THE BOOK OF DANIEL
IN HEBREW & ARAMAIC
for Gentile Nations
3:1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an
image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six
cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
(made: Da 2:31,32 5:23 Ex 20:23 32:2, 3, 4,31 Dt 7:25 Jdg
8:26,27 1Ki 12:28 2Ki 19:17,18 Ps 115:4, 5, 6, 7, 8 135:15 Isa 2:20
30:22 40:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31 46:6 Jer
10:9 16:20 Ho 8:4 Hab 2:19 Ac 17:29 19:26 Rev 9:20) (in the
province: Da 3:30 2:48 Es 1:1)
Image (Aramaic tselem,
cp Hebrew = tselem) -16x Ge 1:26, 27; 5:3; 9:6; 1Sa 6:5, 11;
2Ki 11:18; 2Ch 23:17; Ps 39:6; 73:20; Eze 7:20; 16:17; 23:14; Am 5:26)
- Note that the related Hebrew word is used first in Ge 1;26, 27 (cp
Ge 9:6) describing man made in the "image" of God, next in the
description of Adam's offspring Seth "in his own likeness, according
to his image (tselem)" (Ge 5:3). The use that most directly
relates Daniel's description is Exodus 20:4 where Moses records
You shall not make for yourself an
idol (Hebrew = tselem), or any likeness of what is in heaven
above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. (Ex
20:4, cp Dt 5:8, 9, 10)
Comment: The NAS
rendering of "idol" is actually 2 words in the the Hebrew which
is more literally rendered "graven image". Carved or graven
figures are described frequently in the OT (Ex 20:4; Lv 26:1; Dt 4:16,
23, 25; 5:8; 27:15; Jdg 17:3, 4; 18:14, 17, 18, 20, 30, 31; 2Ki 21:7;
2Ch 33:7; Ps 97:7; Isa 40:19, 20; 42:17; 44:9, 10, 15, 17; 45:20;
48:5; Je10:14; 51:17; Na1:14; Hab2:18)
Bob Deffinbaugh notes
While there seems to be a
connection between the statue of chapter 2 and the image of chapter 3,
there are striking contrasts between these two representations.
Consider these contrasts:
Images of Chapter 2: (a) divine origin; (b) a vision only; (c) made of
different metals; (d) not an object of worship; (e) privately revealed
to Nebuchadnezzar; (f) fairly well described; (g) prompted king to bow
down. (h) Ended with the King acknowledging God as the God of gods and
Lord of kings.
Images of Chapter 3: (a) human origin; (b) a reality; (c) made only of
gold; (d) an object of worship; (e) revealed to all; (f) described
only generally; (g) men commanded to bow down. (h) Ended with the King
acknowledging God as the Most High God Who Alone is able to deliver...
What should Nebuchadnezzar have
learned from his dream and the interpretation of Daniel, as recorded
in Daniel 2? From that dream, he learned that the entire statue (the
Gentile kingdoms) disintegrated because a stone struck the feet which
were weak. The weakness, he was told, was due to a racial mixture in
the last kingdom. Seeking to “fix the feet” by making an idol of solid
gold and creating one religion, Nebuchadnezzar constructed the gold
image and required every race and culture to worship it.
Nebuchadnezzar may have hoped to change the course of history and
prolong the glory of his kingdom.
Nebuchadnezzar was still a pagan
though he had acknowledged the God of Daniel and his three friends as
a God of wisdom and revelation. In chapter 3, he learned that the God
of Israel was also the Deliverer of His people. What the king did not
take seriously enough was the Stone, the real cause of the statue’s
destruction and the Creator of the new, eternal, kingdom which
replaced Gentile rule. Rather than “fix the feet,” he needed to fall
at the feet of the “Stone,” Jesus Christ. Nebuchadnezzar did not yet
grasp the sovereignty of God over history. Although he was told the
dream and its interpretation were trustworthy (2:45), he still
believed he could change the course of history. (Faith
and the Furnace)
The king, taken with his importance
as the golden head of the prophetic image to influence and direct the
entire sequence of kingdoms that would come after him, arrogantly
constructed his manufactured image entirely of gold, in effect
proclaiming himself as destined to be the greatest man in world
Of gold - Most
likely this image was not solid gold but overlaid with gold, a
practice described in Isa 40:19; Jer 10:3, 4. Some commentators feel
that Nebuchadnezzar was deifying himself by making this image.
six cubits - If a cubit is about 18" (elbow to tip of hand) the
height would have been about 90' or higher that the average telephone
pole and about 9 feet wide. Picture this image with a height to width
ratio of 10 to 1 which would make it a very narrow image, analogous to
Guzik comments that...
The image was more like a stylized
obelisk than a normal statue, being 90 feet high and 9 feet wide.
Being so large, it is safe to say that it was not made of solid gold
but probably wood overlaid with gold. This was a common method of
construction in the ancient world. "On the plains of Dura there stands
today, a rectilinear mound, about twenty feet high, an exact square of
about forty-six feet at the base, resembling the pedestal of a
colossal statue." (Heslop) (Ref)
As an aside the dimensions of
the statue are another substantiation that Daniel was written in the
6th Century BC, because the Babylonian system of mathematics was based
upon 6’s (See discussion of
sexagesimal [base sixty])
whereas the Greek system was somewhat similar to our decimal system
which uses 10's (See discussion of
It is intriguing that the Babylonian legacy of sexagesimal still
survives in our day in the form of degrees (360° in a circle or 60° in
an angle of an equilateral triangle), minutes (60 in an hour), and
seconds (60 in a minute) in trigonometry and the measurement of time,
although both of these systems are actually mixed radix. Recall how
the statue of Daniel 2 was a "unit" composed of successive kingdoms,
implying that various facets of each of these kingdoms endured to the
"foot and toe stage" but which will be totally obliterated by the
victorious return of Christ to defeat all Gentile powers and influence
in new Messianic age.
It is also worth noting that the
statue was 60 and 6 cubits, since most authorities agree
that from a Biblical perspective 6 is the number of man who was
created on the 6th day (Ge 1:26, 27) (see
Six: Man’s Incompleteness, Human
Will), whereas 7 is the number of perfection or
completion, leaving man always one integer short. And so it is not
surprising that the last "world leader" of the Gentile kingdoms, the
Antichrist, is identified in Revelation 13 by a series of "6's"...
And he (the
deceives those who dwell on the earth ("Earth
Dwellers") because of the signs which it was given him
to perform in the presence of the beast, telling those who dwell on
the earth to make an image to the beast (The
Antichrist) who had
the wound of the sword and has come to life. 15-note
And there was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast,
Image of Beast..
Also see all 10 uses of "image" 8 verses in Revelation = Re 14:9-note,
[where worship = proskuneo
is used in
of Da 3:5], Re 15:2-note,
that the image of the beast might even speak and cause as many
as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16-note
And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor,
and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right
hand, or on their forehead, 17-note
and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except
the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number
of his name. 18-note Here is wisdom. Let him who has
understanding calculate the number of the beast (the Antichrist, for
the number is that of a man; and his number is six hundred
and sixty-six (666).
Tony Garland observes that "Among the enemies of God marked by the
number six: we find Goliath, whose height was six cubits, having six
pieces of armor and a spear’s head weighing six hundred shekels of
iron (1Sa 17:4, 5, 6, 7); Nebuchadnezzar, whose “image” was sixty
cubits high and six cubits wide (Da 3:1); and Antichrist, whose number
is six hundred and sixty-six (Re 13:18). Even Solomon at the height of
his earthly glory received a mere six hundred and sixty-six talents of
gold (1Ki 10:14) each year and sat on a throne of only six steps (1K.
10:19). Solomon, in his advanced human wisdom, great power and
influence, but eventual drift from God, illustrates characteristics
shared by the Antichrist of the end. Throughout history, the best that
man can produce by every available means and effort of rebellious will
is “666” which falls short of God’s triune completeness (“777”). (Six
- Man’s Incompleteness, Human Will)
Note that "image" (of the
Antichrist) is a key word in the Revelation and for some who worshiped
the image it resulted in eternal death (Re 14:11-note)
and for others who refused to worship the image, it resulted in
temporal death and eternal life (not that it "earned" them eternal
life but demonstrated they had genuine saving faith) (Re 20:4-note)
Revelation 13 tells us of a
coming day when the pressure to "Bow or burn (be beheaded)" will be
intense. At that time Daniel 3 will surely be a source of great
encouragement to the faithful remnant who refuse to bow while most
willingly worship the image of the Antichrist. Indeed, the faithful
remnant will hearken to Christ's word's to...
Be faithful until death, and I will
give you the crown of life (Rev. 2:10-note)
Plain of Dura - Dura
means "walked place". In such a
flat location the statue would be unimpeded by hills or knolls and
thus would be readily visible from quite a distance, an awesome site
sparkling in the radiant sunlight. In 1863 the French archeologist
Jules Oppert discovered a pedestal 6
miles SE of Babylon with dimensions of 45’ square and 20’ in height. Oppert
felt that this was a possible site of Nebuchadnezzar's image, but
there is no further evidence to substantiate this premise.
Keep the context in mind,
recalling what Nebuchadnezzar "fell on his face and did homage (this
is the same Aramaic word "cegid" rendered worship in Da 3:5) in
(Da 2:46) declaring to Daniel that "Surely your God is a God of gods
and a Lord of kings." (Da 2:47). And in face of a God glorifying
declaration, the king now seeks to glorify the golden image (possibly
of himself although that his not clearly stated).
While not stated in the Aramaic,
the Jewish translators of this verse added a notation that may help us
understand Nebuchadnezzar's actions, this notation suggesting that the
events of Daniel 3 may be some 15 years after the events of Daniel 2.
In his eighteenth year
Nabuchodonosor the king made a golden image, its height was sixty
cubits, its breadth six cubits: and he set it up in the plain of Deira,
in the province of Babylon (Brenton's English Translation of
the Septuagint of Theodoret)
Nebuchadnezzar assumed the
throne of Babylon in about 605BC which (if one accepts the the
dating as accurate) would place the events in Daniel 3 in about 587 or
586BC very near the final destruction of Jerusalem (2Ki 25:8). The Net
Bible note alludes to the Septuagint but then makes the comment that
"there seems to be no real basis for associating the events of
3 with this date." Clearly, one has to be careful not to be dogmatic
in dating Daniel 3 and in so doing miss the point that these events
are clearly related to the "single great statue" of Daniel 2.
The upshot is that since the time is not specified in the original
Aramaic text, it is not critical for one's understanding of Daniel 3
(or God would have given it)! The statement in Da 3:12 that "There are
certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the
province of Babylon" support the fact that there was little time lapse
between Daniel 2 and Daniel 3.
C I Scofield feels
The attempt of this great king of
Babylon to unify the religions of his empire by self-deification will
be repeated by the beast, the last head of the Gentile world-dominion
Rev 13:11-15 See note on "Beast, the" Da 7:8" See Re 19:20" It has
repeatedly characterized Gentile authority in the earth, e.g. Dan 6:7;
Acts 12:22 and the later Roman emperors.
Key Words in Daniel 3 -
Image - 11x in 10v - Da 3:1,
2, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 15, 18
Set up - 11x in 8v - Da 3:1,
2, 3, 5, 7, 12, 14, 18
Fall down (fell down) - 6x
in 6v - Da 3:5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 15
Worship (worshiped) - 10x in
11v - Da 3:5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 18, 28
Serve - 5x in 5v - Da 3:12,
14, 17, 18, 28
Horns, etc ("Music") - 4x in
4v - Da 3:5, 7, 10, 15
Just from observing these key
words and phrases one can see that one of the major themes of Daniel 3
has to do with worship and specifically idol (image) worship.
Nebuchadnezzar is not just asking the leaders to physically bow down,
but his goal is that they worship and serve his gods (Da 3:12, 14). He
knows that what a person worships is intimately linked with the
"god" that they serve. And so it is not surprising that in the
Old Testament, we repeatedly see idolatry associated with
worship and serve (Ex 20:5, 23:24, Dt 4:19, 5:9, 8:19,
11:16, 17:3, 29:26, 30:17, 1Ki 9:6, 9, 16:31, 22:53, 2Ki 10:23, 17:16,
21:3, 21, 2Chr 7:19, 22, 33:3, Je 8:2, 25:6, Da 3:12, 14, 18, 28).
Notice also the important role of music in worship, in this
case false worship. Does the modern church really recognize the vital
role that music plays in preparing our hearts for worship of
God in spirit and in truth (Jn 4:23, 24-note)?
I fear the 21st century church in America is drifting away from the
singing of theologically rich psalms and hymns and spiritual songs (Ep
failing to recognize the important role of "deeper" bibliocentric
lyrics (which can still have a good beat!) in teaching sound doctrine
to the saints (cp Col 3:16-note).
