BOOK OF DANIEL – Backfire!

Posted by on Jun 8, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Backfire!

BackFire!

After all of the events that occurred so far in Daniel chapter three, what was the net result? Daniel 3:28-30 tells us, “Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way.” Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon.” (NASB)

First, we see Nebuchadnezzar blessing the God of Israel. Sadly, he stops short of declaring that God is the God that all should worship. Hence, although Nebuchadnezzar knew (after two events now) that God was far superior to him or his gods, he still was not ready to give up his polytheism [the belief in or worship of more than one god]. He simply wanted to add, as it were, the God of Israel to his own list of gods. He acknowledges that God had “sent His angel” who delivered His servants due to their trust in Him. Nebuchadnezzar even acknowledges that this meant them violating his own command, despite the consequences.

If you recall, in Daniel 3:25, the term “like a son of the gods” is used. We mentioned that two predominant thoughts regarding the identity of the fourth person in the furnace were either an angel or the pre-incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. We also stated the Aramaic word used for this term was el-aw, which corresponded with the Hebrew word eloah, meaning God. We also said that Ezra used the exact same Aramaic word over forty times in referencing the God of the Jews. Now, however, we see in Daniel 3:28 that Nebuchadnezzar uses the Aramaic word malak which is actually translated as angel. Interestingly, when we arrive at Daniel 6:22, Daniel employs the same Aramaic word for angel in stating that the angel shut the mouths of the lion’s while Daniel was in the lion’s den.

The smart thing to recognize in all of this is simply to ask oneself the following questions.

  1. Could God have accomplished the miracle by using an angel? The answer to that is a resounding -Yes.
  2. Based on the text of Scripture did God use an angel? We cannot categorically answer that question.
  3. Did God appear Himself in the form of a Theophany [Theophany refers to the manifestation of God to a person or persons]? We cannot say for sure.
  4. Did the pre-incarnate Christ appear in the form of a Christophany [A Christophany is an appearance or non-physical manifestation of Christ]? Again, we do not know for sure.

Whomever the fourth person was in the furnace is of no relevance to the facts of what happened and the result of the miracle. The one thing we can be sure of is that God produced the miracle. Confirmation of that is also seen by the declaration by Nebuchadnezzar acknowledging that fact. My point is this. Focus on the miracle, not the circumstances, of how it happened. It happened by means of God and that is all we need to be concerned with. Too many Christians ask, “How did this happen or how did that happen?”. Or “was it this or that way?” Questioning the Biblical text in this way only causes confusion and, worse, doubt. The overriding point is if God wanted us to know the full facts He would have told us. What He has revealed is sufficient – or should be. If it is not, then a person needs to question their belief structure. I say that as a kind warning. If you find yourself questioning God’s word in such a way, are you going to question Him if you are faced with a circumstance that could mean giving up your life by remaining loyal to Him?

Nebuchadnezzar’s decree was simply adding God to his polytheistic belief system [a polytheist is one who believes in more than one god]. Nebuchadnezzar’s acknowledgment of God’s power was evident by his decree of punishing anyone who spoke against the God of the three young Hebrews. In short, Nebuchadnezzar was not showing allegiance to God but rather placing Him within his group of gods that he worshipped. You see that by Nebuchadnezzar saying that there was no other god who could deliver in the way God did. One could imagine this king thinking that God was useful for somethings so he would simply place Him in the list of all the other gods, in case he needed Him in the future. This was, of course, folly on Nebuchadnezzar’s part. Trying to place the Most High God within the pantheon [all the gods of a people or religion collectively] was totally misguided. He would again be taught a lesson in this regard also.

For the moment, Nebuchadnezzar gave honor to the God of Israel but he also gave honor to the three young Hebrew men whom he ordered to be killed and whom ultimately received God’s miracle by their faith in Him. Whatever positions of importance they held before their arrest, the king now ordered them to be promoted again, to what positions the Scriptures do not reveal. The tyranny of the Chaldeans who orchestrated the arrest of the Hebrews certainly backfired on them in ways they could not have imagined.

