:10], the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Who is there among you of all his people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourned, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:1-4)

*King of the Persian Empire therefore over the appointed King Darius of Babylon.

In addition to this decree recorded in the Bible the above is a cylinder, now known as the ‘Stele of Cyrus’, which now resides in the British Museum. On the cylinder are the words:

“…without any battle, he entered the town, sparing any calamity:…I returned to sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris [river], the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time… and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I also gathered all their former inhabitants and returned to them their habitations”

The ‘Stele of Cyrus’ – British Museum, London

Returning to the ‘who is Darius?’ question: From archaeological discoveries we know that Cyrus was known as ‘king of lands’ (i.e. ruler of the empire), and because the empire was so vast, it was normal to appoint kings over districts or regions. Thus it is reasonable that Cyrus would have appointed someone he trusted to be king of Babylon, and who better than his trusted general Gubaru who had just taken the city for his king? This starts out as a plausible theory but is soon confirmed by rereading the closing verse of chapter 5:“And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.” Initially we read ‘and Darius became king…’ but that is not what this verse states. What we are told is that ‘Darius the Median took the kingdom…’ The word translated ‘took’ is ‘qebal’ (Aramaic) meaning ‘to acquire’, also translated elsewhere as ‘receive’ or ‘take’. As we have already mentioned, it was Gubaru (AKA: Darius) who acquired the kingdom on behalf of Cyrus, thus this verse would seem to identify Darius the Mede as Gubaru. This is also consistent with Daniel 9:1 where we are told that Darius was ‘made king over the realm of the Chaldeans’ (made = ‘malak’ (Aramaic) ‘to induct into royalty’).

(Gubaru is also sometimes written as Ugbaru or Gobryas [Greek])

Daniel 6:2

And over these, three governors of whom Daniel was first: that the satraps might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.

Continuing from verse one, Darius had 120 governors with three presidents or governors overseeing everything. Daniel was the chief president, second to the king himself.

Daniel 6:3

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes….

Not only did Daniel outrank all the other government officials, we are told that he was preferred above them all. Now, human nature being what it is, you can almost hear the murmuring in the background already ‘who does he think he is…?. He was just a captive Jew from Judah.’ Daniel continued his government ranking from Nebuchadnezzar to Darius.

…because an excellent spirit was in him;

Daniel’s whole life seems to be an example of what God can do in a life that is yielded to Him. We are called to be salt and light in this world, that men may see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven (Matt 5:13-16). We are to be an example in word, conversation, charity (love), spirit, faith, purity and work (1 Tim 4:12). We are to work hard for our employers (Colossians 3:23) so that the name of our God and His doctrine are not blasphemed (1 Tim 6:1). We are to allow no corrupt communication to proceed from our mouths, but only that which is helpful and will build others up (Ephesians 4:29).

…..and the king thought to set him (Daniel) over the whole realm.

This did not go down well with the other non-Judean [Jews] officials. No doubt Darius had enlisted some of the best men of Babylon and added them to his own Persian staff, probably people that had served with him in the army. Now this ageing Jewish exile is almost being made king! This hate for the local, once captive Judeans reveals itself once again in the Book of Esther some 40 years later. Mordecai was set up for death as he was a Jew hated by the royal court; Haman. (King Ahasuerus, commonly identified as Xerxes I, reined 486–465 BCE). Esther was his queen.

Daniel 6:4

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.

Jealousy is a powerful motivator. It overrides common sense and logical thought.

Proverbs 6:34-35 says: “For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.”

Once the ‘ball of jealousy’ is rolling, nothing will stop it. But notice again, despite trying to find fault in Daniel there was nothing in his life that he had to hide, no secret sins, nothing to regret.

Next article we discover the events that followed. It picks up in verse 5 of Daniel 6. This reminds me of a gospel Chorus/Song back in the 60’ with words that go something like this…

IF YOU WERE ARRESTED FOR BEING A CHRISTIAN;

WOULD THERE BE ENOUGH EVIDENCE TO CONVICT YOU?

Article #21 of the Daniel Series

JIV NOTE: This article is rather long and for which I must ask the reader’s persistence. This section of Daniel is or has no natural break-point without breaking the context of verses 9 – 30. The website editor of this webpage article may opt to break it into two articles. We now pick up at the point King Belshazzar sees the writing on the wall; a phrase we often use in our modern culture. This is even true of agnostics and bible critics. They too use this phrase.