Warren Wiersbe notes
Nebuchadnezzar was wise to use
instrumental music because it could stir the people’s emotions and
make it easy for him to manipulate them and win their submission and
obedience. Throughout history, music and song have played an important
role in strengthening nationalism, motivating conquest, and inspiring
people to act. Music has the power so to grip human thoughts and
emotions that people are transformed from being free agents into
becoming mere puppets. The English poet William Congreave wrote that
“music has charms to soothe a savage breast,” but music also has power
to release the savage in the breast. Music can be used as a wonderful
tool and treasure from the Lord or as a destructive weapon from Satan.
(Wiersbe, W. W. Be Resolute)
As we consider the response
of the three Hebrew boys, we need to remember that Judah was in
captivity for two reasons: (1) Not keeping the Sabbath years for 490
years (2Chr 36:20, 21, Jer 25:11, 12, cp God's law Lv 25:3,4, God had
prophesied their disobedience Lv 26:33, 34, 35) and (2) Worshiping and
serving idols rather than being solely devoted to the living God (2Chr
36:14, 15, 16, 17, speaking of Jeshurun = "Upright One" = Israel Dt
32:15, 16, 17, 18, 19 - Observe in v15 what predisposed Israel to
pursuing idolatry). It is fascinating that the Jews wanted idols more
than they wanted God and so God gave them what they wanted by giving
them over to Babylon, the birthplace of idolatry, so that they
might "get their fill" of their "heart's desire"! Beloved, if we as NT
believers persist in pursuing what God warns us not to pursue, we run
the danger (after His repeated warnings) that one day He no longer
provides a remedy but gives us over to what we have been willfully,
rebelliously pursuing! Woe!
The 3 Hebrew boys would also
know that God had commanded Israel that...
You shall have no other gods
before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol (cp
Nebuchadnezzar's golden image), or any likeness of what is in heaven
above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You
shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the LORD
your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on
the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who
hate Me. (Ex 20:3, 4, 5)
One of many dangers of idols is
that in worshiping and serving them, we become like them, the psalmist
Those who make them will become
like them, everyone who trusts in them. O Israel, trust in the LORD;
He is their help and their shield. (Ps 115:8, 9)
Notice in this Psalm the
"antidote" for not becoming like the godless idols is to trust
In another psalm the writer
plainly states the danger of idols...
And served their idols, which
became a snare to them. They even sacrificed their sons and
their daughters to the demons, and shed innocent blood, The blood of
their sons and their daughters, whom they sacrificed to the idols of
Canaan; and the land was polluted with the blood. Thus they became
unclean in their practices, and played the harlot in their deeds. (Ps
106:36, 37, 38, 39)
Idols are a snare or trap, and
lure us into practices that are abominable to God, a veritable "stench
in His nostrils"! Such unfaithful behavior is pictured in this psalm
and throughout the OT as playing the harlot or going "a whoring" (Ex
34:15KJV, Ex 34:16KJV, Lev 17:7KJV, God's prophecy which Israel
fulfilled - Dt 31:16KJV, Jdg 2:17KJV, 1Chr 5:25KJV, Ezek 33:30KJV)
The subtle attraction to images
is dramatically illustrated in the familiar event in Numbers 21 when
the children of God sinned causing God to send fiery serpents among
So the people came to Moses and
said, "We have sinned, because we have spoken against the LORD and
you; intercede with the LORD, that He may remove the serpents from
us." And Moses interceded for the people. Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come
about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he shall
live. And Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on the standard; and
it came about, that if a serpent bit any man, when he looked to the
bronze serpent, he lived. (Nu 21:7, 8, 9).
Jesus referred to this OT shadow
Study of Biblical types)
as pointing to His being lifted up on the Cross...
And as Moses lifted up the serpent
in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up that
whoever believes may in Him have eternal life. (Jn 3:14, 15)
In Numbers those who were bitten
had to exercise faith and look (faith is an action verb) at the symbol
in order to preserve their physical life. Jesus says that just as the
Israelites did not die physically because of the exercise of their
faith (that event did not convey spiritual rebirth), in a similar way,
as men "bitten" by the sting suffered spiritual death, they could be
"healed" by "looking" (cp Isa 45:22KJV) to Jesus, by believing in Him
for eternal life.
(Read C H Spurgeon's miraculous testimony
of the new birth when he "looked" to Jesus!)
Some 700-800 years later we read
the story of godly King Hezekiah of the southern kingdom of Judah (the
10 northern tribes = "Israel" had no godly kings) who...
removed the high places and broke
down the sacred pillars and cut down the
(the places where abominable acts
of idolatrous "worship" were being performed, many of these acts
associated with forbidden sexual practices common to the Canaanites -
see discussion of association of idolatry
with immorality - From idolatry to immorality is
just one short step. If man is his own god, then he can do whatever he
pleases and fulfill his desires without fear of judgment.). He also
broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, for
until those days the sons of Israel burned incense to it; and it was
called Nehushtan (a "worthless piece of brass"). (2Kings 18:4)
Thus we see the attraction of
our fallen flesh to images and the perversion of what God intended to
be a good thing, but which Israel had turned into idol worship for
almost 800 years! And beloved, lest we be too hard on Israel for their
foolish, rebellious behavior, we need to remember that Israel's
behavior is often a picture of our own fallen flesh. Flesh in our
modern world is just as evil as in ancient Israel. It's just that we
have changed the names of our idols to things like plenty (money,
wealth), possessions, pleasure (entertainment, sports, etc), people,
pride (position, power, prestige), etc. We as NT believers must learn
from Israel's sins (1Co 10:6, 11) and remember that...
the flesh sets its desire against
the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in
opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you
please. (Galatians 5:17-note)
And so it not surprising that
the NT gives us clear commands regarding idols...
Therefore, my beloved,
= command to
do this continually because we are continually prone to be ensnared by
idols!) from idolatry (eidololatreia
= Command to do this now. Do it effectively. The command is urgent
because the danger is great!) from their midst and be separate,” says
the Lord. “And do not
= command to do this continually
because we are continually vulnerable to touch unclean things
including idols!) what is unclean (including anything that smacks of
idolatry) and I will welcome you. (2 Co 6:17).
= Command to do this now. Do it effectively. The command is urgent
because the danger is great!) yourselves from idols. (1Jn 5:21)
Remember that anything or anyone
that comes between you and God is an idol. Anything or anyone you are
more devoted to than God is an idol. We need to continually do a heart
check (Pr 4:23-note)
because to the corrupting, destructive effects of idolatry. I think
the 3 Hebrew lads had done their heart check in this chapter. What
idols are you worshiping dear believer? Cast them out. Repent. Seek
His face and His forgiveness and He will welcome you with intimate
Remember that your attitudes,
choices and behavior will be determined by one of two "compasses",
either external pressure or internal principle. These
Hebrew lads were enabled to stand strong because they stood on
internal (Biblically based) principles.
And in case you think you don't
have any idols, note Paul's sweeping definition of idolatry...
- Do this now! Do it effectively! It is urgent!) the members of your
earthly body as dead
impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to
idolatry. (Colossians 3:5 -note)
As Paul explains greed or
covetousness is synonymous with idolatry because it places
selfish desire above obedience to God.
The individual whose life is
dominated by the desire to get things has set up things in the place
of God and that is the essence of idolatry.
Covetousness is also the root cause
of all sin, because when people sin, it is basically people doing what
they desire, rather than what God desires. This in turn amounts to
worship of self rather than worship of God, and this is the very
essence of idolatry!
Idolatry - Dictionary Articles
Idolatry and Immorality - relationship
Idols - eidolon - word study
Idolatry - eidololatreia - word
Idolater - eidololatres - word
Romans 1 - Read and study Ro 1:19-32 (see
notes) which explains
the inevitable, inexorable spiritual devolution that ensues when one
rejects the truth about God, truth He has made evident to every
person. Man is made to worship and if he rejects God, he will
inevitably worship false gods but not without significant
spiritual/moral consequences - see esp Ro 1:25-note,
Forbidden -Exodus 20:2,3;
Bowing down to images -Exodus 20:5; Deuteronomy 5:9
Worshipping images -Isaiah 44:17; Daniel 3:5,10,15
Sacrificing to images -Psalms 106:38-note; Acts 7:41
Worshipping other gods -Deuteronomy 30:17; Psalms 81:9-note
Swearing by other gods -Exodus 23:13; Joshua 23:7
Walking after other gods -Deuteronomy 8:19
Speaking in the name of other gods -Deuteronomy 18:20
Looking to other gods -Hosea 3:1
Serving other gods -Deuteronomy 7:4; Jeremiah 5:19
Fearing other gods -2 Kings 17:35
Sacrificing to other gods -Exodus 22:20
Worshipping the true God by an image, -Ex 32:4, 5, 6; Ps
Worshipping angels -Colossians 2:18
Worshipping the host of heaven -Deuteronomy 4:19; 17:3
Worshipping demons -Matthew 4:9-10; Revelation 9:20
Worshipping dead men -Psalms 106:28-note
Setting up idols in the heart -Ezekiel 14:3,4
Covetousness -Ephesians 5:5; Colossians 3:5
Sensuality -Philippians 3:19
Is changing the glory of God into an image -Romans 1:23; Acts 17:29
Is changing the truth of God into a lie -Romans 1:25; Isaiah 44:20
Is a work of the flesh -Galatians 5:19,20
Incompatible with the service of God -Ge 35:2,3; Josh 24:23; 1Sa 7:3;
1Ki 18:21; 2Co 6:15,16
An abomination to God -Deuteronomy 7:25
Hateful to God -Deuteronomy 16:22; Jeremiah 44:4
Vain and foolish -Psalms 115:4-8-note; Isaiah 44:19; Jeremiah 10:3