In the fascinating study of God’s word we never see or hear of Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah ever again. What they did following these events we do not know. Given the miracle that they personally experienced surely strengthened their faith exponentially in their young years that would carry them through all of their lives.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Witnesses

Posted by on Jun 7, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Witnesses

Witnesses

Scripture identifies Nebuchadnezzar as the only one seeing the fourth person in the furnace. Whether or not he motioned others to look into the furnace when he asked if three men had been thrown into the furnace and not four, we are not told. Let us assume that only he saw the fourth person so that we do not attempt to stretch Scripture. That being said, all those in attendance knew that the furnace had been heated up seven times higher than its normal temperature, ready to throw the three young Hebrews into its flames. Many are likely to have witnessed the mightiest soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar’s army perish as they took the condemned men to the edge of the furnace. What cannot be disputed, however, are the witnesses to what happened next. We are told in Daniel 3:27, “The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.” (NASB) Here we have confirmation that many individuals witnessed Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah unharmed and untouched after coming out of the furnace. God has, and will, continue to provide his protection for those whom He has redeemed. Isaiah 43:2 tells us, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (ESV) While this Scripture was directed towards the Israelites, it applies to all of those redeemed by God. It has application on an individual level in that each individual makes up the entire body of the redeemed. Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying here that we are each individually protected from such trials. History confirms that truth. Many of God’s people have been put to death by the enemies of God for their faithful testimony and many more will experience that fate. Our sin-riddled bodies are affected by sickness, disease and ultimately death. Being a true Christian does not give us a free pass to what we experience in this world. Isaiah is stating here that even the redeemed will, and must, pass through fiery trials. The examples given are, of course, the global flood of Noah’s day where eight souls were saved. The parting of the Red Sea is another, where the Israelites were able to escape the Egyptians. Exodus 12:37 and Numbers 11:21 confirm that over 600,000 Israelite men left Egypt on foot. These numbers excluded women and child so the grand total could well be in excess of between 1.5 and 2.5 million Jews who crossed the Red Sea. Yet another example is that of our current study where just three individual Jews were protected from the flame of a furnace. In all of these examples and those that others, and perhaps ourselves, have experienced or are yet to experience God’s promise is this. “I will be with you”. He is always with His redeemed. Never forget that. Never doubt it for one moment.

When Peter was crucified upside down (by tradition), when Paul was beheaded (by tradition), when Polycarp who was eighty-six years old and was viciously thrown from a carriage that is said to have broken his leg only to then be burned at the start and pierced by a spear; when William Tyndale was choked to death as he burned at the stake; when Jan Huss was bound by ropes and his neck chained to a stake while his executioners piled wood and straw that covered him to his neck; when Latimer and Ridley were burned together in Oxford, England – GOD was with all of them. These are just a few of the thousands of examples of God’s own redeemed suffering untimely deaths for their faithfulness. No matter what befalls us, or does not, God is with us. His promise is cemented in rock-solid concrete (my metaphor) and He will never forsake us.  That proof and promise are contained in the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, for our eternal life with Him in His kingdom.

Nevertheless, God has intervened many times to physically protect His redeemed and will do so again in the future. The Scripture in Daniel that we have discussed today is one such example. We have all experienced being exposed to smoke as in a fire when burning some wood, for example. Or even those of us who can remember making a coal/wooden fire to keep warm. The smoke is unmistakable if it comes into contact with our clothes. You cannot get rid of it necessitating a change of clothes.

As the three Hebrews were examined by all those gathered around them, they could see as the Scripture says, “the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them.” This indeed was a miracle of huge proportions. Not even a single hair on their head was singed. One could imagine (despite Scripture being silent on the matter) that many of these officials could have spoken, or repeated, the events of this miracle to others in their districts or, perhaps, family members for many days, weeks, months or even years to come. It was impossible to ignore. In all of the excitement of seeing the young Hebrews unhurt from the furnace, they had all forgotten something that was missing, that was destroyed by the fire. The ropes that bound the three Hebrews. Despite the young men’s clothing not being touched, the ropes were gone. The symbol of Nebuchadnezzar’s unbelief and wrath were destroyed in the flames by God Himself.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Acknowledgment