Daniel 5:9

Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied.

In verse 6 Belshazzar was troubled and his countenance changed. Now he is really worried (Aramaic = exceedingly terrified) and it is obvious. It would appear from the word ‘astonied’ = shebash (Aramaic), that his lords were ‘perplexed’ because of the king’s reactions. Wasn’t this the king who had thrown a party to demonstrate his invincibility? Now he has not only wet his pants in public, but has turned white as a sheet because no one can explain what this writing means.

We have seen the king make four major mistakes:

  1. Overconfidence Pride (verse 1)
  2. Open defiance of the God of Heaven (verse 2)
  3. Drinking to excess (verse 3)
  4. Worshipping false gods (verse 4)

Seldom do people in such open rebellion not know why judgment has come upon them. The king’s conscience had already convicted him before a word had been spoken. People are wise after the event, but arrogant before; thinking to avoid being caught is their only real concern. Just like Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:15 “and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands” all of Belshazzar’s actions were an open taunt to God. We see that same incredible attitude with Antichrist in Rev 13 where he blasphemes the God of Heaven (Rev 13:6). There is HUGE parallels between Daniel and End Time.

Daniel 5:10

Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house: and the queen spake and said, O king, live forever: let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed:

The person referred to here as the queen is what we would understand as the queen mother, and from the writings of the Greek historian Herodotus, it would appear to be Nitocris, wife of Nabonidus and daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, whom Herodotus mentions as a woman of extraordinary prudence. However, this could have been Neb’s now elderly and widowed wife.

Daniel 5:11

There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; and in the days of thy father light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, was found in him; whom the king Nebuchadnezzar thy father, the king, I say, thy father, made master of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers;

Having heard of the king’s problem she makes her way to the banquet hall and suggests Daniel as the man to interpret the writing. As Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter [grandmother?] either would have been well acquainted with Daniel and his exploits during her father’s reign, and seems to put in a public ‘dig’ saying that Nebuchadnezzar had learned his lesson late in life. You never listened to him in ‘your’ life yet alone learn the lesson he did.

LEARN

Daniel 5:12

Forasmuch as an excellent spirit, and knowledge, and understanding, interpreting of dreams, and shewing of hard sentences, and dissolving of doubts, were found in the same Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar: now let Daniel be called, and he will shew the interpretation.

Maybe because Daniel cared for her father for the seven years of chapter 4, she seems to be fond of Daniel and presents a brief resume´ that is bound to impress. She acknowledges (in verse 11) that the spirit of the ‘holy gods’ is in him and boldly declares that he will shew the interpretation. This shows her faith not only in Daniel but in his ‘Gods’ – plural: Father, Son & Spirit, OR, perhaps she herself had not learned the same lesson of ONE GOD.

Daniel 5:13

Then was Daniel brought in before the king. And the king spake and said unto Daniel, Art thou that Daniel, which art of the children of the captivity of Judah, whom the king my father brought out of Jewry?

Daniel would have been around 80 plus years old by now, and it is clear from this verse that his reputation had preceded him. JIV: He also had not returned to Judah/Jerusalem with Zerubbabel, Ezra, or Nehemiah. The few Judeans that left Babylon upon being released was less than one percent. There are millions of their descendants remaining in Iran and Iraq today but most of them have since intermarried and forgotten their DNA.

Daniel 5:14

I have even heard of thee, that the spirit of the gods is in thee, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom is found in thee.

Notice the pride once more of Belshazzar “even I have heard of you, so you must be something!” The question could well be asked, why Daniel wasn’t called to start with if he had such a reputation. My guess? Possibly for the same reason that is mentioned in the comments on Daniel 4:6, 7 – see also Ephesians 5:13.

Daniel 5:15-16

15 And now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing, and make known unto me the interpretation thereof: but they could not shew the interpretation of the thing:

16 And I have heard of thee, that thou canst make interpretations, and dissolve doubts: now if thou canst read the writing, and make known to me the interpretation thereof, thou shalt be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about thy neck, and shalt be the third ruler in the kingdom.

So the king explains the predicament that the other ‘wise’ men couldn’t solve and offers Daniel rewards including to be made third ruler in the kingdom. The reason that third ruler in the kingdom was offered is that, as we have noted, Nabonidus was king, Belshazzer was appointed king of Babylon while Nabonidus was away, thus the #1 and #2 spots were already filled. This is additional evidence that this is a historically accurate record. Critics and ‘so-called (Wikipedia) scholars’ scoffed for years claiming that Daniel was wrong and must have been written many years after this time because no record had been found of Belshazzar being king of Babylon. However, competent research and archaeological discoveries have now completely vindicated Daniel and in fact have demonstrated that Daniel had to be an eyewitness of these events.

