Daniel 07: Daniel 3 vs 1-7

A study on the book of Daniel.
We will divide the study into two major parts:

Part I: A History of the Times…And the Setup for Coming Attractions:

Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled.
… These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.

Daniel 3

Daniel 3:1-7 | 1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: 6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
Nebuchadnezzar II

We said earlier that kings will be kings, and Nebuchadnezzar II was no exception.

One moment Daniel had Nebuchadnezzar’s undivided attention, almost persuading him of the’ ultimate power of the one, true God; the next minute, the king was again egocentric and self-promoting, forgetting Daniel’s prophecy and its implications.

Perhaps the king was simply denying his mighty Babylonian kingdom would ever really collapse-especially at the hands of the Medo-Persian empire.


A Preview of 666

Imagine the sight of a golden image of Nebuchadnezzar II that was ninety feet high {27.432m} (sixty cubits) and nine feet wide {2.7432m} (six cubits in all, a cubit being approximately eighteen inches), erected on the plain of Dura. While the ‘golden image may simply have appeared to be little more than a massive statue, it actually holds great prophetic meaning and is yet another end-time mystery about to be unsealed.
For example, the numbers 66 come together here: the number of man (sixty cubits high) and six cubits wide, resembling the number of the Antichrist in Revelation 13:16-18 (six cubits). This gives us a reference to the time when the Antichrist comes into power and his false prophet sets up an image of his likeness in the temple. Revelation 13:15 says,

And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the im
age of the beast should be killed.

Marduk

Faucet’s Bible Dictionary Encyclopedia reports that the archaeologist Opert once journeyed to present day Iraq-the area of biblical Babylon-and excavated what most evangelical scholars believe is the pedestal on which Nebuchadnezzar’s great image had been placed-proving this biblical event really happened! Some believe the gold statue may have been built to honor Nebuchadnezzar’s deceased father, Nabopolassar. Others suggest it was erected to appease  Marduk (aka Bel) – the revered pagan gods of Babylon. More likely, the image was a representation of the king himself.

Nebuchadnezzar II had a flair for publicity, and he knew where to position the gigantic statue so that no one could miss seeing it. While Babylon was a skyscraper city of its day, the plain of Dura was a huge mound of earth, about six miles southeast of Babylon, probably a walled area that Nebuchadnezzar II could have easily used as a focal point to stage an event of this enormity.

Anything constructed in that area would be seen for miles around. Its strategic position allowed for thousands of people to descend on the area at once, thus giving the king a venue for a mass rally where loyal supporters could bow and pay their homage to the king. This seemed to be a carefully planned “photo op” for Nebuchadnezzar II and an event which all the chief officers of the land were commanded to attend-including Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

Fail to Bow… Pay the Price

Here we catch a glimpse of Nebuchadnezzar’s political acumen and get a dramatic preview of the activities of the Antichrist to come. The king knew he had to keep certain conquered peoples under his thumb at all times, and what better vehicle than native religion to promote the power of the state? Nebuchadnezzar II knew that whatever officials saw that day on the plain of Dura, they would take back to those captives under their jurisdiction.

Apparently Daniel was somewhere else in the realm on business for the king, since he was not present at the unveiling of the golden image. In fact, Daniel is not even mentioned in this chapter. For the first time in our story, his three friends are on their own {Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego}. But because Daniel had exerted such great moral and spiritual influence on his companions, compromise with foreign gods was out of the question.

However, these three faithful Hebrews would pay a terrible price for not bowing to the image. King Nebuchadnezzar II would try to have them killed, picturing an approaching day when the Antichrist carries out the same penalty on those who refuse to bow to his image and reject his mark, 666. At first reading this passage simply appears to be a provocative piece of biblical history. Closer observation, however, tells us that this story speaks to where you and I are today-and where we are quickly headed.

For instance, during the Tribulation hour, the Antichrist will make an image of himself (Revelation 13:15), and anyone who will not worship that image will be killed, even as those who refused to bow to the image of Nebuchadnezzar II were threatened with destruction in a furnace of fire. The only difference between the two events is magnitude. The Tribulation hour will be a time when fire engulfs the earth. Revelation 8:7 says,

And the third part of trees was burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

Revelation 9:18 tells us:

By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone.

Accompanying all this mayhem will be the Antichrist, who says, “If you don’t worship me and my image, you’re going to die.” Revelation 20:4 says,

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image.

Matthew 25:31-46, however, declares that there will be multitudes who will survive the seven-year period without taking the number. I’m not sure how, but they will persevere, just as the three Hebrew children ultimately survived their trial by fire.

Nebuchadnezzar – Picture of the Antichrist

So the statue on the plain of Dura was more than just an image of a king. It graphically represented the king’s continued rebellion against God-just as the Antichrist will become the definition of rebellion against the Almighty. The image also indicated that the king was egocentric, offering his image to the people as a symbol of self-deification. Again, there are Antichrist implications (Daniel 11:36).
Politically, Nebuchadnezzar needed a strong, unifying force to continue to bring together the disparate tribes and nations that fell to the power of Babylon. In short, Nebuchadnezzar’s purpose was to institute a totalitarian regime, and this was one way to galvanize the people’s attention and allegiance. What better description can we find in Scripture of the political prowess of the Antichrist to come!

Not surprisingly, when the word went out that this was “bow down” time, the officials, governors, and whoever else had managed to get to Dura that day paid obeisance to the king right on cue. Imagine the scene. Nebuchadnezzar was so fully in control of this grand event that he even had it choreographed. When the conductor of this desert orchestra of cornets, flutes, harps, sackbuts (stringed instruments), psalteries, and dulcimers lowered his baton, it was time to fall to one’s knees.

And that’s what the masses did: They looked at the great statue, and they fell down to worship.

Why not?

To remain standing in defiance of the king’s order would mean certain death in a fiery furnace.

A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE
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Missionarius Apostolicus

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