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Acknowledgment

Acknowledgment

One thing I mentioned previously was that the events of the three young Hebrews being thrown into the furnace is spoken of even today. I’m not talking about a church sermon but, in particular, storybooks that are written for children especially, but also in a chance discussion with an adult. Despite the shift in the educational authorities of this world removing God from the classrooms, many adults were exposed to stories such as this one and often remember it. Another, pertaining also to the book of Daniel, that we will go on to discuss, is Daniel in the lion’s den which is, perhaps, even more famous to many. I mention these two examples of actual miracles for a specific reason. That reason is this. Whether or not you believe that these two events actually happened is irrelevant. I am not saying they are not relevant to your eternal future, because they are. But it is irrelevant as to whether you personally believe them or not. Why? Because they did happen.  God had told us so through His word – the Bible. Your choice in believing or disbelieving makes no difference to an event that occurred by means of a miracle by God. The spectrum of such belief or unbelief is wide from those (such as me) who completely believe in the word of God to those who categorically think these events and others are simply fairy tales. In between there are differing degrees of belief or unbelief. But both of those degrees are induced by the thoughts of man. Actually, that also includes the person who categorically does not believe. Sadly, on the scale of those who disbelieve these events or, worse, try and suggest it was a symbol or water down what actually happened includes some who profess to be Christians. Do not be fooled and do not test the content of the word of God because of some man-made thought. We are told in Proverbs 3:5-6 to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (ESV) The Apostle Paul emphasizes this point in Romans 15:4 saying, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (ESV)

In Daniel 3:26 we are told, “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire.” (NASB)

There are a couple of points in this verse that are not immediately apparent. The first is that Nebuchadnezzar was able to get close enough to the door of the furnace to call out to the three Hebrews. Given the fact that his mightiest soldiers had perished just trying to get to the entrance of the furnace due to the intense heat we could conclude that is was also miraculous in itself in the king getting close enough for the three men to hear his voice. However, the Scripture is silent in this regard, at least here. I say that because we see in Hebrews chapter eleven, which is known as the chapter of Faith, the exploits of several persons. Hebrews 11:32-34 says, “And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” (ESV) Many scholars and theologians consider that verse thirty-four alludes to Daniel in the lion’s den and the power of fire being quenched sometime after the three young Hebrews were thrown into the furnace. How God quenched the power of the fire is only known to God and is not for us to know, other than it was done by miraculous means. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word “quench” to “put out or extinguish” or to “put out the light or fire”. If this is what occurred to the furnace by God’s miracle then that would account for Nebuchadnezzar being able to approach the door to call the three men to come to him. If you notice, the Scripture mentions no fear of Nebuchadnezzar approaching the door or sending someone else in case of danger to himself.

The other thing you may not have noticed is the king never calls out to the fourth person to come out. Why? Scripture is silent as to that question but clearly, the miracle was complete. We will see one more reference to this fourth person a few verses later.

Despite the interpretation of his dream previously, Nebuchadnezzar had thought his gods, and even himself were more powerful than the God of the young Hebrews. That all changed by him acknowledging their God as the “Most High God” when he called them out of the furnace. It was a paradigm shift to acknowledge such thoughts and verbalize them. That did not mean he stopped worshipping his own gods but merely that he recognized, by the miracle he witnessed, that the Hebrews God was more powerful than any of his gods and, indeed, himself.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – An Astonishing Event

Posted by on Jun 5, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – An Astonishing Event

An Astonishing Event

In our previous blog the three young Hebrews have been thrown into the furnace on the orders of King Nebuchadnezzar due to their refusal to bow down to the golden image he had made. I mentioned that what happens next astounds the king. I’m sure it astounded all who were present too. I also mentioned the reason for this astounding event is talked about even today. You’ll see in a moment when we read the next passage of Scripture why that is so. Given the fact that the king’s mightiest soldiers perished simply by approaching the furnace, one could conclude that the same fate met the three young Hebrews. Being cast into the actual furnace surely meant a quick death. However, Daniel 3:24 tells us a different story. The Scripture reads, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” (NASB)

However Nebuchadnezzar was seated, or in what location, we are not told. But, clearly, he had a view of the furnace by some means to quickly notice that what he expected to see was quite the contrary. The text seems to suggest that his astonishment at what he saw caused him to stand up from his seat in haste. Anyone who has experienced being astonished by something while they are sitting know that a variety of actions do occur as the body reacts to what the eye has seen. I’m persuaded to believe that what Nebuchadnezzar saw through the aperture in the furnace caused him to jump up from his seat in astonishment at what his eyes saw. The question he asks his officials is equally astounding, given the heat of the furnace. I would venture very few of us have ever experienced the intensity of heat that is described by what we have read in this third chapter of Daniel. Even those who gallantly laid down their lives for God during the early Reformation period by being burned at the stake and suffering indescribable pain as the flames took hold of their bodies were unlikely to have experienced the same intense heat already present that the three young Hebrews were thrown into. The nature of the flames that the Reformation heroes experienced was that of a building crescendo of heat that they were subjected to. But, for the young Hebrews, the furnace was pre-heated to an unbelievable temperature. A simple analogy could be when a piece of paper is thrown into a fire that has been burning for some time. Glowing embers are clearly seen by the differing colors defined by the intensity of the heat. As the paper makes contact with the source of the heat it instantaneously shrivels into nothingness [incinerates]. Nebuchadnezzar was expecting something very similar. Death would have been virtually instantaneous as the brain would have immediately sent signals that the body was about to die. Sensory centers would have quickly shut down as the brain recognized death was imminent. While a human body can take two to three hours to incinerate (as in the case of cremation) there would have been very little to no movement from the three Hebrews who would have quickly been consumed. But that is not what Nebuchadnezzar saw, i.e. three bodies immediately engulfed in flames. Instead, remarkably he asks his officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” The officials immediately replied that was, indeed, the case. What Nebuchadnezzar says next in Daniel 3:25 is remarkable. The Scripture says, “He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!” (NASB)

