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.
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!
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.”
verse 15 Nebuchadnezzar boasted:
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
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!
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.
will never leave you nor forsake you’ (Heb
but, might we opt to leave Him?
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!
think so small yet our God is so big. Oswald
commenting on the occasion when Peter walked on the water to meet
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,
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.
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.
& 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.
1 Peter 2:13-14 Peter
“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
Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God
rather than men.”
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!
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
heated 7 times greater- interesting!
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
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
Later in the book of Romans Paul was to say:
“For me to die is gain but to live is Christ
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.
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.
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
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I
have overcome the world.” (John
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
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
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.
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
victims were stripped to humiliate them, yet here the king is so
cross he just wants them thrown in.
= undergarments, Hats
= a turban of some description; other garments =
robes of office;
= 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
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.
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.
these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down
bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
verse could lend support to the idea that the opening was at the top.
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.
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.
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…
answered and said, But I see four men loose, walking in the midst of
the fire, and they have no hurt…..
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
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.
the form of the fourth is like the Son of God
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
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)
The Aramaic word used is equivalent of the Hebrew ‘Eloheim’ and
is not the same as ‘Bar-Eloheim’ (sons of God) usually translated
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.
Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king.
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.
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?
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).
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”.
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.
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?
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?
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.”
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”
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
day God will find a way of asking you ‘Do you trust Me?” Chuck
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.
who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?’
Great question O’ king! Hmmmmn?
“He who seeks finds”! (Luke
Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
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.
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
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.”
“fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the
rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”(Matt
is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
October 1871, tragedy struck Chicago as fire ravaged the city. When
it was all over, 300 people were dead and 100,000 were homeless.
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
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.”
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.
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.
sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought! My sin, not in part but
nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more, Praise the Lord, praise
the Lord, O my soul!
me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live: If Jordan above me
pang shall be mine, for in death as in life Thou wilt whisper Thy
peace to my soul.
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!
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.
well, with my soul, It is well, with my soul, It is well, it is
well, with my soul.
Recall in our previous article that Daniel had just made a plea with his Babylonian trainer Ashpenaz. We learned that “An inscription was found on a monument that is now housed in the Berlin museum” confirming the person of Ashpenaz; the inscription reads: “Ashpenaz, master of the king’s eunuchs” confirming the historical (secular) accuracy of Daniel. Daniel did not wish to violate his Hebrew culture and Judaism.
And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? Then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. The prince’s fear is certainly justified! As we will see in the following chapters, Ol’ King Neb had a habit of cutting people to pieces and turning their house into a dunghill! This was just too risky an experiment regardless of how much Ashpenaz liked Daniel. We should also note Daniel was with “others” in the same situation. They are not mentioned by name other than Daniel’s three other teenage captives from Judah we know as Shadrach, Meshach and Aben-nego.
Then said Daniel to (the) Mel[t]zar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel,
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Not wanting to take ‘no’ for an answer, Daniel then goes to Melzar, that is, the guard– this is what the Jews call ‘hutspa’. This is a little like “mommy says ‘no’ so let’s ask daddy!” This is the young teenager character of Daniel revealing itself though he is Spirit lead life. The word “Melzar” is not actually a name but a position; a title. King James calls this guard a “steward.” Strong’s interpretation makes it similar to what one would call a “butler”; i.e. melzar
Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse [vegetables & perhaps kosher meat] to eat, and water to drink. (Isaiah 61:11 – vegetables/pulse) This time Daniel suggests a 10 day trial. Pulse is not like it sounds! It would be vegetables and possibly kosher meat, but not meat sacrificed to idols.
13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them [pulse] ten days.
The proof of the pudding is in the eating I’m not sure if ‘consented’ means ‘gave in’. The Hebrew word used for consented is shâma‛. It means to be intelligent about it.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
16 Thus Mel[t]zar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
Can anyone imagine how this went down with all the other Hebrew and possibly foreign captives! In all seriousness, this may have been the start of Daniel’s unpopularity with his colleagues that we see fester and grow in our subsequent chapters. He demonstrates that he is already a “take charge” guy and convincing. Again, note this verse states “than all the children” who were subject to this training. We also should note that the others in training did eat of the non-kosher foods.
As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
We strive so often to gain knowledge but without much understanding. Awareness – Knowledge – Understanding [Desire then Action]. It is the Lord who increases knowledge and gives understanding. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Proverbs 1:7) Only a short while ago Daniel and his friends were being taken captive and led to a foreign land uncertain of their future. But like Joseph in Egypt they remained true to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He gave them favor exalting them in due time.
