The Keys To Understanding The Book Of Daniel

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Key Studies in Daniel - Series No. 1

1.  Daniel the Man

The Book of Daniel was written during Judah's captivity in the land of Babylon.  This was foretold by Jeremiah in 2 Chronicles 36:20,21:  "And them that had escaped from the sword carried he"(the king of the Chaldeans) "away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:  to fulfil the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths:  for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years."

The Book of Daniel has always been under attack.  Daniel has been assailed more in the "critic's den" than he was in the lion's den.  The question of the authenticity, veracity, inspiration, and authority of the Book of Daniel, has been settled for every believer in Matthew 24:15 where Christ speaks of "Daniel the prophet."  Our Lord set His sovereign seal on both the writer and the Book which bears his name.

The Lord Jesus Christ affirmed that Daniel was an historical person who lived in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.  He set forth the fact that Daniel was a prophet who predicted things that would happen in the future.  Daniel actually deals with the events which will happen during this present Gentile age and the Great Tribulation to follow.

The chief purpose of the Book of Daniel is three - fold:

In the Book of Daniel we see the full manifestation of God's power.  God's power is shown in the character and conduct of Daniel and his three friends.  God's power is revealed in the unusual wisdom shown by Daniel.  God's power is pictured in the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and the interpretation thereof by Daniel.  God's power is set forth in the deliverance of the three friends from the fiery furnace.  God's power is declared in His judgment dealings with Nebuchadnezzar in warning him, punishing him, and restoring him.  God's power is displayed in the handwriting on the wall at Belshazzar's feast.  God's power is seen in delivering Daniel from the lion's den.

The Book of Daniel sets forth the beginning, the character, the course, and the consummation of "The times of the Gentiles."  "The Times of the Gentiles" is used by our Lord in Luke 21:24,"Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled."  This refers to the period of time from Nebuchadnezzar to the Second Coming of Christ when the Gentile nations will exercise dominion over the earth, and in a special way, over the Jews and Palestine.

 God told Adam to "multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it:  and have dominion" (Gen. 1:28).  Through Rebellion and disobedience Adam lost this dominion.  After the flood God told Noah to "multiply and replenish the earth" (Gen. 9:1-7), giving them dominion.  This dominion was lost through Rebellion and disobedience, which saw its climax in the Tower of Babel.  God then called Abraham and through Abraham promised THE KING whose dominion would be an everlasting kingdom.  God's chosen people were to rule the earth.  But through disobedience His people were taken into captivity in Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar was the first Gentile ruler to subdue God's people after they entered into the land of Canaan.  This was the beginning of TIMES OF THE GENTILES.

This period will continue until the rise of Antichrist who will be the last Gentile World Ruler.  So this period will end with the defeat and overthrow of Antichrist by the personal appearance of Christ as King.

We should notice that the term, "the fullness of the Gentiles" is different.  In Romans 11:25 we read: "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in."  This expression, "the fullness of the Gentiles" refers to the Church, the Body of Christ, and covers the period from Pentecost to the Rapture, when the Church will be completed.

How do these two terms fit into the time element today?  Actually, the end of "The Times of the Gentiles" is almost here.  First will come the Rapture.  After this will begin the last form of man's rule on earth under Antichrist during the Great Tribulation.  At the close of the Tribulation Period the Lord will come to destroy Antichrist and to set up His Kingdom.

The Book of Daniel opens with the account of the Siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. Verse 2 of Chapter 1 tells us that "the Lord gave Jehoiakim the king of Judah into his hand."  (It is interesting to notice that God speaks of Nebuchadnezzar as "My servant"  -  See Jeremiah 25:9).

If the Book of Daniel teaches us nothing else it teaches us that God is sovereign over the nations of the world.  Hitler was determined to rule out God and to take the world captive.  But Hitler is dead and God still lives and rules.  The Russian dictators are trying to get rid of God and to take by force and by subtle propaganda, the control of the world.

Daniel has a message for the communist as well as for us.  In chapter 2, verse 28 we read that "There is a God in heaven."  The sovereignty of God is still seen in the affairs of men and nations.  Nebuchadnezzar might boast of his military achievements but Daniel said, "The LORD gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand."

We at times trembled as we thought of Communism devouring so much of this world.  We trembled when Hitler and Mussolini were making their conquests.  Here in the Book of Daniel we have the God - given comfort and assurance that God's will for this age will be worked out according to a divine plan.  Let us fix our eyes upon the Lord who made heaven and earth.  Let us be occupied about eternal matters as we await the coming of our long - expected King.  Daniel 2:21, "And He (God) changeth the times and the seasons:  He removeth kings, and setteth up kings:  He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding."

 Now the plan of Nebuchadnezzar was much the same as the plan of Globalizm and Communism  today.  He wanted to completely enslave the Jews.  Let us take note of what he did to carry out his plans:

He gave orders to take captive some of the very best in the land of the Jewish children, (Dan. 1:3).  This was Hitler's method.