Bloody -Ezekiel 23:39
Abominable -1Pe 4:3
Unprofitable -Judges 10:14; Isaiah 46:7
Irrational -Acts 17:29; Ro 1:21, 22, 23
Defiling -Ezekiel 20:7; 36:18
THEY WHO PRACTICE
Forget God -Deuteronomy 8:19; Jeremiah 18:15
Go astray from God- Ezekiel 44:10
Pollute the name of God -Ezekiel 20:39
Defile the sanctuary of God -Ezekiel 5:11
Are estranged from God -Ezekiel 14:5
Forsake God -2 Kings 22:17; Jeremiah 16:11
Hate God -2 Chronicles 19:2,3
Provoke God -Deuteronomy 31:20; Isaiah 65:3; Jeremiah 25:6
Are vain in their imaginations -Romans 1:21
Are ignorant and foolish -Romans 1:21,22
Inflame themselves -Isaiah 57:5
Hold fast their deceit -Jeremiah 8:5
Carried away by it -1 Corinthians 12:2
Go after it in heart -Ezekiel 20:16
Are mad upon it -Jeremiah 50:38
Boast of it -Psalms 97:7-note
Have fellowship with devils -Hosea 4:12
Ask counsel of their idols -Hosea 4:12
Look to idols for deliverance -Isaiah 44:17; 45:20
Swear by their idols -Amos 8:14
Objects of, numerous -1 Corinthians 8:5
OBJECTS OF DESCRIBED AS
Strange gods -Genesis 35:2,4; Joshua 24:20
Other gods -Judges 2:12,17; 1 Kings 14:9
New gods -Deuteronomy 32:17; Judges 5:8
Gods that cannot save -Isaiah 45:20
Gods that have not made the heavens -Jeremiah 10:11
No gods -Jeremiah 5:7; Galatians 4:8
Molten gods -Exodus 34:17; Leviticus 19:4
Molten images -Deuteronomy 27:15; Habakkuk 2:18
Graven images -Isaiah 45:20; Hosea 11:2
Senseless idols -Deuteronomy 4:28; Ps 115:5-note,
Dumb idols -Habakkuk 2:18
Dumb Stones -Habakkuk 2:19
Stocks -Jeremiah 3:9; Hosea 4:12
Abominations -Isaiah 44:19; Jeremiah 32:34
Images of abomination -Ezekiel 7:20
Idols of abomination -Ezekiel 16:36
Stumbling blocks -Ezekiel 14:3
Teachers of lies -Habakkuk 2:18
Wind and confusion -Isaiah 41:29
Nothing -Isaiah 41:24; 1Co 8:4
Helpless -Jeremiah 10:5
Vanity -Jeremiah 18:15
Vanities of the Gentiles -Je 14:22
Making idols for purpose of, described and ridiculed -Is
44:10,11,12,13,14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20
Obstinate sinners judicially given up to -Deut 4:28; 28:64; Ho 4:17
Warnings against -Deuteronomy 4:15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Exhortations to turn from -Ezekiel 14:6; 20:7; Acts 14:15
Renounced on conversion -1Th 1:9
Led to abominable sins -Ro 1:26-32; Acts 15:20
Keep from -Joshua 23:7; 1Jn 5:21
Flee from -1 Corinthians 10:14
Not have anything connected with in their houses -Deut 7:26
Not partake of any thing connected with -1Co 10:19,20
Not have religious intercourse with those who practise -Josh 23:7; 1Co
Not covenant with those who practise -Ex 34:12,15; Deuteronomy 7:2
Not intermarry with those who practise -Ex 34:16; Deut 7:3
Testify against -Acts 14:15; 19:26
Refuse to engage in, though threatened with death -Daniel 3:18
Saints preserved by God from -1 Kings 19:18; Romans 11:4
Saints refuse to receive the worship of -Acts 10:25,26; 14:11-15
Angels refuse to receive the worship of -Revelation 22:8,9
Destruction of, promised -Ezekiel 36:25; Zechariah 13:2
Everything connected with, should be destroyed -Ex 34:13; Deut 7:5;
2Sa 5:21; 2Ki 23:14
Woe denounced against -Habakkuk 2:19
Curse denounced against -Deuteronomy 27:15
Judicial death -Deut 17:2, 3, 4, 5
Dreadful judgments which end in death -Je 8:2; 16:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7,
8, 9, 10, 11
Banishment -Jeremiah 8:3; Hosea 8:5-8; Amos 5:26,27
Exclusion from heaven -1Co 6:9,10; Ep 5:5; Re 22:15
Eternal torments -Revelation 14:9-11; 21:8
Israel -Exodus 32:1; 2Ki 17:12
Philistines -Judges 16:23
Micah -Judges 17:4,5
Jeroboam -1Kings 12:28
Maachah -1Kings 15:13
Ahab -1Kings 16:31
Jezebel -1 Kings 18:19
Sennacherib -2 Kings 19:37
Manasseh -2 Kings 21:4, 5, 6, 7
Amon -2 Kings 21:21
Ahaz -2 Chronicles 28:3
Judah -Jeremiah 11:13
Nebuchadnezzar -Daniel 3:1
Belshazzar -Daniel 5:23
People of Lystra -Acts 14:11,12
Athenians -Acts 17:16
Ephesians -Acts 19:28
Asa -1 Kings 15:12
Josiah -2 Kings 23:5
Jehoshaphat -2 Chronicles 17:6
Israel -2 Chronicles 31:1
Manasseh -2 Chronicles 33:15
All forms of, forbidden by the law of Moses -Ex 20:4,5
All heathen nations given up to -Ps 96:5-note; Ro 1:23,25; 1Co 12:2
Led the heathen to think that their gods visited the earth in Bodily
shapes -Acts 14:11
Led the heathen to consider their gods to have but a local Influence
-1Ki 20:23; 2Ki 17:26
The heavenly bodies -2 Kings 23:5; Acts 7:42
Angels -Colossians 2:18
Departed spirits -1 Samuel 28:14,15
Earthly creatures -Romans 1:23
Images -Deuteronomy 29:17; Ps 115:4-note; Isaiah 44:17
Temples built for -Hosea 8:14
Altars raised for -1 Kings 18:26; Hosea 8:11
Accompanied by feasts -2 Kings 10:20; 1 Corinthians 10:27,28
OBJECTS OF, WORSHIPPED
With sacrifices -Numbers 22:40; 2 Kings 10:24
With libations -Isaiah 57:6; Jeremiah 19:13
With incense -Jeremiah 48:35
With prayer -1 Kings 18:26; Is 44:17
With singing and dancing -Ex 32:18,19; 1Ki 18:26; 1Co 10:7
By bowing to them -1 Kings 19:18; 2 Kings 5:18
By kissing them -1 Kings 19:18; Hosea 13:2
By kissing the hand to them -Job 31:26,27
By cutting the flesh -1 Kings 18:28
By burning children -Deut 12:31; 2Chr 33:6; Je 19:4,5; Ezek 16:21
In temples -2 Kings 5:18
On high places -Numbers 22:41; Jeremiah 2:20
In groves -Exodus 34:13
Under trees -Isaiah 57:5; Jeremiah 2:20
In private houses -Judges 17:4,5
On the tops of houses -2 Kings 23:12; Zephaniah 1:5
In secret places -Isaiah 57:8
Rites of, obscene and impure -Ex 32:25; Nu 25:1-3; 2Ki 17:9; Is
57:6,8,9; 1Pe 4:3
Divination connected with -2 Chronicles 33:6
Victims sacrificed in, often adorned with garlands -Acts 14:13
Practiced, in Egypt -Joshua 24:14; Ezekiel 23:3,19
Brought, out of Egypt with them -Ezekiel 23:8; Acts 7:39, 40, 41
Forbidden to practise -Exodus 20:1-5; 23:24
Often mixed up, with God’s worship -Ex 32:1, 2, 3, 4, 5; 1Ki 12:27,28
Followed the Canaanites in -Judges 2:11, 12, 13; 1 Chronicles 5:25
Followed the Moabites in -Numbers 25:1, 2, 3
Followed the Assyrians in -Ezekiel 16:28, 29, 30; 23:5, 6, 7
Followed the Syrians in -Judges 10:6
Adopted by Solomon -1 Kings 11:5-8
Adopted by the wicked kings -1Ki 21:26; 2Ki 21:21; 2Chr 28:2, 3, 4;
Example of the kings encouraged Israel in -1Ki 12:30; 2Ki 21:11; 2Chr
Great prevalence of, in Israel -Isaiah 2:8; Je 2:28; Ezek 8:10
A virtual forsaking of God -Jeremiah 2:9, 10, 11, 12, 13
The good kings of Judah endeavored to destroy -2Chr 15:16; 34:7
Captivity of Israel on account of -2 Kings 17:6-18
Captivity of Judah on account of -2 Kings 17:19, 20, 21, 22, 23
Wicked Practices of - Human
sacrifices, Lv 18:21; 20:2, 3, 4, 5; Dt. 12:31; 18:10; 2Ki 3:26,
27; 16:3; 17:17, 18; 21:6; 23:10; 2Chr. 28:3; 33:6; Ps 106:37, 38; Is
57:5; Je 7:31; 19:4, 5, 6, 7; 32:35; Ezek 16:20, 21; 20:26, 31; 23:37,
39; Mic 6:7; practices of, relating to the dead, Dt 14:1;
licentiousness of, Ex. 32:6, 25; Nu 25:1, 2, 3; 1Ki 14:24;
15:12; 2Ki. 17:30 (Succoth-benoth - “tents of the daughters” probably
indicating some deity worshiped by sexual orgies); 2Ki 23:7; Ezek.
16:17; 23:1-44; Hos 4:12, 13, 14; Amos 2:8; Mic 1:7; Ro 1:24, 26, 27;
1Co 10:7, 8; 1Pe 4:3, 4; Re 2:14, 20, 21, 22; 9:20, 21; 14:8; 17:1-6.
Other Customs of
Offered burnt offerings, Ex. 32:6; 1Ki 18:26; Acts 14:13;
libations, Is 57:6; 65:11; Je 7:18; 19:13; 32:29; 44:17, 19, 25;
Ezek 20:28; of wine, Dt 32:38; of blood, Ps 16:4; Zech
9:7; grain offerings, Is 57:6; Je 7:18; 44:17; Ezek 16:19;
peace offerings, Ex. 32:6.
Incense burned on altars,
1Ki 12:33; 2Chr 30:14; 34:25; Is 65:3; Je 1:16; 11:12, 17; 44:3;
48:35; Ezek 16:18; 23:41; Hos 11:2.
Prayers to idols, Jdg 10:14;
Isa. 44:17; 45:20; 46:7; Jonah 1:5. Praise, Jdg. 16:24; Da 5:4.
Singing and dancing, Ex. 32:18, 19.
Music, Da 3:5, 6, 7.
Cutting the flesh, 1Ki 18:28; Jer. 41:5.
Kissing, 1Ki 19:18; Hos. 13:2; Job 31:27.
Bowing, 1Ki 19:18; 2Ki 5:18.
Tithes and gifts, 2Ki 23:11; Da 11:38; Amos 4:4, 5.
Annual Feasts 1Ki 12:32;
Ezek. 18:6, 11, 12, 15; 22:9
Objects of -
Sun, moon, and stars, Dt 4:19; 2Ki 17:16; 21:3, 5; 2Chr 33:3, 5;
Job 31:26, 27,28; Je 7:17, 18, 19, 20; 8:2; Ezek 8:15, 16; Zeph 1:4,
5; Acts 7:42.
Images of angels, Col 2:18; animals, Ro 1:23.
Gods of Egypt, Ex. 12:12.
Golden calf, Ex. 32:4.
Brazen serpent, 2Ki 18:4.
Net and drag, Hab. 1:16.
Pictures, Nu 33:52; Isa. 2:16.
Pictures on walls, Ezek. 8:10.
Earrings, Ge 35:4.
Denunciations Against - Ge
35:2; Ex. 20:3-6, 23 Dt. 5:7-9. Ex. 23:13 1Co 10:7. Lv 19:4; 26:1, 30
Dt. 16:21, 22, 4:15, 16, 19, 15-23; 4:25, 26, 27, 28; 11:16, 17, 28;
28:15-68; 30:17, 18; 31:16-21, 29; 32:15-26; 1Ki 9:6-9. Dt. 12:31;
27:15 Ex. 34:17. 1Sa 15:23; Job 31:26, 27, 28; Ps 16:4; 44:20, 21;
59:8; 79:6; 81:9; 97:7; Is 42:17, 45:16. Joel 3:12; Jonah 2:8; Mic.
5:15; Hab 1:16; Ac 15:29, 20; 1Co 8:1-13. Ac 17:16; Ro 1:25; 1Co 6:9,
10; 1Co 10:14, 20, 21,22.; 1Jn 5:21; Re 21:8, 22:15.
Warnings Against, and
Punishments of - Dt. 17:2, 3, 4, 5; 2Chr. 28:23; Neh. 9:27-37; Ps
78:58-64; 106:34-42; Is 1:29-31; 2:6-22; 30:22; 57:3-13; 65:3-7; Jer.
1:15, 16; 3:1-11; 5:1-17; 7; 8:1, 2, 19; 13:9-27; 16; 17:1-6; 18:13,
14, 15; 19; 22:9; 32:35; 44; 48:8; Ezek 6:1ff; 7:19; 8:5-18; 9;
14:1-14; 16; 20; 22:4; 23; 44:10, 11, 12; Hos. 1:2; 2:2, 3, 4, 5;
4:12-19; 5:1, 2, 3; 8:5-14; 9:10; 10; 11:2; 12:11-14; 13:1-4; 14:8;
Amos 3:14; 4:4, 5; 5:5; Mic. 1:1-9; 5:12-14; 6:16; Zeph 1:1ff; Mal.
2:11, 12, 13.
Prophecies Relating to - Ex.
12:12 Nu 33:4. Is 2:18, 20, 31:7, 17:7, 8; 19:1; 27:9; Je 10:11, 15;
51:44, 47, 52; Is 21:9. Ezek 43:7, 8, 9; Hos. 10:2; Mic. 5:13; Zeph
2:11; Zech 13:2
Folly of - Dt 4:28; 1Ki
18:27 Jdg. 6:31; 1Sa 5:3, 4. 2Chr 25:15 1Sa 12:21; 2Ki 3:13; Is 16:12;
36:18. 2Chr. 28:22, 23; Ps 115:4, 5, 8, 96:5; 135:15, 16, 17, 18; Is
2:8, 40:12-26; 41:23, 24, 26-29; 44:19, 9-20; 45:20; 46:1, 2, 6, 7;
47:12, 13, 14, 15; 2Ki 19:18; Isa. 37:19; Zech 10:2. Is 57:13; Je 2:28
Dt. 32:37, 38; Jdg. 10:14. Je 10:5, 3-16; 48:13; 51:17; Hab 2:18, 19.
Je 11:12; 14:22; 16:19, 20; Ho 8:5, 6 Ex. 32:20; Ps 106:20. Ac 14:15;
17:22, 23, 29; Ro 1:22, 23; 1Co 8:4, 5; 10:19, 12:2; Gal. 4:8; Re 9:20
Dt 4:28; Da 5:23
3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent
word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the
counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the
rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that
Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. (sent: Ex 32:4,
5, 6 Nu 25:2 Jdg 16:23 1Ki 12:32 Pr 29:12 Rev 17:2)
King sent word to Assemble
- All the leaders in Babylon were required to be present and by some
estimates the number was in the thousands (or even much higher). This
was a call for these leaders to publicly acknowledge their absolute
loyalty to the King by bowing to the image (possibly an image of the
Satraps - This is a
Persian loan word meaning "protector of the realm." These were
governors of main provinces.