Not only are the three young Hebrew men walking around unharmed in the furnace but they are no longer bound!! However, the most remarkable sight was that there was a fourth person who is described as having the appearance like a son of the gods. Who was this mysterious fourth man? The two most leading thoughts are that either the fourth man was an angel or the pre-incarnate Son of God Himself. So, which thought is correct? I err on the side of caution here so as not to state what the text does not say. The argument held by many is that it is not the Son of God because Nebuchadnezzar had no knowledge of the Divine Deity. But this is hardly a solid argument given the fact that he certainly knew of the power of God by the interpretation of the dream that he fully acknowledged. When we look at the original text used, the Aramaic word for the phrase, “son of the gods” is not plural but singular. That word is el-aw which corresponds with the Hebrew word eloah meaning God. The Jewish priest Ezra used the Aramaic term (el-aw) more than forty times in the book of Ezra between Ezra 4:24 – Ezra 7:26. On each occasion the reference is to the God of the Jews. Remember, Nebuchadnezzar believed in many gods. The fact that the text is written in the way Nebuchadnezzar voiced his astonishment proves he believed he was looking at some superhuman being. Why? Because he had earlier asked the three young Hebrews “What god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” (Daniel 3:15b) He certainly would not have been referring to any of the Babylonian gods because the three young men had refused to worship any of them. We will see Nebuchadnezzar’s acknowledgement not only to the miracle but who was responsible for it in our next discussion.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – Temper Tantrums

Posted by on Jun 4, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – Temper Tantrums

Temper Tantrums.

I gave today’s blog the title “Temper Tantrums” for good reason. Have you noticed during our readings so far in the book of Daniel that when Nebuchadnezzar didn’t get his way he immediately flew off in a rage? He was, indeed, a hot-tempered individual. I wonder if he expressed such tantrums as a child. He evidently expressed them as an adult. In fact, in our modern world, there is even a name for an adult who throws a tantrum [another term is “pitching a fit”]. Such an individual may be suffering from a condition called intermittent explosive disorder. One psychiatrist states that people who have this disorder cause a lot of suffering. Not only do they suffer themselves but they ensure a lot of other people suffer due to being subjected to such aggression. No doubt when we read our passage today we see Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction to the three young Hebrew’s refusal to carry out his command affect not only them but several others. We are told in Daniel 3:19-23, “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. 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. 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. 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. But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up.” (NASB)

When we read the text we see how Nebuchadnezzar lost all control in a matter of seconds. He was filled with wrath, so much so that his facial expression was altered. We can all relate to a person’s facial expression that changes from a normal countenance to a face contorted with anger. This is what is meant by Nebuchadnezzar’s facial expression being “altered” due to his extreme anger toward the three young Hebrew’s. His hot-headed anger was not rational either. Quickly following his angry outburst he composes himself enough to order the furnace to be increased in heat seven times its normal temperature. However, a much hotter fire would have caused less suffering as it would incinerate a body far quicker on impact than that of a slow or cooler fire which would likely cause enough time for a person to suffer longer as the fire took hold of its victim. In this regard, Nebuchadnezzar’s anger caused him to not even think straight if his plan was to make the Hebrews suffer more for their disobedience.

The NASB uses the term “trousers” in the passage which is clearly not the same design that we consider are trousers today. The original text mentions slippers; tunics; turbans and “other clothes”. When one looks at the root word for all of these items we only see the descriptions of a cloak or coat as well as a gown and hat. There is no specific meaning to this particular portion of the passage other than that the three young men were bound fully clothed as opposed to being stripped for execution. In fact, we are told why they remained fully clothed in the next sentence. The king’s command was urgent and the furnace had already reached the new required temperature ordered by the king.