“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:6-7)
18 Now at the end of the days [3 years]that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
“For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another” (Ps 75:6-7)
What is in a Name
Notice that Daniel uses their Hebrew names! “We will not let go of the truth we know.” Perhaps this also suggests that the Israelites were God’s chosen from all mankind thus the use of their Hebrew names, not the gentile ones the Babylonians gave to them. This brings to mind the old hymn “There’s a New Name Written Down in Glory.” Perhaps the composer/lyrics of this song had insight we don’t entertain. Once we are saved we get a new name and IT is written down in heaven (Burl Ives wrote the lyrics to this song)
And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. Ten times better? This can only mean they were standouts. This surely added to the contempt of three years earlier when Daniel convinced the Mel[t]zer for exception to the food they ate. Now it included ALL of the king’s magicians and *astrologers; not just the other captive Hebrews boys held for three years of training.
Next article we meet the magicians & astrologers again, but now in chapter 2, so we’ll talk about them there, but regardless Daniel was ten times better. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him.” (2 Chronicles 16:9)
*See appendix per astrologers.
Here is an ahamoment for some and a reminder to those who have followed the articles in ahabiblemoments.com. Many times we read right through bible verbiage not catching its total context. History is not comprised of the bible as a religion and culture or nations and history. They are one and the same thing. The bible records history just as a study in high school or college would be if the topic was Middle East History. The following comes from the History of the Medes, neighbors of the Babylonians and Persians.
The Medes were an people of Indo-Iranian (Aryan) origin who inhabited the western and north-western portion of present-day Iran. [Babylon would be near the eastern portion of present-day Iran (Persia) but in Iraq] By the 6th century BC (prior to the Persian invasion) the Medes were able to establish an empire that stretched from Aran (the modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan) to Central Asia and Afghanistan. Today’s population of the western part of the Iranian Plateau (including many Persian-speakers, Kurds and Azeris) consider themselves to be descended from the ancient Medes.
Apart from a few personal names, the language of the Medes is almost entirely unknown. It was most likely similar to the Avestan and Scythian languages. [Scyths are descended from dispersed Jews from Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. Many are those who remained behind after the Judeans were released by King Cyrus of Babylon to return to their homelands. Take note of the six tribes that made up the people of the Medes. Pay particular attention to the sixth tribe listed below. Now think of the birth days of Jesus]
The Six Median Tribes
Herodotus lists the names of six Mede tribes or castes. Some of these are similar to tribal names of the Scythians, suggesting a definitive link between these two groups.
The Busae group is thought to derive from the Persian term buza meaning indigenous (i.e. not Iranian). Whether this was based on an originally Iranian term, or their own name, is unknown.
The second group is called the Paraetaceni, or Parae-tak-(eni) in Persian, and denotes nomadic inhabitants of the mountains of Paraetacene. This name recalls the Scythian Para-la-ti, the people of Kolaxis, believed to represent the common people in general, but whom Herodotus calls the “Royal Scythians”.
The third group is called Strukhat.
The fourth group is the Arizanti, whose name is derived from the words Arya (noble), and Zantu (tribe, clan).
The fifth group were the Budii, found also among the Black Sea Scythians as Budi-ni. Buddha was of the tribe Budha, the Saka (eastern Scythian) form of the name.
The sixth tribe were the Magi…They were a hereditary caste of priests of the Zurvanism religion that evolved out of Zoroastrianism [astrology]. The name Magi implies a link with the Sumerians, who called their language Emegir, over time becoming simplified to Magi. Hungarian tradition also traces pre-European Magyar (Hungarian) ancestry back to the Magi. In time, the Sumerian-influenced religion of the Magi was suppressed in favor of a more purely Iranian form of Zoroastrianism, itself evolved from its somewhat dualist beginnings into the monotheistic faith that it is today (also known as Parsi-ism).
The following study notes (by Assistant Pastor Barry Forder) were used for Deal Christian Fellowship’s Monday night Bible studies during autumn – winter 2006.
The notes have been ‘tidied up’ to make them easier to read and understand. Additional comments, charts and graphs have been added where appropriate.
Whilst every care has been taken with grammar and spelling, these are only notes and as such are not intended to be a literary classic!
The real aim of these notes is to stimulate the reader to pursue their own study on the verses, issues and topics covered. There is no greater task that can be undertaken in this life than to seek to understand God’s Word. All other achievements in the Christian life will bear much more fruit if they are firmly rooted in the soil of God’s Word. “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hears the word, and understands it; which also bears fruit, and brings forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Matt 13:23)
We Teach – You Decide
Northern Michigan Bible School
As always, the reader is encouraged to be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, who ‘received the word with all readiness, and searched the scriptures daily to see whether these things were so’. In other words, don’t just take these notes as fact – check it out yourself. Let the word of God alone be the standard by which that you judge things.
Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 2:15
The book of Daniel is one of the best-loved books of the Bible; it gives us the events of ‘Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and the fiery furnace’ and ‘Daniel in the lion’s den’ – histories that many of us learned and loved at Sunday school. However the years have come and gone and we so often tend to just skip over those quaint little histories without them having any real impact on our lives; however, I believe that once we have completed a serious verse-by-verse study of this amazing book we will never be the same. This book gives us real perspective, it helps us to see things the way that God sees them – the way Daniel saw them.
Daniel, whose name means ‘God is my judge’, was just a teenager, probably about 14 or 15 when the Babylonian army, led by king Nebuchadnezzar, came and took him, his friends and about 10,000 others of the brightest and royalty of Judah away from all they knew, and carried them away into a distant land to a culture and language they did not know. It’s hard for us to imagine the feelings and emotions of a young teenager being taken from the security of a family, not knowing if he would ever see them again.
Although we are told that there was *not a righteous **man in Jerusalem at that time (Jeremiah 5:1; Jeremiah 8:5-6), (*the reason for God bringing His judgment upon the Kingdom of Judah), it would seem that there were still some God-fearing mothers, for Daniel and his friends had been brought up to know and fear God and even their names were a continual reminder of the God of Israel. But would that be enough? After all, how many young people today, after seeing all that Daniel saw, and enduring all he endured, would make a stand for God in the midst of a pagan culture? How many of our young people leave home and go to the University of ‘Babylon’ somewhere in America, where secular humanism rules, and find their once vibrant faith destroyed as they become ‘free’ to do what they want, as the moral constraints and stability of a loving family (church and/or home) become just memories? And how many of us can truly say, as we are thrust out into the world every Monday morning, that we desire purity more than worldly pleasure? **Bar-mitzveh is at age 13 but military life begins at age 20.
Do we really fear God and shun evil as did Job? (Job 1:8). Do we run from temptation like Joseph? (Gen 39:12). Do we find ourselves dropping the odd expletive (Col 3:8), telling a ‘funny’ course joke to our colleagues so that we will fit into the crowd (Eph 5:4), maybe telling the odd little ‘white’ lie (Col 3:9). “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:10-11). Were you in church praising God last Sunday, and then blending right back into the world on Monday? I heard of a man who went up to a Christian once and asked: ‘You’re a Christian aren’t you?’ The Christian replied ‘That’s for you to tell me’ – i.e. it should be obvious to all around us. Too many Christians act as secret agents, never wanting to blow their cover.
Daniel hadn’t been in Babylon long before they could tell what the most important thing in his life really was. It is my earnest prayer and desire that by the time we reach the end of this study, we too can say along with Daniel that we have ‘purposed in our hearts that we will not defile ourselves’ – no matter what the cost.
Dr Chuck Missler makes an incredible statement that he urges all of us to challenge, he says:
“ We are living at a time in history about which the Bible says more than it does about the time that Jesus walked the shores of Galilee or climbed the mountains of Judea”
Does the Bible really say more about the days we are living in than it does about the time of Jesus? If it does, then a study of this book will be one of the most important and timely ventures that we can undertake. May God richly bless you as you read and study His word!
General notes about the book
The book of Daniel records the collapse of the nation of Israel and the beginning of the ‘times of the gentiles’ – a period of time that will last until the Messiah returns to set up His kingdom and re-establish Israel. “And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon hath declared how God at the firstdid visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After thisI will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up” (Acts 15:13-16)
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, untilthe time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. (Luke 13:34-35)
“And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2:2-4)
NOTE: We will deal more fully with this whole idea of ‘Replacement Theology’ – the lie that God is finished with Israel – in part 2 (chapters 7-12) of our Daniel study.
As we will see, the book of Daniel is very much a book of prophecy, foretelling the history of the world in advance; from the time of the Babylonian empire of Nebuchadnezzar, to the final worldly empire of Antichrist; then ultimately into the Millennial reign of Jesus.