3:3 Then the satraps, the prefects
and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the
magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the
dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and
they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
(Es 3:12, etc., a satrap. Ps 82:1-8 Ac 19:34,35 Ro 1:21-28 3:11
1Co 1:24-26 Rev 13:13-16 Rev 17:13,17) (treasurers: Ezra 7:21)
The stood before the image
- When the "king of kings" (Da 2:37, Ezek 26:7) called, all obediently
responded, even the three Hebrew boys. In contrast to the false
accusation in Da 3:12, they did not disregard Nebuchadnezzar's
commands which did not call for compromising their faith or God's
There is a time to disobey the
king, and it would be when his commands clearly contradicted God's
commands to not worship images. Here in Daniel 3 and in Acts 5:27, 28,
29 Scripture presents the clear guideline for when believers should
not obey the authorities, Peter declaring "We must obey God rather
than men." We need to be very careful in the "gray areas" but idol
worship is certainly not one of those areas. So the 3 boys were on
good grounds and God honored their honoring of His law (Da 3:30).
However, remember that when we have good grounds to disobey the
authorities, we must be prepared to accept the consequences as were
the 3 boys (cp flogging in Acts 5:40, 41, 42).
3:4 Then the herald loudly
proclaimed: "To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men
of every language, (loudly:
Da 4:14 Pr 9:13, 14, 15 Isa 40:9 58:1) (command: Ho 5:11 Mic 6:16) (peoples: Da 4:1 6:25 Es 8:9)
Herald loudly proclaimed
- No one could say "I didn't know". As clear as this pagan
herald was regarding his call to false worship of dead gods, so should
we be as God's heralds of the gospel of grace which leads to true
worship of the living God (cp Jn 4:24).
3:5 that at the moment you hear the
sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe and all
kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that
Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. (horn Da
The horn, et al - The
fact that some of these instruments have Greek names does not
necessarily support a late date for the authorship of Daniel, because
Greek products and trading cities existed through much of western Asia
as early as the sixth century B.C. Such instruments were common
in Babylon at this time. In fact notice that the king's proclamation
(Da 3:4) also acknowledged other languages in Babylon.
Fall down - An act
Worship - (Aramaic =
cegid; Hebrew = cagad = to prostrate one's self in homage). The
translates cegid with the picturesque Greek verb proskuneo
[word study]. Note that worship is a key word
in Daniel 3 occurring some 10x in in 9v (Da 3:5; 3:6; 3:10; 3:11;
3:12; 3:14; 3:15; 3:18; 3:28). The call to worship indicates this is
not just a command to show political allegiance but clearly has
religious or spiritual overtones.
The image - Idolatry is
image worship. Note the role of music in the practice of idolatry.
Smith writes that
strictly speaking denotes the
worship of deity in a visible form, whether the images to which homage
is paid are symbolical representations of the true God or of the false
divinities which have been made the objects of worship in his stead.
3:6 "But whoever does not fall down
and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of
blazing fire." (fall: Da 3:11,15 Ex 20:5 Isa 44:17
Mt 4:9 Rev 13:15-17) (shall be: Da 2:5,12,13 Mk 6:27) (furnace:
Ge 19:28 Jer 29:22 Eze 22:18, 19, 20, 21, 22 Mt 13:42,50 Rev 9:2
Immediately - No "due
process" here, which is interesting because he did give the 3 Hebrews
a "second chance" (Da 3:13, 14, 15).
Cast into the midst of a
furnace - In short "Bow or Burn"! Compromise or
3:7 Therefore at that time, when all
the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon,
psaltery, bagpipe and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations and
men of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that
Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. (when: Da 3:10)
(all the peoples: Jer 51:7 Ac 14:16 1Jn 5:19 Rev 12:9 13:3,8,14
When all the peoples heard
- Guzik comments that this "literally reads as soon as they were
hearing they were falling down. There was total and immediate
obedience to Nebuchadnezzar's command!"
Worshiped the golden image
- This is clearly idolatry. They feared the king (man), not God, for
their temporal lives
were at stake. Isn't it amazing that when we talk with men today about
the fact that their
eternal lives are at
stake, they are so often apathetic or adversarial because their is no
fear of God before their eyes (Ro 3:18-note)!
How might these 3 Jewish boys
have rationalized (some might call it "situation ethics"!) bowing or living by the dictum “When in Babylon, do
as the Babylonians do."? They might have rationalized it by saying
we'll bow down physically but in our hearts, we remain "standing up".
They may have reasoned that the king had been so good to them, it
would be ungrateful not to bow. They may have justified bowing y
reasoning that they were being forced against their will to bow and
for that reason God would forgive. After all, no one in Jerusalem
would ever know whether they bowed or not. The age old favorite is
"Everyone is bowing down.” Or they may have reasoned “If we don’t,
we’ll be killed and God needs us in these positions of power to help
His people." Let's be honest, for we all know that when we want to
compromise, we can always find an excuse. On the other hand, when you
set your heart to obey God, you don't need excuses.
Imagine how they must have felt
as they stood alone among hundreds or thousands of bowed bodies! Some
in their vicinity undoubtedly must have shouted "Bow down or you'll
Donald Campbell tells
this story of one who took a bold stand...
When the Communists invaded a
Korean village, they found a young man with a vigorous Christian
testimony who, regardless of their edicts to the contrary, continued
to witness for Christ. Determining at last to make him a public
example, the soldiers commanded the entire village to appear in the
town square. A Communist soldier led the young Christian to the center
of the crowd, put a pistol against his head, and shouted, "Denounce
Jesus Christ and embrace Communism, or die!" The young man hesitated,
looked around the gathered crowd, and saw some he had brought to faith
in Christ. Then quickly he raised his gaze to heaven and cried, "I
believe in Jesus Christ! I believe . . ." Crack! And he was dead,
inspired by a courage and faith similar to that of Shadrach, Meshach,
and Abednego. (Campbell, D. Daniel God's Man in a Secular Society)
Wiersbe notes that...
The difference between the true
believer and the unbeliever isn’t the presence of faith, because
everybody lives by faith in something. The difference is in the object
of that faith. The crowd believed the herald and the king, and
therefore they obeyed. The three Hebrew men believed the commandment
of God, so they disobeyed. The crowd had credulous faith, but the Jews
had confident faith. (Ibid)
3:8 For this reason at that time
certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews.
(charges: Da 6:12,13 Ezra 4:12-16 Es 3:6,8,9 Ac 16:20, 21, 22
17:6, 7, 8 28:22 1Pe 4:3,4)
Brought charges against (NIV
= denounced) - The NAS rendering is not as strong as the Aramaic which
literally means "ate the pieces of", a vivid idiom for slander
(although 2 of their 3 charges were true - see Da 3:12). What was
their motive? Jealousy, the "jaundice of the soul" and it was a sin
which quickly pounced on Abel (cp Ge 4:7) motivating him to murder his
brother. Jealousy (Ge 37:11)led Joseph's brothers to sell him as a
slave to the Midianite traders (Ge 37:26, 27, 28). Indeed as someone
has well said jealousy is the raw material of murder. And of course
the most horrendous crime motivated by envy was the betrayal and
crucifixion of our Lord, Matthew recording...
For he (Pilate) knew that because
of envy they had handed Him over. (Mt 27:18) (Comment:
Thomas Manton said "There
are two sins which were Christ's sorest enemies, covetousness and
envy. Covetousness sold Christ and envy delivered Him.")
He that looks through a green glass
sees no other color. - Thomas Adams
As a moth gnaws a garment, so does
envy consume a man. - John Chrysostom
Envy eats nothing but its own
The Puritan Thomas Brooks
gives perhaps the best synopsis of this horrible "cancer" writing...
Envy, it tortures the affections,
it vexes the mind, it inflames the blood, it corrupts the heart, it
wastes the spirits; and so it becomes man's tormentor and man's
executioner at once.
C H Spurgeon observed
The cure for envy lies in living
under a constant sense of the divine presence, worshipping God and
communing with him all the day long, however long the day may seem.
Today in the Word notes
You may find that obeying God and
obeying the laws of men usually go hand in hand. But that isn't always
the case. When legal or social mandates require you to compromise your
faith, are you prepared to do the right thing . . . and to do it in
the right way? Ask the Lord to give you the strength to stand for what
is right, but also the humility to avoid self-righteous grandstanding.
Make sure you are disobeying for God's sake, not for your own
If God's Word guides your
let your conscience be your guide.
3:9 They responded and said to
Nebuchadnezzar the king: "O king, live forever! (king:
Da 3:4,5) (O King: Da 2:4 5:10 6:6,21 Ro 13:7)
3:10 "You, O king, have made a decree
that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon,
psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and
worship the golden image. (have made: Da 3:4,
5, 6, 7 6:12 Ex 1:16,22 Es 3:12, 13, 14 Ps 94:20 Ec 3:16 Isa 10:1 Jn
11:57 Rev 13:16,17) (the horn: Ex 15:20,21 32:18,19 1Ch
15:16,28 16:5,6 25:1-6 2Ch 29:25 Ps 81:1, 2, 3 92:1, 2, 3 149:3,4
150:3, 4, 5, 6 Am 6:5)
3:11 "But whoever does not fall down
and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.
A furnace of blazing fire
- Fire and other forms of martyrdom have been the fate of many
believers over the centuries who stood boldly for Christ and refused
to compromise their conviction and their confession of their Lord.
The story is told of
here) promoted John Wycliffe’s teachings including the
premise that people should be permitted to read the Bible in their own
language, and they should oppose the tyranny of the established church
that threatened the penalty of execution for anyone even possessing a
non-Latin Bible. It is thus not surprising that Hus was condemned to burn at the stake.
the night before his execution while in his cell, he tested himself
with a match and recoiled in pain. Hus is quoted as saying “If I
can’t withstand the fire of a candle, how the stake?” But the next
day Hus not only endured the blazing flames (by some reports with Wycliffe’s
manuscript Bibles used as kindling!), he was enabled to die singing "Christ, thou Son of
the living God, have mercy upon me." God's grace was sufficient and he
went through the flames in a manner that glorified His Father (Mt
5:14, 15, 16). According to one source, Hus' very last words are reported to
have been "in 100
years, God will raise up a man whose calls for reform cannot be
suppressed." Hus was burned at the stake in 1415 and a
little over a century later in 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95
Theses of Contention on the church door at Wittenberg, setting into
motion the protestant reformation! Indeed the blood of the martyrs is
the seed of the church.
have heard their names before, Hugh Latimer, Nicholas Ridley
and Thomas Cranmer. We will meet them someday soon so it behooves
us to know their story and be encouraged by their willingness to
suffer for Christ's sake.
Nicholas Ridley had been
raised Catholic but converted to Protestantism. Hugh Latimer
became a great preacher and Ridley helped author the Book of Common
Prayer. During the Protestant persecution by Queen Mary ("Bloody
Mary") of 1553-55, both men were arrested and condemned to be burned
at the stake. As the flames were being lit, Latimer cried out to his
Be of good cheer, Master Ridley,
and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God's grace
in England as shall never be put out.
Thomas Cranmer (read his brief bio)
watched them die in agony. At one time he had been the Archbishop of
Canterbury. Later under great pressure he recanted his evangelical
faith. But watching his two friends die seemed to give strength to his
soul and a few months later he was condemned to die at the stake. As
they lit the flames, he placed his right hand into the fire to show
his tormentors that he was not afraid to die (cp "a sign of
destruction for them" Php 1:28-note).
(For more detail see
Hugh Latimer, Bishop and Martyr)
Fox's Book of Martyrs)
The command is empowered by a
naked threat. Nebuchadnezzar regarded refusing to worship the image as
treason, not only as a religious offense. In this, Nebuchadnezzar is
just like most politicians, who often seem willing to use religion to
strengthen their grip on political power. Politicians are happy to
blend together spiritual allegiance and national allegiance. An
example of this was displayed in 1936 when Herr Baldur von Schirach,
head of the youth program in Nazi Germany, said: "If we act as true
Germans we act according to the laws of God. Whoever serves Adolph
Hitler, the fuehrer, serves Germany, and whoever serves Germany serves
Another example comes from 1960 when the President of Ghana had a
slightly larger than life-size statue of himself erected in front of
the national house of Parliament. An inscription on the side of the
statue read, "Seek ye first the political kingdom and all other
things shall be added unto you." (cp Jesus' words Mt 6:33!) The
statue was destroyed after a bloodless coup in 1966. (
Today in the Word
notes that the stand of the 3 Hebrew lads in Daniel 3...
is a reminder that the means
are sometimes more important than the end result. Many believers have
made similar stands, only to be martyred without being rescued (Ed:
see following examples). By doing the honorable thing, we can show the
world the righteousness
of God; only He can display His power. When this world tempts you to
compromise your faith, be willing to accept the consequences that
threaten your obedience. Our God is stronger than this world (Devotional)
How Firm a Foundation
When through fiery trials thy
pathway shall lie,
My grace, all sufficient, shall be thy supply:
The flame shall not hurt thee, I only design
Thy dross to consume, and thy gold to refine.