The fact that Nebuchadnezzar chose his valiant men, who are termed his “mighty men” in the original text, seems strange. Why choose his elite soldiers for such a task? Some suggest it was to show his own personal strength against the young men. It may also have been a sign to anyone else who thought about rebelling that they would be dealt with by the mightiest of his troops. Sadly, for those who bound the three Hebrew’s up, all they got out of this was that they, themselves, perished as they brought the young men closer to the furnace. Now if the furnace slew these mighty men of the king’s army who were carrying the young Hebrew’s up toward the furnace, why didn’t the young men perish with them? They were exposed to the same heat. The only answer is God’s providence protected them. Had Nebuchadnezzar realized this, he would have known, there and then, that he was about to receive a lesson in humility from God Himself. But God had not finished the lesson for it was a lesson that would astound those in attendance and which is talked about even today. Before that lesson occurs Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah are thrown into the fiery furnace. In our next blog we see what occurs next that astounds Nebuchadnezzar causing him to jump to his feet.

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BOOK OF DANIEL

Posted by on Jun 1, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL

First an Apology

I find myself apologizing several times for either the delay of the daily blog or it not appearing at all. This is not something I wish to continue as it may produce the wrong thought or intent of my commitment to the blog series. On the contrary, I seek to ensure the blog is done as often as possible. Yet, with the constraints of time and circumstance, that is not always the case. Many hours of diligent study are done daily in researching the subject for each blog which leaves little else to complete. As a result, sometimes other important issues, tasks, or study suffer. Playing catch-up is not the ideal nor the correct solution. Hence, I must do the proper prioritizing of what needs and must get done on a daily basis. So, rather than continuing to post further apologies, please know that if a blog does not appear on a given day then there is a genuine reason for it not appearing. I thank you in advance for your understanding on this matter.

In our last discussion on chapter three of the book of Daniel we saw King Nebuchadnezzar demanding that Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah bow down to the golden image or face being thrown into the furnace. Today we see their reply. It is contained in Daniel 3:16-18 which reads, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 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. 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.” (NASB)

In the second sentence the three young men could easily be accused of being disrespectful and arrogant. Notice the sentence says that they did not need to give the king an answer. Only until they explain what they mean does this sentence clear any thought of disrespect or arrogance. Simply put, the three young men were saying that, because of their confidence in God, there was no answer to give. Their refusal to bow down to the image or worship the gods of Nebuchadnezzar was never an act of dishonor. Nor were they disobeying Nebuchadnezzar by their nonconformity to Nebuchadnezzar’s demands. They simply could not do the things Nebuchadnezzar was insisting they do because of what they said next. “If it be so, our God whom we serve”. Irrespective of the result of them refusing to bow to the image they were confident that if God chose to, He would deliver them from being burned to death. But even if He did not, they steadfastly maintained their faith and allegiance to the one true God. The fact that they said, “But even if He does not” should not in any way be misunderstood that they were saying that God lacked the ability to save them. They had complete confidence in God that whatever was His will they would not sin against Him by doing what the king insisted upon. Their minds were made up. They would not compromise their faith in God. Despite these young Hebrew men not having Matthew 10:28 or Luke 12:4-5 in their mental arsenal they knew many Scriptures of the Old Testament that would give them the confidence which, despite being put to death for their faithful service to God, that was the only thing a mere man, although a king, could do to them. They were acutely aware of the command in Exodus 20:3-5 that, “You shall have no other gods before Me. “You shall not make for yourself an idol, 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.” (NASB) They also had complete confidence in such Scriptures as Psalm 118:5-9; Psalm 56:4; Psalm 56:10-11; Isaiah 51:7; Isaiah 8:11-13; Deuteronomy 31:6; Psalm 27:1; Isaiah 51:12; Proverbs 29:25; Joshua 1:9; Isaiah 43:1; Psalm 23:4 which I encourage you to read while studying this blog.

 

Do you have the same confidence in God as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah? You and I serve the same God they did.

Could you be as bold and courageous as these young men facing a fiery furnace? Many of the saints of the Reformation did.

What if it wasn’t you being threatened being thrown in a furnace or simply being executed in some way? What if it was your Spouse, your Child, your Grandchild or Sibling that was going to be put to death if you did not renounce your faith in God?