Daniel 5:17

Then Daniel answered and said before the king, “Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another; yet I will read the writing unto the king, and make known to him the interpretation.”

Daniel, now much older and less concerned about political correctness, basically tells the king where to put his gifts! He will explain the writing and give the interpretation anyway. All through the book Daniel demonstrates that he doesn’t work for man but for God.

Daniel 5:18-19

18 O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy [grand] father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honor:

19 And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would, he put down.

Before Daniel starts to read the writing and interpret the message, he gives this self-edifying little king a history lesson about a real king who had real authority! Read on….

Daniel 5:20-21

20 (…) But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:

21 And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointed over it whomsoever he will.

Daniel explains to Belshazzar what happens to those who are proud before God and underlines the ultimate lesson: that the most high God rules in the kingdom of men, and he appoints over it whomsoever he will. Either Belshazzar already knew of the happenings to Nebuchadnezzar or he missed the history lesson per his family passing it on.

Daniel 5:22

And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;

The stage is set. Daniel knows by this time tomorrow all would end but feared not for his own life. Daniel already knew this was not about him but the end of this kingdom to which he had been brought as a captive teenager.

Daniel 5:23

But hast lifted up thyself against the LORD of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

Just picture this situation: In the middle of his big party, with a thousand of his lords present, a hand ‘out of nowhere’ writes on the wall. The king has an ‘accident’ and turns as white as a sheet. The best men of the land are unable to help him. By now word was out about what has happened. His mother hears about it, comes in and embarrasses him yet further; eventually an 81-year-old man is called who, in front of a thousand lords, criticizes him openly. We haven’t even gotten to the interpretation of the writing yet!

This is a classic case of God resisting the proud, and should serve as a graphic example that pride is an abomination to the Lord (see Proverbs 16:5).

Daniel 5:24

Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was written.

Daniel now interprets the writing no longer delaying the preponderance of evidence. Time is short and even shorter for Belshazzar.

Daniel 5:25

And this is the writing that was written, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.

Rabbinic tradition says that this writing was in the form of an encrypted Hebrew code called ‘Atbash’.

This is not the only time that encrypted words are found in the Bible. In Jeremiah 25:26 there is another example of Atbash (the word Sheshach is an encrypted form of ‘Babylon’), and in Isaiah 7:6 there is an example of another form of encryption called Albam (there the word Tabeel is an encryption of Remaliah). Both of these forms of encryption are fairly simple forms of transposition, where one letter is consistently used to replace another.

JIV SPECIAL NOTE: Hebrew & Aramaic reads right to left – all languages flow toward Jerusalem! If we look at a globe with Jerusalem in the center, countries west of it write left to right, those east write right to left; this may be a coincidence, but then again..(?).

It would appear that Daniel was familiar with this form of encryption, as he has no difficulty in interpreting it before the king: (of course, he also had the eyes and help of God)

Note: Initially this may strike us as simply interesting, however when we stop to consider who the author of scripture actually is, the fact that God has placed hidden codes in the Bible is staggering. This is what the ancient Rabbis would call a ‘remez’ – a hint of something deeper. In a previous study we found ‘Bible coding’ by using names and their definitions to read as a paragraph and statement. This Bible Code is true of Daniel’s name along with his three compatriots.

Bible coding? What a powerful deterrent to adding or subtracting to a portion of scripture because it is difficult or unpopular, when, by altering the surface text (as many liberal and politically correct ‘Christians’ are wont to do) they may in fact corrupt the bible code. Subtracting from the Bible one inadvertently removes the code itself; perhaps even their name from the Book of Life! This gives me a personal and different understanding of predestination. If one is predestined to become a son (child) of God that is one thing. But… if one is predestined BE a child of God; that is something quite different. The same is true of translations. An incorrect translation will corrupt any Bible code hidden from the eyes of the casual reader.


Proverbs 30:5 states thatEvery word of God is pure. Do not add to His words lest He rebuke you and you be found a liar”. Also read Revelation 22:19

David echoes in Psalm 119:160 “Thy word is true from the beginning.” If it is pure and true then there is nothing that we can add or subtract to improve it. We should simply fall before our God who has given us His Word, which we are told in Psalm 138:2 He has exalted above all His name! If blasphemy – the misuse of His name – is to be judged, how much more the misuse of His Word!