3:12 "There are certain Jews whom you
have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon,
namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have
disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden
image which you have set up." (certain: Da 2:49 6:13
1Sa 18:7, 8, 9, 10, 11 Es 3:8 Pr 27:4 Ec 4:4) (disregarded Ac
Certain Jews - This
phrase is used in a derogatory sense in this passage. Notice that the
3 Hebrew lads did not make a scene over their defiance. It took the
tattling of "certain Chaldeans" to bring the matter to the king's
Appointed over the
administration - Envy (see
discussion of envy)
and/or jealously (see
discussion of jealousy)
are dangerous emotions which often lead to destructive declarations as
in the present case. As has been well said every time you turn green
with envy you are ripe for trouble. Ultimately envy eats nothing but
its own heart. Under the guise of showing their loyalty to the king,
these Chaldeans were very happy to be the "whistle blowers" for these
foreigners who had attained positions of power.
Observe the three accusations
against the "boys" - (1) They were showing no respect for the king
(not true); (2) they refused to serve Nebuchadnezzar's idolatrous gods
(this was true) and (3) they refused to worship the golden image (this
was also true).
Spurgeon comments that...
Though their actions were not
public, neither were they hidden. These three Hebrew men must have
known they would be discovered, yet they obeyed God rather than man.
"You will not be able to go through life without being discovered: a
lighted candle cannot be hid. There is a feeling among some good
people that it will be wise to be very reticent, and hide their light
under a bushel. They intend to lie low all the war time, and come out
when the palms are being distributed. They hope to travel to heaven by
the back lanes, and skulk into glory in disguise. Ah me, what a
Today in the Word writes
people who are willing to stake
their lives on their theology are pretty serious about it. That was
the case for the three young Hebrew men in Daniel 3. Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego made a courageous, principled stand (Ed:
Cp Our decisions are based either on "External Pressure" or "Internal
Principle") against King Nebuchadnezzar's order to bow to his golden
statue. At the heart of their commitment was their view of God. These
young men, taken as captives from Israel to Babylon, took with them
their knowledge of God's commands. From their very first days of
captivity in this pagan country, these three and their pal Daniel
decided that the most important thing they could do was obey God.
Do not serve your gods
(Ex 20:1, 2, 3, 4, 5) -
Bowing is not an innocent action, because what we bow to
we end up serving.
your gods...or worship - This statement makes the image more that
just an innocent image, and strongly implies it was an image related
to Nebuchadnezzar's god (possibly even self-deification!) (cp Da 3:28
where Nebuchadnezzar clearly links both verbs to idolatry -- "to
serve or worship any god").
Serve (Aramaic = Pelach)(06398)(Septuagint
latreuo [word study]) is clearly a
key word in this chapter and also throughout this "middle" (Gentile)
section of Daniel (8x in Daniel - Da 3:12, 14, 17, 18, 6:16, 20, 7:14,
27). Nebuchadnezzar understood the spiritual dynamics of idolatry and
was calling not just for physical bowing down to an image but for a
submission of one's heart to serve his gods.
What one serves is one's master
and the one to whom he or she is enslaved or in bondage.
Jesus taught this axiomatic principle in His Sermon on the Mount
No one (Greek =
absolute negation! No exceptions!) can (dunamai
[word study]) serve (douleuo
[word study]) two masters
either he will hate the one and love
the other, or he will
be devoted to (hold to) (antechomai
[word study] from) one and
[word study]) the other. You cannot serve God and mammon
depth commentary on related passages:
James 4:4 -James
1Jn 2:15 -
1John 2:15 Commentary
1Jn 2:16 -1John
IS BASED ON...
MacArthur writes that...
Our decisions, our attitudes and
our behaviors are determined by one of two things: external
pressure, or internal principle....the battle is going on
all the time in our lives between these two conflicting items. And
we're very good at self-justification so a lot of times when we
succumb to external pressure we define it as internal principle. But
basically we have to come down to that bottom line. Do we do what we
do, say what we say and act the way we act because we have
convictions about it or because we feel the pressure from
the outside? Are our convictions altered by pressures brought to bear
Chuck Smith reiterates the
importance of internal principle discussing the parallel term "Commitment"
noting that commitment...
gives you the strength to go
against...the current of this world (which is anti-God: "love not the
world")...declaring the material is superior to the spiritual. Without
real commitment you will be swept away (by) the "everybody is
doing it" syndrome. Your commitment becomes an encouragement to
others. "Give me some men who are stout hearted men..." Men who are
committed are the men who change the world...Paul's commitment,
"For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Php 1:21-note) No wonder he was
accused of turning the world upside down (Acts 17:6). Men of commitment
cannot be stopped. Threats of death cannot dissuade them.
How does a person become so committed?
They had purposed in their hearts (Da 1:8)...more than a mind-set (for) it is
easy to change the mind (instead) it is a matter of setting your
heart. It is by the power of the Spirit, "not by might nor by
(fleshly) power" (Zech 4:6). Peter's denial of the Lord (was because)
he was trusting in his flesh. Peter's bold witness before the
Sanhedrin (was because he was) ..."filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts
3:8, cp Acts 2:4). The result of their commitment (was that) the LORD
stood with them (cp 2Ti 4:16, 17, 18-note).
He will always stand with us, if we dare to stand for
3:16, 17 Sermon Notes) (cp Jesus' words Mt 6:24 - They
remind me of an old song by Bob Dylan the theology of which is not
You Gotta Serve Somebody-Bob Dylan)
I saw the martyr at the stake,
The flames could not his courage shake
Nor death his soul appall.
I asked him whence his strength was given,
He looked triumphantly to heaven
And answered, Christ is all.
Then come to Jesus, come today,
Come, Father, Son and Spirit say,
The Bride repeats the cal;
Come, He has blood for all your stains,
Come He has balm for all your pains
Com, He is all in all.
-W A Williams
The Sailors' Magazine)
Nebuchadnezzar’s threats could not cause
these 3 young Jewish men to bow because the had already "bowed" their heart
to Jehovah and now their ‘’heart was fixed (prepared)...
Ps 57:7KJV "My
heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give
praise." (Fixed = Hebrew word meaning
something brought into incontrovertible existence and figuratively conveys
the idea of one who is inwardly determined to stand firm and remain
As a follower of Jesus, when everyone
else is bowing to idols of pride or plenty or pleasure or possessions, etc, take your
stand for righteousness, for what is right. His promise is sure. He will be with you, even when you are the only one
standing! (Cp Ps 23:4-note,
Is 43:1, 2, 3, Mt 28:20)
Matthew Henry observes that...
Good thoughts of God, and a full
assurance that He is with us while we are with Him, will help very much to
carry us through sufferings; and, if He be for us (Ro 8:31-note),
we need not fear what man can do unto us (Mt 10:28, Lk 12:4, 5, cp Acts
5:41); let him do his worst. God will deliver us either from death or
in death (through death's doorway into eternal life in His glorious
presence! 2Co 5:8).
When you take your stand for Christ,
you will not stand alone.
3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and
anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these
men were brought before the king. (rage: Da 3:19
2:12 Ge 4:5 1Sa 20:30-33 Es 3:5,6 Pr 17:12 27:3 29:22 Lk 6:11) (Then:
Mt 10:18 Mk 13:9 Lk 21:12 Ac 5:25-27 24:24)
Rage and anger - It takes
two synonyms to convey the degree of the king's fury. He clearly had
an anger problem, for after all he does not even know yet whether they
are guilty of the charges. Anger is like that isn't it? It's more
often a mindless reaction rather than a responsible action
after thoughtful consideration.
King Nebuchadnezzar was a mighty
general and much like Alexander the Great years later (the "Bronze"
kingdom), these two great empire conquerors were sadly unable to
conquer themselves (Alexander became an alcoholic and died at age 33).
Solomon writes that...
He who is slow to anger is better
than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a
city. (Pr 16:32).
3:14 Nebuchadnezzar responded and
said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you
do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up?
(true: Ex 21:13,14) (my gods: Da 3:1 4:8 Isa 46:1 Jer
Is it true - This shows
that the king did not blindly accept the accusations of the Chaldeans.
At first the king seems taken aback that they would have refused to
bow, but his mood would soon change after they refused his "second
chance" to bow.
Matthew Henry reads it
Was it designedly and deliberately
done, or was it only through inadvertency, that you have not served my
gods? What! you that I have nourished and brought up, that have been
educated and maintained at my charge, that I have been so kind to and
done so much for, you that have been in such reputation for wisdom,
and therefore should better have known your duty to your prince; what!
do not you serve my gods nor worship the golden image which I have set
up?’’ Note, The faithfulness of God’s servants to him has often been
the wonder of their enemies and persecutors, who think it strange that
they run not with them to the same excess of riot (1Peter 4:4-note).
Guzik makes a cogent
point noting that...
This (their answer to "Is it
true?") was an even greater test for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.
It is one thing to make a stand for God; it is a greater thing to
stick to your stand when pointedly asked, "Is it true?" Peter could
follow Jesus after His arrest, but he wilted and denied Jesus when
asked, "Is it true?" (Ref)
C H Spurgeon adds that...
If, standing before the
heart-searching God at this time, you cannot say, 'It is true,'
how should you act? If you cannot say that you take Christ's cross,
and are willing to follow Him at all hazards, then hearken to me and
learn the truth. Do not make a profession at all. Do not talk about
baptism or the Lord's Supper, nor of joining a church, nor of being a
Christian; for if you do, you will lie against your own soul.
If it be not true that you
renounce the world's idols, do not profess that it is so.
It is unnecessary that a man should profess to be what he is not; it
is a sin of supererogation (act of performing more than is required by
duty, obligation, or need), a superfluity of naughtiness. If you
cannot be true to Christ, if your coward heart is recreant (unfaithful
to duty) to your Lord, do not profess to be His disciple, I beseech
you. He that is married
to the world, or flint hearted, had better return to his house, for he
is of no service in this war.
Serve my gods or worship the
golden image that I have set up - Can we not see Nebuchadnezzar's
gigantic ego ("my...I") which causes him to brazenly declare what
amounts to an antithesis of the first of the Ten Commandments (Ex
20:3) saying in essence "You shall have no other gods before my gods".
Passages like this remind us of God's great mercy to sinners.
As Spurgeon says...
We can imagine the enormous
pressure on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego to compromise. Everything
in front of them - the king, the furnace, the music, their
compatriots, their competitors - all of it conspired to convince them
to compromise. Yet God was more real to them than any of those things.
"Do not judge the situation by the king's threat and by the heat of
the burning fiery furnace, but by the everlasting God and the eternal
life which awaits you. Let not flute, harp, and sackbut fascinate you,
but hearken to the music of the glorified. Men frown at you, but you
can see God smiling on you, and so you are not moved.
3:15 "Now if you are ready, at the
moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery
and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image
that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will
immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and
what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?" (hear:
Da 3:10 ) (fall down: Lk 4:7,8) (but: Da 3:17 Ex
32:32 Lk 13:9) (who: Da 3:28,29 6:16,20 Ex 5:2 2Ki 18:35 2Ch
32:15-17 Isa 36:20 37:23 Mt 27:43, Mt 10:19 Mk 13:11 Lk 12:11 21:14,15
Ac 4:8, 9, 10, 11, 12,19 5:29 6:15 Ac 24:10, 11, 12, 13)
Now if you are ready -
One more temptation to compromise. How often our enemies the flesh and
the devil parrot these words "you just have one more chance to
Thus does the matter lie in a
little compass—Turn, or burn; and, because he knew they buoyed
themselves up in their refusal with a confidence in their God, he
insolently set him a defiance: "And who is that God that shall deliver
you out of my hands? Let him, if he can.’’ Now he forgot what he
himself once owned, that their God was a God of gods and a Lord of
kings, ch. 2:47. Proud men are still ready to say, as Pharaoh, Who is
the Lord that I should obey his voice? or, as Nebuchadnezzar, Who is
the Lord, that I should fear his power?
What god is there who is able
to deliver - Nebuchadnezzar clearly recognized the spiritual
issues involved and knew full well that to bow was tantamount to
submission to the Babylonian gods. The king had already learned that
the God of Israel is able to reveal mysteries (Da 2:47) to His
servants, but he doubted God's ability to save the three dissenters.
Observe that Nebuchadnezzar is
placing himself above all gods, saying in a sense "I am more powerful
than the gods". He must have forgotten that earlier he had said
"Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings" (Da 2:47).
He was like Pharaoh another prideful ruler who confronted another
Jewish man Moses with the question...
Who is the Lord that I should
obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, and besides,
I will not let Israel go. (Ex 5:2)
Walvoord adds that...
Rabshakeh made the same arrogant
and blasphemous claim when threatening King Hezekiah (Is 36:13, 14,
15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20)—the claim to the possession of a human power
so great that there is no divine power to which the victim can turn
for help. (Walvoord, J. F. Daniel: The Key To Prophetic Revelation)
Guzik makes an
interesting observation that...
