STUDY OF DANIEL
In every chapter of Daniel thus far we have seen the great conflict controversy theme illustrated.
In Chapter I, the issue in controversy was Obedience To God versus obedience to man.
In Chapter 2, we are shown that God will ultimately triumph in the great controversy.
In Chapter 3, we are introduced to the other main issue in the Book of Daniel over which there are conflicts; the issue of
Here, we have an attempt to impose false worship. We see four Hebrew youths standing firmly for God when the whole world worships falsely.
Remember, the stories in the Book of Daniel illustrate the crisis that God’s people will experience at the close of earth’s history. Daniel and his three friends were tempted to worship falsely in Ancient Babylon, yet resisted: Likewise God’s people in the last days will be commanded to worship falsely, but will refuse. They will have such a solid relationship with God that no one can compel them to worship falsely.
The parallels between Daniel 3 and Revelation 13 are striking.
In this lesson we will examine carefully the story in Daniel 3 and consider a few of the general parallels to Revelation 13. However, in future lessons, we will examine in much greater detail the parallels between Daniel 2 and Revelation 13, and how they impact our day.
The events of Daniel 3 occurred several years after those of Chapter 2, when Daniel interpreted King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the great image, and the king acknowledged Daniel’s God as a God of Gods.
Although Chapter 2 ends with Nebuchadnezzar apparently beginning to follow the true God, Chapter 3 provides evidence that he no longer is doing so. Nebuchadnezzar, like many of us, slipped back into his former ways.
3:1) tells us what kind of image Nebuchadnezzar set up.
In defiance of God, Nebuchadnezzar made an image all of gold to indicate his kingdom would last forever. This image was the opposite of the image of Daniel 2, which was made up of various metals and indicated a succession of empires. A cubit was about 18 inches, which would make the image about ninety feet high or 60 cubits and nine feet wide. It was erected on the plains of Dura and would have been an imposing sight.
3:2,3) gives us an idea of who all were invited to the dedication of the image. “The the the the the the the and all the rulers of the provinces”.
Most key leaders in the realm of Babylon were invited to the dedication of this statue.
There had recently been a rebellion in Babylon and the king questioned the loyalty of his subjects. The dedication of the image would be an opportunity for everyone in the realm to pledge their loyalty to the government.
Not to bow down would be considered treason. Only Daniel’s three friends stood firm for God.
tells us that at the sound of all kinds of music, everyone was to fall down and worship the golden image, and whoever did not worship the golden image, would be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Notice: The issue here in Daniel 3 was the false worshiping of the golden image.
In the second commandment forbade false worship.
“Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image… .
Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them.”
The Chaldeans brought charges that certain Jews, “They serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image.”
Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego must have stood out very prominently when the entire crowd bowed down at the sound of music. It would have been very easy to rationalize that they weren’t really worshiping the image if they bowed down. This would have shown their loyalty to the king, but they knew that loyalty to God was involved. Therefore, they would not bow down.
For the three Hebrews to bow down and worship the golden image would be disobedience to a commandment of God. Notice that the issue of worship and obedience to the commandment of God are both illustrated in the story. Remember too, that the focal point of Daniel is the last Later, in this lesson as we compare this chapter with the Book of Revelation, we will see that the time will come in the last days when true worship will be forbidden.
People will be commanded to worship contrary to God’s commandments, but His people must always be obedient.
In Shadrack, Meshach and Abendego are brought before King Nebuchadnezzar and he tells them “You shall be cast… . into the midst of a burning fiery furnace”. Here, Nebuchadnezzar is giving the three Hebrews a second chance. He could have had them thrown in at their first refusal to worship.
In the three answer with: “We are not careful to answer thee in this matter”.
This expression simply means that they did not need a long time to think about it. Before they came to the plain of Dura, they had made the decision that they would not yield, no matter how they were threatened.
Nothing could intimidate them to worship falsely. Obedience to God was more important than a display of loyalty to the king that involved false worship. How did the three Hebrews respond to Nebuchadnezzar’s offer of a second chance?
“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace… . but if not… . we will not worship thy gods, nor worship the golden image.”
Note: What a tremendous testimony of This is the key word in the entire passage. If God delivered them, that would be fine, but even if He didn’t, they would still serve Him. Their faithfulness to God did not depend upon their deliverance. Theirs was not a selfish obedience to God, but an obedience that sprang from a principle. So it will be with God’s people in last Whether God delivers them from persecution or even certain death is not the key factor. The only thing that really matters is that they love God and are obedient to Him.
In Nebuchadnezzar commands that the furnace be heated seven times hotter, and because of this, the soldiers who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the fiery furnace were slain from the flames of the fire.
When Nebuchadnezzar, in looked inside the furnace, he saw “They were loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and had no hurt”.
When the Hebrews were thrown into the fiery furnace, the only thing destroyed was the ropes that bound them. Rather than harming them, the fire loosed them.
In Nebuchadnezzar asked, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” Because he said, “Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire”.
(Daniel 3:25) tells us the fourth one in the fire was the Son of
God did not free the three Hebrew youth from going through the fire, but he walked through the fire with them! That’s the kind of God we have. We may undergo many trials in our lives, there may be many difficulties, but the assurance of scripture is that the Son of God walks with us through the fire. In the last days when God’s people go through the terrible trials that will come, they can have the same assurance that the three Hebrews had and know that the Son of God will walk through the fire with them.
When Nebuchadnezzar called them out of the fire, he addresses Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as “Ye servants of the most High God”. This experience gave Nebuchadnezzar a tremendous revelation of the True After seeing this display of God’s power, Nebuchadnezzar issues a decree, that not any nation, people should go against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego… because there is no other god that can deliver after this sort.
Note: God was happy that the king felt so strongly about Him, but Nebuchadnezzar had much to learn. God does not accept forced worship. Even if the government decrees that everyone should worship God, the only service acceptable to God is that which springs from a heart filled with love. God does not want people to worship Him because the government says so, but only because they have fallen in love with him.
What happened to the three Hebrews in Ancient Babylon is com- parable to events that will transpire in the last days. Revelation 13 pictures for us a parallel scene to Daniel 3.
Let’s notice the similarities:
The two-horned beast commands the people of earth “to worship the first beast”.
Note: The issue in the last days has to do with worshiping.
(1) The beast. The command to false worship is a key thought in the Book of Daniel and Revelation.
(2) After bringing fire down from heaven and performing other miracles, the beast declares the people should make image to the 13:13,
Note: Once again in Revelation an image is
(3) In the people are again asked to worship the
(4) Also in those who refuse to worship the of the should be
(5) says, “They will not be able to buy or sell unless they have the mark”.
Economic restrictions and finally a death penalty are passed upon those who refuse to worship the image of the beast or receive the mark of the beast. Lessons 10 and 24 will clearly identify the beast and his mark, as well as the image of the beast.
In this lesson we can already see that the issues are identical to Daniel 3. In both chapters people are commanded to worship an image, and are threatened with death, but they remain faithful to the commandments of God.
In (Revelation 14:7) when the beast calls for people to worship its image, God asks them to “worship Him that made Heaven and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of water”.
Note: At the same time a decree is given to worship the image to the beast, God sends a message into all the world that calls people to worship the creator. The issue of the last days is the same as the issue in Daniel’s day; that of worshiping God according to His commandments.