Daniel 5:26-28

26 This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.

27 TEKEL; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

28 PERES; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.

Thus king Belshazzar’s worst fears are realized, his time of playing games with the God of Israel is over, and in the most dramatic fashion.

JIV NOTES:

From this verse come two phrases that are still used today ‘you’re number’s up’ and ‘weighed and found wonting’. It is incredible the number of words and phrases that people use every day that originate from the Bible, yet most people have no idea, and worse still, no regard for this most incredible book.

There is a play on words here as well with the word ‘PERES’. In both Hebrew and Aramaic there are no vowels so the word would have been written as ‘P R S’ with the vowels inferred. However without the vowels the sound and meaning can alter. Take for example the words CaT and CoT. Without the vowels all we would read is C_T. And so it is here with Peres; if the ‘e’ (which makes the word mean ‘divided’) is replaced with an ‘a’ we get the Aramaic word for ‘Persians’! Surprised are you???? So was I during my studies.

Daniel 5:29

29 Then commanded Belshazzar, and they clothed Daniel with scarlet, and put a chain of gold about his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Not that Daniel was bothered; the kingdom only had a few hours to go! Besides, Belshazzar’s grandfather Nebuchadnezzar had already put him in charge of Babylon many years earlier [Daniel 2:48] Also, several years earlier, Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 2:48 had already made Daniel the ruler over all things pertinent to the running of Babylonian.

Daniel 5:30-31

30 In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.

31 And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old.

So Belshazzar, as all proud people will be, is cut down. David said in Psalm 7:9 “Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God tries the hearts and reins.” Recall that Belshazzar’s father was away with the army of Babylon. We have little information as to what happens to him and his missing forces, but they were not there to defend Babylon. Some historians suggest he had already been defeated in battle with the Medes. This is likely to be why it was the Mede Darius who was made ruler in Babylon.

Psalm 37:7-13 says:

“Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who brings wicked devices to pass. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil. For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth. For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. The wicked plot against the just, and gnash upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming.” How true this was for Belshazzar who was made a public spectacle in front of his one thousand lords yet was humiliated by the God of heaven whom he had rejected.

God sweeps aside the mighty Babylonian kingdom, the head of gold (cf Dan 2); and in comes the Medo-Persian empire – the chest and arms of silver (Daniel 2). He did this in part as the Babylonians did not treat the captive Judeans with dignity or mercy.

There is some debate over the identity of Darius the Mede. We will deal with that in chapter 6. What we do know is that he was about sixty-two years old when he became ruler of Babylon in 539 B.C. It should be noted, that the first actual year for a Babylonian king was reckoned as their ascension year. What we would consider their 2nd year would therefore be their first regal year. Thus 539-538 = Darius’ ascension year; 538-537 B.C. = Darius’ 1st year.

Article #20 of Daniel Series

CHAPTER 5
Daniel 5:1

Historical Note: In chapter five we jump ahead in time (see the opening paragraph).. The previous chapter was the end of the life and reign of Nebuchadnezzar. Though Belshazzar was the grandson of Nebuchadnezzar through his mother, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar, he only ruled as co-regent with his less-than-royal blood father, Nebo nidus.

Doubts about Belshazzar (website Creation.com writes…)

Is this (hi)story just a legend, or does the Bible preserve accurate history? Years ago, some skeptics denied that there ever was a king of Babylon named Belshazzar, claiming that his name and story were invented by someone unfamiliar with true Babylonian history. But just when it looked like all the evidence was stacked against Scripture, a series of archaeological discoveries showed that Belshazzar did exist after all, and the details given about him in the Bible are profoundly correct.

https://creation.com/archaeology-belshazzar

Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.

In chapter five we find that Belshazzar is now king (not to be confused with Beltshazzar; i.e. Daniel). About 23 years have passed since Nebuchadnezzar died and the kingdom of Babylon has gone through a turbulent time. Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Evil-Merodach, succeeded his father and reigned for almost three years (2 Kings 25:27 / Jeremiah 52:31). His younger brother, Neriglissar, then reigned for about five years being succeeded by his son, Labashi-Marduk. He was but a child-king, who reigned for just a few months before being murdered.