Nebuchadnezzar thinks nothing of
insulting all gods with this statement. He is more of a
secularist or a humanist than a theist.
The god he really believes in is himself, not the gods of Babylon.
Deliver - This is a key
word in the second half of Daniel 3 - Da 3:15, 17, 28, 29. Note the
effect of the steadfast witness of these 3 Hebrew lads on
Nebuchadnezzar's heart and mind. He goes from "what god is there who
can deliver" (Da 3:15) to "there is no other god (like the Most High
God) who is able to deliver in this way" (Da 3:29). Truly these three
young men stand as shining examples of the charge by our Lord for us
to be salt and light in our this passing world...
You are the salt of the earth;
but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?
It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled
under foot by men. You are the light of the world. A city
set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp, and put it
under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to
all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a
way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is
in heaven. (Mt 5:13-note,
Mt 5:14, 15, 16-note)
Ray Pritchard comments
the three young men refused to bow
because years earlier they had learned the Ten Commandments. The First
Commandment says there can be “no other gods” before the God of
Israel. The Second Commandment prohibits all forms of image-making and
worship of idols. Simply put, these young men knew their Bible and
that’s why they wouldn’t bow. (A
Time to Disobey- Nov, 1999)
Like Sennacherib, who had derided
Hezekiah's trust in God by boasting that none of the gods of the other
nations had ever been able to save their people from the might of
Assyria (2Kings 18:33, cp Ps 3:2-note), Nebuchadnezzar had converted his confrontation
with men into a contest with the Lord God Almighty. Nebuchadnezzar's
doom and fall were sure, even though he had earlier served God's
purpose as a scourge to chasten God's apostate people (Jer 27:6, 7,
8). Ungratefully he had scoffed at the very God who had granted him
success in battle; therefore he was to undergo one humiliation after
another, till he groveled in the dust before Israel's God.
3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego
replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an
answer concerning this matter.
righteous are bold as a lion.
We do not need to give you an
answer - There is nothing to say. In essence they admit their guilt and thus make no
attempt to defend themselves. International Children's Bible -
"Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves to you."
Such an answer by itself might be
considered arrogant and disrespectful to the king; but coupled with
the explanation, it is clear that they feel their case is not in their
hands anyway. (Ibid)
The three may have read Isaiah's
declaration (theoretically it was available as he prophesied
Behold, God is my salvation. I
will trust and not be afraid, for the Lord God is my strength and
song (Is 12:2)
EBC notes that...
The Aramaic word order of Da 3:16
places an emphasis on the pronoun "we," implying that it is the Lord
himself who will deal with this king who thinks he is sovereign on
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books:
Pradis = computer version)
Remember that these three young
men had not read the end of the chapter yet and thus had no idea that
God was about to miraculously deliver them. They had not received any
special revelation promising their deliverance. In short, as they
stood before the king, they knew they might truly die.
These well-trained Hebrew lads
undoubtedly knew God's clear command in Ex 20:3, 4, 5, and were not
prepared to bow to anyone but the Almighty. Beloved, when we know
God's Word and obey God's Word, His Spirit will fortify us so that we
too can be bold as a lion! God's commandments always include
His enablements! Our obedience may not cost us our life, but it
may cost us our job, some relationship, some possession (or desire for
some possession), etc.
Showers observes that...
they were not being arrogant. They
were not saying, “We don’t have to tell you anything.” Instead, they
were admitting that the charge against them was true; therefore, no
defense or apology needed to be made. (The Most High God)
IN THE FIRE!
How were these three young
men able to resist the temptation to bow to the image and compromise
their integrity and their witness?
Ultimately they were enabled to stand by the all sufficient grace of God
which is magnified in our times of weakness (2Cor 12:9-note,
Man's extremity is God's "opportunity" to show Himself mighty!
Here are several factors (the list is not intended to be exhaustive!)
that enabled them to stand firm against the schemes of the prideful
king (cp Ep 6:11-note)...
(1) They knew God's Word and
His clear command against idol worship (Ex 20:1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Remember
that God never give us a commandment that He does not also give us the
enablement (Spirit, grace) to obey the command!
(2) They knew that idol worship was
one of the main reasons Judah was in captivity in Babylon (2Chr 36:14,
(3) They had experienced the
delivering power of God's grace in Daniel 1 when they (concurring with
Daniel, the spokesman) made a choice to refuse the king's choice food which
would have defiled them (Da 1:8-note).
In Daniel 2 they were delivered from being torn limb from limb (Da
2:12-note) when God
revealed the mystery to Daniel in the prayer meeting with his three
(4) They had been
undoubtedly been taught
God's Word including the truths of His past great deliverances such as: (1) The
Passover Deliverance where Jehovah delivered Israel from Pharaoh and
Egyptian bondage (Ex 12:11, 12, 13, 14, 13:8, 9, 10); (2) The Red
Sea Deliverance (problem = Ex 14:8,.9; the faith of Moses = Ex
14:13, 14, the deliverance by God = Ex 14:21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27,
28, 29, 30); (3) The stones of remembrance (Josh 4:1, 2, 3, 4,
5, esp Josh 4:6, 7, for context see Josh 3:1-12, 13,14,15,16,17). In
summary, they were taught the truth about God and this truth was used
by His Spirit to increase and stabilize their faith (cp Ro 10:17-note).
In light of (3) and (4),
the practical application for us as believers today is to make an effort to
keep a written record ("journaling") of God's past deliverances in our
life, so that we do not forget that He is able to deliver us (Da 3:17,
Heb 2:18-note) when the crisis comes
(cp Dt 6:10, 11, 12). Our hearts must be prepared before the crisis.
The moment of crisis is too late to prepare our hearts.
(5) They feared God and
trusted Him, and did not fear Nebuchadnezzar's raging (cp Pr 29:25).
Fear of God is the best "antidote" for neutralizing fear of man
and the worst that man can do to us (cp Jesus' command in Mt 10:28)
In short, when you go through the
fire, cling fast to the truth you know about God, fixing your eyes on
Jesus (Heb 12:2-note) - His promises
(cp Isa 43:2), His
past deliverances, His commandments that include His enablements, etc.
When the fiery test comes, remember especially that God promises not to test
us beyond what we are able to endure (1Cor 10:13-note).
God had prepared the Hebrew lad's hearts for "such a time as this" (cp
It was a matter of life and death,
and one would think they might have considered awhile before they had
resolved; life is desirable, and death is dreadful. But when the sin
and duty that were in the case were immediately determined by the
letter of the second commandment, and no room was left to question
what was right, the life and death that were in the case were not to
be considered. Note, Those that would avoid sin must not parley with
temptation. When that which we are allured or affrighted to is
manifestly evil the motion is rather to be rejected with indignation
and abhorrence than reasoned with; stand not to pause about it, but
say, as Christ has taught us, Get thee behind me, Satan.
They needed no time to
contrive how they should word it. While they were advocates for God,
and were called out to witness in his cause, they doubted not but it
should be given them in that same hour what they should speak, Mt.
10:19. They were not contriving an evasive answer, when a direct
answer was expected from them; no, nor would they seem to court the
king not to insist upon it. Here is nothing in their answer that looks
like compliment; they begin not, as their accusers did, with, O king!
live for ever, no artful insinuation—to put him into a good humour,
but every thing that is plain and downright
Wiersbe notes that...
The three men could have
compromised with the king and defended their disobedience by arguing,
“Everybody else is doing it,” or “Our office demands that we obey,” or
“We’ll bow our knees but we won’t bow our hearts.” They might have
said, “We can do our people more good by being officers in the king’s
service than by being ashes in the king’s furnace.” But true faith
doesn’t look for loopholes; it simply obeys God and knows that He will
do what is best. Faith rests on commands and promises, not on
arguments and explanations. (Ibid)
So many Christians want to make
deals with God. “Lord, I’ll stand up for you as long as (pick one) A)
I don’t lose my job, B) my friends don’t make fun of me, C) I still
get that promotion, D) I don’t get in trouble with my boss, E) I can
still have a successful career.” But God doesn’t make deals with
anyone. He calls us to be faithful and we are called to leave the
results with him. He doesn’t promise us an easy road if we decide to
be faithful to him. And that’s why these three young men said, “But if
not.” They knew God could save them but they knew he might have higher
purposes in mind that would require their death. Therefore, they
didn’t try to back God into a corner by demanding that the Almighty
work a miracle on their behalf. They accepted God’s will in advance
without knowing how things would work out. (A
Time to Disobey- Nov, 1999)
C H Spurgeon (Morning and
The narrative of the manly courage
and marvellous deliverance of the three holy children, or rather
champions, is well calculated to excite in the minds of believers
firmness and steadfastness in upholding the truth in the teeth of
tyranny and in the very jaws of death.
Let young Christians especially
learn from their example, both in matters of faith in religion, and
matters of uprightness in business, never to sacrifice their
consciences. Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all
else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel
which can adorn the bosom of a mortal.
Be not guided by the
will-o’-the-wisp of policy, but by the pole-star of divine
authority. Follow the right at all hazards. When you see no
present advantage, walk by faith and not by sight (2Co 5:7). Do God
the honour to trust Him when it comes to matters of loss for the sake
of principle. See whether He will be your Debtor! See if He doth not
even in this life prove His word that “Godliness, with contentment, is
great gain,” (1Ti 6:6) and that they who “seek first the kingdom of
God and his righteousness, shall have all these things added unto
them.” (Mt 6:33)
Should it happen that, in the
providence of God, you are a loser by conscience, you shall find that
if the Lord pays you not back in the silver of earthly prosperity, he
will discharge His promise in the gold of spiritual joy. Remember that
a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of that which he
possesseth (Lk 12:15). To wear a guileless spirit, to have a heart
void of offence, to have the favour and smile of God, is greater
riches than the mines of Ophir could yield, or the traffic of Tyre
could win. “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled
ox and inward contention therewith.”
An ounce of heart’s-ease is
worth a ton of gold.
3:17 "If it be so, our God Whom we
serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He
will deliver us out of your hand, O king. (our God:
Da 4:35 6:20, 21, 22,27 Ge 17:1 18:14 1Sa 17:37, 1Sa 17:46 Job 5:19 34:29 Ps
27:1,2 62:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 73:20 115:3 121:5, 6, 7 18:10,11 Isa 12:2
26:3,4 Isa 54:14 Lk 1:37 Ac 20:24 21:13 27:20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 Ro
8:31 Heb 7:25)
If it be so - That is if
they are thrown into the blazing fire.
Our God...is able (cp Da
4:37) - They affirm their confidence (faith, trust) in God's ability
to deliver. Of that they were confident, but the "how" was less clear
(they had not yet read the rest of the chapter!)
When you are faced with the
furnace, fix your face on the Father!
Their believing confidence in God
and their dependence upon him, Da 3:17. It was this that enabled them to
look with so much contempt upon death, death in pomp, death in all its
terrors: they trusted in the living God, and by that faith chose
rather to suffer than to sin; they therefore feared not the wrath of
the king, but endured, because by faith they had an eye to Him that is
invisible (He 11:25-note,
Jesus taught His
make up your minds not to prepare
beforehand to defend yourselves for I will give you utterance and
wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.
I love the phrase "He is able"
and it is especially poignant in the book of Hebrews where we read...
For since He Himself (Jesus) was
past completed action, ongoing effects, cp Mt 4:1-10) in that which He
has suffered (Lk 22:44), He is able (dunamai
= continually has the inherent ability) to come to the aid (boetheo
- to run to us on hearing our cry and to give assistance) of those who
= continually being) tempted (tested). (Heb 2:18-note)
Hence, also, He is able to save
forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives
to make intercession for them. (Heb 7:25-note)
Come ye sinners, poor and needy,
Weak and wounded, sick and sore;
Jesus ready stands to save you,
Full of pity, love, and power;
He is able, He is able,
He is willing, doubt no more. —J. Hart
Honest doubt, if properly handled,
can become the vestibule of faith!
Chuck Smith writes about
the importance of commitment in the daring decision by the
We shall each face the fiery
furnace. God never promised us immunity from trials, quite the
opposite, "and they that live godly in Christ Jesus will be
persecuted" (2Ti 3:12-note).
To pray "not my will, Thy will be done" (Lk 22:42, cp Mt 6:10-note) can
sometimes involve a cross. My human nature would seek the easy path,
but the easy path usually leads to nowhere. We observe some who have
fallen by the wayside. "Ye did start well, what did hinder you?" (Gal
5:7) Some are like seed on the stony ground (Mk 4:5, 6, 16, 17). What
is the problem? Lack of deep commitment. Their commitment came from
their confidence in God...They knew He could deliver from...He will
deliver us from your hand." One way or the other. Even if we burn in
your fire we will be delivered from you. (Sermon
Years earlier another young
Hebrew lad took a bold stand in the face of overwhelming odds, a
stand that was based upon his past experiences with Jehovah...