A simple chart per the life of Israel:
Creation is around 6,000 BC; the beginning of time [Genesis 1:4, 5]
Flood happened 1657 years later; 10 Generations from Adam to Noah
Noah to Abraham is also 10 generations; sometime around 2,000 BC
Exiled in Egypt 400+ years
400 or so years under the judges but Tribal connections were a confederacy
Kings of a united Israelis, Saul David and Solomon
Nation of Israel becomes Northern and Southern kingdoms; Israel and Judah
Assyrians disperse the 10 northern tribes around 722 BC by Assyrians
Judah is captured by Nebuchadnezzar 606, 597, & 586 BC
70 years captivity in Babylon
DANIEL reminds King Cyrus of the 70 years per Jeremiah (536 BC)
Zerubbabel takes first wave of about 50,000 back to Jerusalem-Judah now a province of Persia
70 years later Ezra takes another small group back to Jerusalem-Judah
17 years later Nehemiah takes the last group of Judeans back to Jerusalem-Judah
Daniel 11 comes into play but more on this in a later article
Note the map on the following page. Not only is the West Bank part of the Nation of Israel back around 1,000 BC, and as two kingdoms (950 to 720 BC) so is the east side of the Jordan River, today known as the country of Jordan.
This territory which is today called Jordan was the territory of the Tribes of Manasseh, Gad, and Reuben. Although this series of article is about the Book of Daniel, it would be wise to understand that “Father Abraham” had six sons through a late-life marriage with Ketur’ah [Genesis 25]. These sons Abraham did not want to mix with Isaac’s offspring so he sent them “EAST.” This would suggest that the populations in the territory Daniel spent his life is where descendants of Abraham’s six other sons and where he told them to go and occupy.
The book of Daniel is one of the best-loved books of the Bible; it gives us the events of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego and the fiery furnace, Daniel in the lion’s den, Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams of a great nation (statue), and is the setting for the Book of Esther – stories that many of us learned and loved at Sunday school. However the years have come and gone and we so often tend to just skip over those quaint little histories without them having any real impact on our lives. I believe that once we have completed a serious chapter by chapter, topic by topic putting all into a historical context and the study of this amazing book, we will never be the same. This book gives us real perspective, it helps us to see things the way that God sees them – the way Daniel saw them AND the way we will see them as we near total social and political correctness per global opinions but all without God.
Daniel, whose name means ‘God is my judge’, was just a teenager, perhaps about 14, when the Babylonian army, led by king Nebuchadnezzar, came and took him, his friends and about 10,000 others of the brightest and royalty of Judah away from all they knew. They were carried them away into a distant land to a culture and language they did not know. It’s hard for us to imagine the feelings and emotions of a 14 (or so) year old young teenager being taken from the security of a family, not knowing if he would ever see them again.
Although we are told that there was not a righteous man in Jerusalem at that time (Jer 5:1; Jer 8:5-6), (hence the reason for God bringing His judgment), it would seem that there were still some God-fearing mothers, for Daniel and three of his teenage friends were brought up to know and fear God and even their names were a continual reminder of the God of Israel. But would that be enough? After all, how many young people today, after seeing all that Daniel saw, and enduring all he endured, would make a stand for God in the midst of a pagan culture?
How many of our young people leave home and go to the University of ‘Babylon’, where secular humanism rules, and find their once and hope filled faith destroyed as they become ‘free’ to do what they want? The moral constraints and stability of a home family (church and/or home) become just memories? And how many of us can truly say, as we back into the world every Monday morning, that we desire purity more than worldly pleasure?
Do we really fear God and shun evil as did Job? (Job 1:8). Do we run from temptation like Joseph? (Gen 39:12). Do we find ourselves dropping the odd expletive (Col 3:8), telling a ‘funny’ course joke to our colleagues so that we will fit into the crowd (Eph 5:4), maybe telling the occasional little ‘white’ lie (Col 3:9). “Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Does a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” (James 3:10-11). Were you in church praising God this past Sunday then blending right back into the world on Monday? (Romans 12:1) I heard of a man who went up to a Christian once and asked: “You’re a Christian aren’t you?” The Christian replied “What makes you think that” It should be obvious to all around us. Too many Christians act as secret agents, never wanting to blow their cover.
Daniel wasn’t in Babylon long before the Babylonians could tell what was the most important thing in his life. It is my earnest prayer and desire that by the time we reach the end of this study, we too can say along with Daniel that we have ‘purposed in our hearts that we will not defile ourselves’ – no matter what the cost. No this is not the Nike-Colin Kaepernick “no matter what the cost” appeal. Their purpose is just another example of a degenerating America and profiteering. What Kaepernick, a multi-million dollar man is protesting is against the very institution that allowed him opportunity to become a wealthy man with the right to protest.
Our Christian stance at “no matter the cost” is talking about eternal things, not check book balances, TV spotlight time or fifteen minutes of camera attention. It does suggest that within Mark 8:36…”to gain the whole world but lose one’s soul” there is a deep meaning most today wish to ignore or deny…perhaps never had a clue.