These are stark and serious questions you must prepare yourself for NOW if you are to show the confidence in God that, not only these three young Hebrew’s showed, but countless others have shown throughout the history of man.

If such fear and terror comes our way we must be ready and fully resigned to the will of God. The three young men did not ask for a miracle. They did not expect a miracle. Did they pray? I’m sure they did and we must also.

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BOOK OF DANIEL – A Lesson for Us Today

Posted by on May 24, 2018 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on BOOK OF DANIEL – A Lesson for Us Today

A Lesson for Us Today

Were you amazed at the audacity of Nebuchadnezzar asking Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah what god could save them out of his hand if they did not obey his command and bow down to the golden image? Given the fact that the God of the three Hebrews revealed the king’s entire dream and its interpretation we can easily draw those thoughts of how stupid Nebuchadnezzar was in asking them such a question. I get the impression that when one reads about how great Nebuchadnezzar was and that God did indeed allow him to have such greatness that, if we are not careful, we could begin to think he was a likable character. If we do that then we are first, giving him far more credit that what he deserves and second, we are taking our eye off the real reason why Nebuchadnezzar was chosen by God to be the instrument who received the dream. You see, it wasn’t really Nebuchadnezzar’s dream – it was God’s. And it wasn’t even a dream but God’s purpose and plan for the entire history of the Gentile nations which the Jews also had a full role in. Remember, we have spoken how the Jews demanded an earthly king just like all the other nations had. They rejected God’s rule. When God provided them a Jewish king in the form of King Saul they still sinned and committed gross idolatry. From the first Jewish king to the last they all sinned against God in differing degrees. But eventually God called time on that Jewish rule and decreed that the Israelites would lose their land and it would be desolate for seventy years. This is what factually occurred beginning in 605 BC. By the Jews rejecting the rule of God and later Jesus Christ, they also fulfilled God’s purpose and plan. It was no surprise to God that all of this would occur. What we really see in all of this is the total depravity of man who is incapable of not only ruling themselves but also accepting God and Jesus Christ. Only through the unmerited Grace of God can a person come to Him. If you are of the persuasion that you can simply ask Christ into your life and automatically He will accept you then, I’m sorry, but you are deluding yourself and probably following a false gospel from some preacher who teaches the Arminian idea of salvation –  where we somehow co-operate with God in obtaining salvation. I, too, fell into that trap for a couple of years until my wife, through arduous study, strong prayer, and daily reading God’s word in depth, sought out teachers who affirm the truth of Scripture. Let me be clear. Your ONLY route to salvation is by Grace alone, through Faith alone, in Christ alone. Ephesians 2:8-9 bears this fact out saying, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (ESV) Before I get calls from disgruntled believers that “we exercise faith in Christ” let me answer that question, for it automatically comes up every time in contrast to those of us who believe the true manner of salvation. While it is certainly true that faith is something that we exercise, that does NOT mean that Christians bring this or anything else to the table when they are saved. Thinking that one can work up faith because of believing that we are born with such ability is a false view. Ephesians 2:8 proves that view is false for it says “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.” Breaking that verse down, you have been saved by Grace through faith and that is not of your own doing. If Grace comes first then any faith we have has been given to us. We have not generated it. We act upon it by the Grace of God providing it to us. If you still disagree then how do you argue with Scripture that tells us in the same verse that “this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”? It is true that we put our faith in Christ but it is only when God gives us that faith is it guaranteed  that we will exercise such faith toward our salvation. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, our hearts cannot be changed. Grace is defined as the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings. There is NOTHING in that definition that includes any part of us playing a part in the Grace given to us by God, who provides the faith that leads to our salvation through Jesus Christ. Finally, the doctrine of irresistible Grace is simply this. If God wants us, He will have us. Even if we resist His calling, and many have done that in their past lives, if God has chosen one to be one of His elect then His Grace will rest on us which will, in turn, generate belief and perseverance. The ironclad proof of this is our Savior’s words in John 6:37, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” (ESV) If we take the credit for our faith then we are wrong for it is not by our own will that we received that faith but by Grace alone. It is all God. It has never been anything else but God. We are incapable of believing, accepting, or adopting such faith in the belief and acceptance of God unless He gives it to us FIRST by His unmerited free gift of Grace.

 

That is why Nebuchadnezzar asked what god could save the three Hebrew men from his hand because he never had the Grace or the faith that would lead to his eventual salvation.

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