And David said, "The LORD (Jehovah)
Who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the
bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine." And Saul
said to David, "Go, and may the LORD be with you." (1Sa 17:37, cp 1Sa
In some of his last written
words the apostle Paul testified that our God is able
For this reason (Context = 2Ti
- ultimately for
the Gospel) I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I
know Whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to
guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. (2Ti 1:12-note)
I Know Whom I Have Believed (play)
But I know Whom I have
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
The psalmist puts it
The LORD (Jehovah)
will protect you from all evil; He will keep your soul. The LORD (Jehovah)
will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and
forever. (Ps 121:7, 8 -
Out of your hand -
Remember that in Da 1:2, the Lord (Adonai) had delivered Judah into
Nebuchadnezzar's hand and so He is fully capable of delivering
out of the king's hand (hand speaks of power and authority).
O king - Notice that even
in their refusal to obey the king, they were still respectful, which
is a good lesson for us when we disagree with our pagan adversaries.
So while they respected the king, they were not afraid of what he
might or could do to them. These three young men clearly had a healthy
fear of God which is the best antidote against the fear of
man, for he that fears God fears nothing else (cp Pr 29:25).
As Charles Bridges says
the fear of the LORD...
is that affectionate reverence, by
which the child of God bends himself humbly and carefully to his
Father's law (in this case His prohibition against idol worship).
John Calvin adds that...
Nothing is more powerful to
overcome temptation than the fear of God.
Alan Redpath rightly says
Reverent fear of God is the key to
faithfulness in any situation.
Thomas Watson explains
how the 3 lads were able to take such an uncompromising stand writing
Grace has a soul-strengthening
excellency. Grace enables a man to do that which exceeds the power
of nature. Grace teaches us to mortify our sins, to love our
enemies—and to prefer the glory of Christ before our own lives. Thus
the three Hebrew children in Daniel, by the power of grace, marched in
the face of death; neither the sound of the music could allure
them—nor the heat of the furnace frighten them (Da 3:17). Grace is a
Christian's armor, which does more than any other armor can—it not
only defends him, but puts courage into him. Grace makes us not only
bear suffering—but rejoice in suffering (Ro 5:3). A soul steeled and
animated with grace, can tread upon the lion and adder (Psalm 91:13),
and with the leviathan can laugh at the shaking of a spear (Job
41:29). Thus does grace infuse a heroic spirit and drive strength into
a man—making him act above the sphere of nature. (The
Beauty of Grace)
Donald Campbell writes
Those who believe the saying,
"Every man has his price!" should consider well the response of these
men in this crisis when their lives were at stake. They could not be
bought—for any price! (Ibid)
3:18 "But even if He does not, let it
be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or
worship the golden image that you have set up." (be
known: Job 13:15 Pr 28:1 Isa 51:12,13 Mt 10:28,32,33,39 16:2 Lk
12:3-9 Ac 4:10-13,19 5:29, 30, 31, 32 Rev 2:10,11 12:11) (that:
Ex 20:3-5 Lev 19:4)
But even if He does not -
They were ready to burn rather than betray their God! Why? Because
they had yielded their hearts to Him, which paved the way for them
surrendering their physical bodies to Him for His purposes.
These young men knew that God could deliver if that was His
will for they knew that "wisdom and power belong to Him" (Da
2:20) and that He had "granted Daniel (and them) favor"
and that He had given "them knowledge and intelligence" (Da
1:17). We too need to maintain a ready recall of God's Word and
His past deliverances, so that we will be motivated and enabled
to remain firm in our faith when the fiery trials and afflictions come
upon us unexpectedly! An aid in remembering God's past presence and
power in our lives is to keep a journal of His answers to prayer and a
record of the times when He has delivered us in both "big" and "small"
The essence of
is the willingness to serve God
without a guarantee.
The three Hebrew lads believed
that God could deliver them, but they would trust Him even if
He did note. Here we see that the boys while
not doubting God's ability to deliver them, did not presume to know
His will in this specific matter, recognizing that God's way might
be different than their desires. They recognized the
God in their situation (cp "able to deliver out of your hand" Da
3:17 and Da 1:2 "into his hand"!) Leaving the outcome in His hands is in every
sense an act of trust in His character, especially His goodness,
sovereignty and providence. God has a purpose for everything He does,
no matter how it appears to us for now we see in a mirror
dimly (1Co 13:12). Years earlier Job had voiced a similar
affirmation declaring "Though He slay me, I will hope (wait on,
trust) in Him." (Job 13:15)
Showers observes that...
They declared that, if it were
God’s purpose to deliver them, He would deliver them; however, if it
were not God’s purpose to deliver them, they still would not offend
Him by obeying the king’s command. Here were saints who exercised
implicit faith in God. (The Most High God: Commentary on the book of
Daniel. Bellmawr, NJ: Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc)
Jesus' word to His disciples is
relevant for He declared...
do not fear
+ negative = stop fearing or don't begin fearing - He then explains
that the worse men can do to us is only temporal) those who kill the
body, but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able
to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Mt 10:28)
We are not going to serve
your gods - They had prepared their hearts. They had stood firm
when challenged to eat impure foods (Da 1:8) and experienced God's
hand of favor in response to their obedience (Da 1:9). They had
experienced divine deliverance in Daniel 2. These past tests
and divine deliverances gave them the courage to obey God now in the
midst of their "fiery" trial. Their course was set. They swam against
the current in contrast to their Hebrew counterparts (there is
no mention of any other Hebrew lads not bowing). Decisions in the fire
are based either on external pressure or internal principle. These 3
lads had established the principle that they would not compromise in
the "small things" (king's food), which prepared them to remain
uncompromising when the "big test" came. If you have been compromising
in the "small things", don't deceive yourself with the thought that
"I'll stand uncompromisingly when the big test comes."
Leupold writes that...
The quiet, modest, yet withal very
positive attitude of faith that these three men display is one of the
noblest examples in the Scriptures of faith fully resigned to the will
of God. These men ask for no miracle; they expect none. Theirs is the
faith that says: ‘Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him,’ Job
The Psalmist's description would
apply to them in that they were not...
like their fathers, a stubborn and
rebellious generation, a generation that did not prepare its heart,
and whose spirit was not faithful to God. (Ps 78:8)
Ford (p108) makes the following
observation: "Had the story been the invention that many have
suggested; had it originated in the days of the Maccabees to nerve the
faithful against Gentile oppression, it is unlikely that the chief
hero would have been omitted. Reality transcends fiction, and the very
`incompleteness' of this account testifies to its fidelity." It is
hard to see how the force of this deduction can be successfully
evaded. There is no psychological reason for an idealizing romancer to
leave Daniel out of this exciting episode. The only way to account for
this omission is that in point of fact he was not personally in
attendance at this important function
F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books:
Pradis = computer version)
Matthew Henry observes that
the Hebrew boys may have had another reason to believe that God might deliver them
partly because, in such a vast
appearance of idolaters, it would be very much for the honour of his
great name to deliver them, and partly because Nebuchadnezzar had
defied Him to do it (Da 3:15b). God sometimes appears wonderfully for
the silencing of the blasphemies of the enemy, as well as for the
answering of the prayers of His people, Ps 74:18, 19, 20, 21, 22; Dt
Chuck Smith writes that
commitment came from dedication of
purpose...They committed themselves to worship and serve only God. They like
Daniel in Da 1:8 had
purposed in their heart not to be defiled by the king's command to
worship idols...How can you stop these kind of men?...God did not
deliver them from the furnace...God delivered them in
the furnace (cp the similar truth of 1Co 10:13-note).
Oswald Chambers in his often
somewhat enigmatic manner of stating things adds...
The fiery furnaces are there by
God’s direct permission. It is misleading to imagine that we are
developed in spite of our circumstances, we are developed because of
them. It is mastery in circumstances that is needed, not mastery over
BEWARE OF BOWING
LEST YOU BECOME BOUND!
Notice that what you "bow"
to (fall down and worship) will eventually be what you are "bound"
to, for it will become your master and you will serve it (like a
slave). God alluded to this spiritual dynamic when He encouraged
Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel,
all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that
has not kissed him. (1Kings 19:18)
When are we to make the
choice not to obey man? In the book of Acts we find an example of
"not bowing", Luke recording that the Jewish council and high priest
gave...strict orders not to
continue teaching in this Name, and behold, you have filled Jerusalem
with your teaching, and intend to bring this Man's blood upon us." But
Peter and the apostles answered and said, "We must obey God rather
than men." (Acts 5:28, 29)
When man’s laws clearly conflict
with God’s laws, you are to obey God BUT be ready for the
consequences. Peter and the apostles continued to speak the Name
before the Jewish council and high priest and so
they flogged them and ordered them
to speak no more in the name of Jesus, and then released them. So they
went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that
they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name." (Acts
What if a law is passed that
says we can’t share our faith on the job or with a classmate during
lunch? What if all public evangelism is prohibited by law (cp Acts
5:28, 29)? What if proclaiming Christ becomes a “hate crime"? If these
situations arise in our lifetime, then we need to recall the
principles in Daniel 3. We need to remember that while God promises to
take care of us, that doesn’t guarantee that standing up for what is
right will turn out the way we might prefer. Our charge is not to
guess what will happen but to be faithful to God's clearly revealed
will (and law), allowing Him to take care of the results. Yes,
sometimes God does protect us from the fire but other times He
protects through the fire. God may intervene to deliver us but he is
not obligated to do so.
WITH JESUS AND
JESUS WILL STAND WITH YOU
When we stand for Jesus, the
world will stand against us but He will stand with us, even as
Paul experienced in his last recorded words...
At my first defense no one
supported me, but all deserted me; may it not be counted against
them. 17 But the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, in
order that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished,
and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the
lion's mouth. 18 The Lord will deliver me from every evil deed, and (here
is our ultimate deliverance) will bring me safely to His heavenly
kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2Ti 4:16, 17,
Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus
by George Duffield, Jr
Stand up, stand up for Jesus,
ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the solemn watchword hear;
If while ye sleep He suffers, away with shame and fear;
Where’er ye meet with evil, within you or without,
Charge for the God of battles, and put the foe to rout.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the trumpet call obey;
Forth to the mighty conflict, in this His glorious day.
Ye that are brave now serve Him against unnumbered foes;
Let courage rise with danger, and strength to strength oppose.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, stand in His strength alone;
The arm of flesh will fail you, ye dare not trust your own.
Put on the Gospel armor, each piece put on with prayer;
Where duty calls or danger, be never wanting there.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, each soldier to his post,
Close up the broken column, and shout through all the host:
Make good the loss so heavy, in those that still remain,
And prove to all around you that death itself is gain.
Stand up, stand up for Jesus, the strife will not be long;
This day the noise of battle, the next the victor’s song.
To those who vanquish evil a crown of life shall be;
They with the King of Glory shall reign eternally.
Guzik points out that the
3 Hebrew lads do not make any excuses in the face of this extreme
They might have said, "There is
nothing to gain by resisting; wouldn't we do more good by living?" It
is easy to say, "we must live," but in reality, we all must die - so
why not die making a stand for God?
They might have said, "We are in a different place; in Rome, do as the
Romans do." Yet they knew that God has unlimited jurisdiction. We must
do more than "perform" acts of religious obedience when we have an
They might have said, "We will lose our jobs and our standard of
living." Often when God blesses us we make the blessing an idol and
compromise God to keep what we have.
They might have said, "After all, we are not being called to renounce
our God." They did not have a super-elastic conscience that said "we
are not bowing down to the idol, but in respect for the king, or to
the music." Excuses like this are common but prove the principle that
anything will serve as an excuse, when the heart is bent on
They might have said, "Everybody
else is doing it." Instead they cultivated brave personalities,
willing to stand alone with God
They might have said, "It is only for once, and not for very long. Ten
minutes, just for the king. It is stupid to throw our lives away for
ten minutes." These men knew that ten minutes could change an entire
life. Ten minutes can chart the course for your eternity.
They might have said, "This is more than can be expected of us; God
will understand just this once." It is true that God understands our
struggle with sin - that is why He loves the sinner and made provision
at the cross for freedom from the penalty, power, and presence of sin.
Knowing that "God understands" should be a spur to obedience, not a
license to sin.
"I am glad that the three holy children were not 'careful to answer,'
[the KJV has, "we are not careful to answer thee" here] or they might
have fallen upon some crooked policy or lame excuse for compromise.
What have we to do with consequences? It is ours to do the right, and
leave results with the Lord." (Ref)
Albert Lee writes that...
Loving God is easy when He grants
our requests and provides what we desire. Loving Him in difficult
circumstances tests our faith...There's a lesson in this for all of
us. Is God all-powerful? Yes. Is He able to deliver us from all our
problems? Yes. Does God always deliver us from our difficulties? No.