Finally, Nabonidus, who had married Nebuchadnezzar’s daughter, became king. History records that Nabonidus did not relate well with the people of Babylon, especially with the priests of Marduk (the Babylonian god). As a result of this, after three years, Nabonidus appointed his son Belshazzar, grandson of Nebuchadnezzar, as king of Babylon while he himself took an army to Arabia, presumably to build sandcastles and keep out of the limelight! All of this political turmoil was just the invitation that a brilliant young military leader by the name of Cyrus needed. The Meads and the Persians were two great adjacent empires that had been steadily growing in power; however when Cyrus came along with one of his parents, one Persian and the other a Mead, it was the smoothing oil that was required to unite two fairly strong empires into one all-conquering one.

Belshazzar would have been aware that the newly formed Medo-Persian Empire was in the ascendancy and no doubt well aware that Cyrus’ army (under the command of his general – Gubaru (later to be crowned Darius)) was heading toward Babylon. So what do you do when you’re the king of Babylon and an invading army is approaching? Throw a party! Evidently Belshazzar was so sure that Babylon was impregnable that he simply shut the gates of the city and gave a great feast to a thousand of his lords to demonstrate his undeniable, if not foolhardy, confidence and incredible wealth. After all, he was the king of the great Babylon, Excellency of the Chaldeans and capital of the known world. If overconfidence was his first mistake, his second was soon to follow. P.S.; Recall that his father, Nabonidus, had taken the army with him into Arabia “to build sand castles.” The huge city of Babylon had but castle or palace guards for defense.

Daniel 5:2

Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his [grand] father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein.

Cf. 2 Kings 20:14-18; Daniel 1:2

Openly defying the God of Israel has never been a good career move – United Nations; European Union; PLO; Hezbollah; Hamas, Syrian; Iran, [USA?] etc. take note!

The United Nations

Daniel 5:3-4

3Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them.

4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

Proverbs 31:4 states that it is not for kings to drink wine or strong drink; how much more so when that drink is combined with idolatry. This is begging for trouble and taunting God.

Daniel 5:5-6

5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king’s palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

6 Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.

This would be enough to ruin anyone’s party! This writing didn’t just appear on the wall in any old place; it appeared by the candlestick, the brightest spot in the room so all would see. It is easy to understand why the king’s face and continence were changed. Indeed why his thoughts troubled him. However, in case the reader is unclear as to the King James phrase ‘his loins were loosed’ – JIV: let’s just say he needed the bathroom but didn’t make it in time!

There is an undeniably humorous side to this situation as we look on; imagine being the only man in scripture of whom it is recorded that they wet themselves (or worse)! What makes this even more incredible is that this event was even foretold by the prophet Isaiah 200 years beforehand! “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut” (Isaiah 45:1)

No doubt this applied to Belshazzar as his knees buckled and let loose of all muscle control.

Daniel 5:7-8

7 The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. And the king spake, and said to the wise men of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and have a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

8 Then came in all the king’s wise men: but they could not read the writing, nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof.

As we saw in chapter two with Nebuchadnezzar, people are quick to turn to ‘religion’ when problems arise and seek answers from the ‘professional’ religious leaders. However just as we see here, they can seldom give or find the answers. Much is made in our day of ‘ordained ministers’ and so often these are the ones the world will turn to in the event of a tragedy or problem, even if only to seek their opinion. But is it not also true that so often these are the ones we see undermining the word of God and compromising in order to be seen to be politically correct? This should come as no great surprise, for those ordained and appointed by men will be answerable to men. In God’s kingdom it is very different. We read nothing in scripture of being ordained by the Bishop, but rather we read: “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” (John 15:16)

I HAVE CHOSEN YOU!

For any believer in Christ, it is the Lord Himself who has ordained us. We are answerable to him. Paul tells us: “For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are” and why is this so? “That no flesh should glory in his presence.” (1 Cor 1:26-29)

Early in the book of Acts we read of the boldness of Peter and John, yet they were unlearned and ignorant men (see Acts 4:13). They did not have their theology degree from a ‘Bible’ college or seminary, accredited by a secular university that is rooted in humanism and evolutionary thinking. These were just two simple fishermen who would have struggled to get a job in many churches today, yet we read that they had been with Jesus – and that was all the qualification that was necessary!

A personal ordination from the King of kings rates immeasurably higher than anything that manmade institutions purport to offer.

We continue our Daniel series next beginning with Daniel 5:9. …”his countenance changed him.” Now THAT is a significant understatement.

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.

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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.