We may not fully comprehend God's purpose in our difficulty and
suffering, but we must not cease to love Him. We must trust Him and
hope in Him in spite of the trials that threaten to overwhelm us.
Genuine faith stays strong when deliverance seems distant.
I have learned to love my Savior,
And I trust Him more each day;
For no matter what the trial,
He will always be my stay. —Hess
TESTED AND TRUE -When
doctors perform surgery, the attending nurse must keep careful tab of
the number of hemostats and sponges used, so that an incision is not
closed until each item has been removed. A young nurse on her first
day with this duty told the surgeon he had used twelve sponges, but
she could account for only eleven. The doctor curtly announced that he
had removed them all. The young woman insisted that one was missing,
but the doctor grimly declared he would proceed with the suturing. The
nurse, her eyes blazing, said, "You can't do that! Think of the
patient!" The doctor smiled and, lifting his foot, showed the nurse
the twelfth sponge which he had deliberately dropped to the floor.
"You'll do!" he said. He had been testing her to see if she had the
courage and integrity to carry out the duties of her position!
Daniel's three friends were also tested by King Nebuchadnezzar's evil
edict. They knew that their refusal to worship the image of gold might
result in their death. However, they never wavered but proved they
were true to God by standing firm in the face of the enemy's threats.
The Lord still permits trials and temptations to enter the lives of
his children. The challenge may come as an invitation to gratify the
lusts of the flesh, or as a series of disheartening circumstances.
Whatever form it assumes, you must not yield, or you will experience
spiritual defeat. However, overcoming the temptation will strengthen
you and enable you to reach a new plateau in your Christian life.
Yield not to
temptation, for yielding is sin,
Each vict'ry will help you some other to win;
Fight manfully onward, dark passions subdue,
Look ever to Jesus, He will carry you through.
—H. R. Palmer
A gem cannot be polished without friction,
nor a man perfected without trial!
John Bunyan, the author
of Pilgrim’s Progress, was afraid when he was in prison for his
commitment to Christ. “My imprisonment,” he wrote, “might end on the
gallows.” We can understand his fear, can’t we? No one wants to face
the prospect of being hanged. But, a change took place in Bunyan’s
life one day. He became ashamed of being afraid. He said, “Me thought
I was ashamed to die with a pale face and tottering knees for such a
cause as this.” William Barclay comments, “Bunyan finally came to a
conclusion as he thought of himself climbing up the ladder to the
scaffold: ‘Wherefore, thought I, I am going on and venturing my
eternal state with Christ whether I have comfort here or no; if God
doth not come in, I will leap off the ladder even blindfold into
eternity. Lord Jesus, if Thou wilt catch me, do; if not, I will
venture for Thy name.’“ (Morning Glory, August 19, 1993)
The psalmist's words are
For you have made the Lord, my
Even the Most High (Da 3:26), your dwelling place.
No evil will befall you,
Nor will any plague come near your tent.
For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.
Spurgeon comments that...
It is impossible that any ill
should happen to the man who is beloved of the Lord; the most crushing
calamities can only shorten his journey and hasten him to his reward.
Ill to him is no ill, but only good in a mysterious form. Losses
enrich him, sickness is his medicine, reproach is his honour, death is
his gain. No evil in the strict sense of the word can happen to him,
for everything is overruled for good. Happy is he who is in such a
case. He is secure where others are in peril, he lives where others
It is a security in the very
midst of evils. Not like the security of angels -- safety in a world
of safety, quiet in a calm; but it is quiet in a storm; safety amid
desolation and the elements of destruction, deliverance where
everything else is going to wreck. Cicaties Bradley, 1840.
(Commenting on) To keep thee in
all thy ways. To be a bodyguard, a garrison to the body, soul, and
spirit of the saint. The limit of this protection "in all thy ways" is
yet no limit to the heart which is right with God. It is not the way
of the believer to go out of his way. He keeps in the way, and then
the angels keep him. The protection here promised is exceeding broad
as to place, for it refers to all our ways, and what do we wish for
more? How angels thus keep us we cannot tell. Whether they repel
demons, counteract spiritual plots, or even ward off the more subtle
physical forces of disease, we do not know. Perhaps we shall one day
stand amazed at the multiplied services which the unseen bands have
rendered to us.
Matthew Henry notes that
the three boys...
know they must obey God rather than
man; they must rather suffer than sin, and must not do evil that good
may come. And therefore none of these things move them; they are
resolved rather to die in their integrity than live in their iniquity.
While their brethren, who yet remained in their own land, were
worshipping images by choice, they in Babylon would not be brought to
it by constraint, but, as if they were good by antiperistasis, were
most zealous against idolatry in an idolatrous country.
And truly, all things
considered, the saving of them from this sinful compliance was as
great a miracle in the kingdom of grace as the saving of them out of
the fiery furnace was in the kingdom of nature.
These were those who formerly resolved not to defile themselves with
the king’s meat, and now they as bravely resolve not to defile
themselves with his gods. Note, A steadfast self-denying adherence to
God and duty in less instances will qualify and prepare us for the
like in greater. And in this we must be resolute, never, under any
pretence whatsoever, to worship images, or to say "A confederacy’’
with those that do so.
3:19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled
with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach,
Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the
furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. (was:
Da 3:13 Pr 21:24 Isa 51:23 Lk 12:4,5 Ac 5:33 7:54) (facial
expression: Da 5:6 Ge 4:5,6 31:2) (answered: Ex 15:9,10 1Ki
20:10,11 2Ki 19:27,28 Ps 76:10 Pr 16:14 27:3,4) (seven: Da 6:24
Lev 26:18,21,24,28) (than: 1Ki 18:33, 34, 35 Mt 27:63, 64, 65,
Filled with wrath - What
fills a person, controls a person as it controlled the king and
resulted in certain actions consistent with the wrath with which he
was filled. The lesson for us is to be very aware of the danger
of making declarations and decisions which impact others when we are
controlled by our emotions (be they anger, fear, grief, etc).
The king's wrath is like the
roaring of a lion, But his favor is like dew on the grass. (Pr 19:12)
playing the fool for Solomon says that...
He who is slow to anger has great
understanding, but he who is quick-tempered exalts folly. (Pr
Do not be eager in your heart to be
angry, for anger resides in the bosom of fools. (Ec 7:9)
How little was it the honour of
this mighty prince that he had rule over so many nations when at the
same time he had no rule over his own spirit, that there were so many
who were subjects and captives to him when he was himself a perfect
slave to his own brutish passions and led captive by them! How unfit
was he to rule reasonable men who could not himself be ruled by
The following cross references
with the phrase "filled with" make an interesting study on the
importance of the concept of "being filled" -- Lk 1:15
referring to the John the Baptist, Lk 1:41, 42, Lk 1:67, 68ff, Lk
4:28, 29 [context = Lk 4:24, 25, 26, 27], Lk 5:26 [context = Lk 5:24,
25], Lk 6:11 [context = Lk 6:7, 8, 9, 10], Acts 2:4, 4:8, 9, 10, 4:31,
32, 33, Acts 5:17, 18, Ac 9:17, 13:9, 10, 11, 12, Acts 13:45
[jealousy], Ac 13:52, Ac 19:28, 29 [context = Ac 19:26, 27], Ro 1:28,
29, Ro 15:14, 2Co 7:4, Ep 5:18, see the effects/evidence in Ep 5:19,
20, 21, Col 1:9).
Facial expression was altered
- Imagine his face! Bright red! Nostrils flaring. Features distorted.
Anger is an ugly thing not to mention that a distorted face (from
anger) usually results in distorted judgment. The only thing hotter
than his face for the superheated furnace!
Seven times - This is
probably not literal but figurative language conveying the idea that
the fire was to be made as hot as was physically possible. The number
seven is frequently used in Scripture to speak of completion or
perfection (Ge 2:2, 3, Pr 24:16; Pr 26:16, Re 3:1-note,
His order shows the irrationality of one who is angry, because a lower
temperature fire would have actually prolonged their agony! To heat
the furnace even hotter would have lengthened their time on "death
row" at least a few minutes. It is difficult to imagine what was going
through their mind and I look forward to asking them in eternity
future. I would not be surprised to hear them say something like Psalm
or Psalm 27-note!
Related Resource: Tony
Geoffrey King comments on
filled with wrath noting that...
then he lost his temper! That is always the mark of a little man. His
furnace was hot, but he himself got hotter! And when a man gets full
of fury, he gets full of folly (Pr 14:29, Ec 7:9).
There is no fool on earth like a man who has lost his temper. And
Nebuchadnezzar did a stupid thing. He ought to have cooled the furnace
seven times less if he had wanted to hurt them; but instead of that in
his fury he heated it seven times more. (Ed: And hurt himself,
losing some of his best soldiers to the blaze!)
Spurgeon comments that...
Despite the intense intimidation,
the men stayed courageous in their confession of faith...Remember also
that by yielding to the fear of man you are demeaning yourself (cp Pr
29:25). There shall come a day when the man that was ashamed of
Christ will himself be ashamed (Mk 8:38, Lk 9:26, 1Pe
4:16): he will wonder where he can hide his guilty head. Look at him!
There he is! The traitor who denied his Lord! The Christ was spat upon
and nailed to the cross, and this man was afraid to own Him. To win
the smile of a silly maid, to escape the jest of a coarse fellow, to
win a few pieces of silver, to stand respectable among his fellow-men,
he turned his back upon his Redeemer and sold his Lord; and now what
can be said for him? Who can excuse him? The angels shun him as a man
who was ashamed of the Lord of glory (1Co 2:8). He is clothed with
shame and everlasting contempt (Da 12:2KJV). Even the lost in hell get
away from him, for many of them were more honest than he. Is there
such a man as this before me? I summon him in the name of the living
God to answer for his cowardice! Let him come forth and own his crime,
and humbly seek forgiveness at the hands of the gracious Savior.
3:20 He commanded certain valiant
warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and
Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire.
(Tie: Da 3:15 Ac 12:4,5 16:23,25)
He commanded some of his best,
elite, strongest men to bind the boys. He would soon see the folly of
this angry command in conjunction with the "superheating" of the
One has to marvel at the mind of
an angry man, binding them up as if they were actually going to be
able to escape!
3:21 Then these men were tied up in
their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and
were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire.
Trousers - The Greek
historian Herodotus says the Babylonian dress was a linen tunic,
another of woolen, a white short cloak, and a turban.
Showers makes the cogent
Three things should be noted about
the punishment. First, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were
thrown into the furnace with highly flammable clothing. Second,
the fire in the furnace was such a raging inferno that it killed the
soldiers when they got close enough to cast in the Jews. Third,
the Jews were bound so well that they could not move when they were
dropped into the fire. All three points emphasize the miracle about to
take place. (Ibid)
3:22 For this reason, because the
king's command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot,
the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach
and Abed-nego. (urgent: Ex 12:33) (slew: Da
6:24 Pr 11:8 21:18 Zec 12:2,3 Mt 27:5 Ac 12:19)
Slew those men - The
irony is that while the earthly king of kings (Da 2:37, Ezek
26:7) could not protect his valiant warriors, the God of
heaven (Da 2:18, 19, 37, 44), the true King of kings (Re
was able to protect His valiant warriors of faith!
Bishop of Alexandria, opposed the heretical teaching of
denied the deity of Christ. He was exiled five times for his
opposition to Arius. They brought Athanasius before Emperor Theodosius who
mandated that he cease his opposition to Arius. The Emperor sharply
reproved him and said, “Do you not realize that all the world is
against you?” Athanasius answered, “Then I am against all the world!”
3:23 But these three men, Shadrach,
Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing
fire still tied up. (fell: Da 6:16,17 Ps 34:19
66:11,12 124:1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Jer 38:6 La 3:52, 53, 54 2Co 1:8, 9, 10, 4:17 1Pe 4:12,13)
But - This conjunction
emphasizes the contrasting fates of the king's men versus God's men,
and indeed serves as a foreshadowing of the fate of every person ever
born, for all will either experience the eternal fires of Gehenna and
separation from God or the eternal presence of God Who delivers
believers from the wrath to come.
Still tied up ("bound" in
Da 3:24) - A small detail the significance of which becomes apparent
in succeeding verses.
FOR EVERY "FIERY FURNACE"
Fell into the midst of the
furnace - Perhaps you are thinking "I could never be able to
endure such a test!". We need to remember that for "various (poikilos)
trials" (1Pe 1:7-note)
God gives "manifold (poikilos)
grace" (1Pe 4:10-note),
truth that is the testimony of many believers throughout this present
evil age. Just the exact amount of grace needed, just in the "nick of
time", fully sufficient for the trial at hand! That is our great and
So let us ask again, how were they able to endure
this incredible test of their faith?
Trouble and the grace to
bear it come in the same package.
Annie Johnson Flint (see
more poems) put it this