These hand - picked, would - be Jewish leaders, were to be taught the language and customs of the Chaldeans (vs. 4).  Even their names were changed in order to make them forget their religion (vs. 7).

Now our attention is centred around Daniel and his three friends, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.  Let us study the meaning of these names in relation to the new names given to them by the Chaldeans.

The name Daniel means "God is my Judge".  Man is not our judge.  His name was changed to Belteshazzar which means a "Prince of Bel" one of the Babylonian gods.  However, the changing of his name did not change Daniel's heart.

Hananiah's name means the "Grace of the Lord".  God's grace is sufficient for every need.  His name was changed to Shadrach which means "the sun god".  The name Mishael means "The strong God" and truly God is our strength.  His name was changed to Meshach which means "Like Shach" another heathen god.  Azariah means "The Lord is my help" and truly when God is near, help is near.  His name was changed to Abed - nego which means "Servant of Nego" who was also worshipped.

So then four gods of Babylon were given special honour in this effort to do away with the God of the Hebrews.  Dictators of all ages have tried to eliminate God in their plans for world power and dominance.

Verse 8 shows us the wonderful character of Daniel.  "But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank."

One thing a child of God cannot do is to go contrary to the Word of God.  Daniel was determined to do the will of God no matter what it cost.  There are believers in Russia, China, and other darkened lands who are suffering and dying today, because they will not defile themselves with pagan practices and deny their Lord.

God's Word says in Romans 12:2,"And be not conformed to this world"(be not conformed to Babylon, New York, Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, London), "but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of god."

2.  The Separated Life

The Book of Daniel deals primarily with the "Times of the Gentiles."  The Church age or age of Grace was not revealed to Daniel.  It might help us in our study if we outline each chapter of the Book.

Chapter 1 gives the story of Daniel and his three friends who were taken into captivity, but who lived separated lives unto the Lord in the midst of Babylon.  It teaches us that it is possible to live the Christian life unto the Lord no matter what city or country we live in.  It is a type picture of the faithful remnant in Israel who will refuse to bow down to Antichrist in the Tribulation Period, after the Rapture of the True Church.

Chapter 2 tells of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar and how God gave Daniel wisdom to recount and interpret it.  It is a picture of Gentile power from Nebuchadnezzar's day right up to the time of Christ's coming in glory at the close of the Tribulation Period.  The ten toes represent the revived Roman Empire which will be under the power of Antichrist.

Chapter 3 gives the story of the great golden image built by Nebuchadnezzar; the refusal of the three young men to worship the image; and their deliverance from the burning furnace.  Here again is a type picture of the faithful Jewish remnant during the Great Tribulation who will refuse to worship the image of the beast.

Chapter 4 pictures the strange vision of Nebuchadnezzar with its interpretation.  His pride and madness foreshadow the pride and madness of the Gentile nations during the Great Tribulation. Nebuchadnezzar's restoration provides a prophetic picture of the Gentiles who will be saved during the Great Tribulation and who will enter the thousand - year millennial reign of Christ.

Chapter 5 is the exciting story of Belshazzar's feast with God's judgment coming upon Babylon.  This is a type picture of the revelry of the Gentile nations and the overthrow of the Antichrist's rule in the Great Tribulation.

Chapter 6 is the familiar story of Daniel's deliverance from the lion's den.  This is a type picture of the faithful remnant in Israel who will be delivered from the "beasts" described in Revelation 13.

Chapter 7 gives the same picture of the Gentile nations, only from God's viewpoint.  To man, Nebuchadnezzar's image dream seems so great and important, but the same scene is in God's eyes as that of wild beasts.  The nations are becoming more like wild beasts every day.  It is interesting to notice that the Gentile nations' coats - of - arms bear the images of the beasts  -  the British lion, the Russian bear, the American and German eagle, the Chinese dragon and serpent.  These represent the character of Gentile nations as they prepare for their true nature in the Great Tribulation.

Chapter 8 speaks of the Roman Empire and its relation to Antichrist.

Chapter 9 gives the prophecy of the "seventy weeks", a marvellous prophecy of God's dealing with Israel from Babylon until Christ returns in glory.  The one remaining week, yet to be fulfilled, will be the terrible seven years of the Great Tribulation.

Chapter 10 speaks of the conflict between the Lord's angels and the opposing forces of Satan and his angels.  It typifies the day of Great Tribulation when Satan and his hosts shall be cast down, to be bound a thousand years, and then cast into the lake of fire.

Chapter 11 gives us a true picture of Antichrist during his Tribulation reign.

Chapter 12 is a type of "the time of Jacob's trouble" which will see its climax in the establishment of Christ's kingdom here upon the earth.  I trust this outline will be of help to you.

We saw in our last study in Daniel 1:8 that "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank."

Daniel's action would today be called "narrow - minded" and his stand would not be popular even in many evangelical circles.  But God's desire for every believer is that we should not defile ourselves in any way. We should not defile our mind, our eyes, our body, our lips, our tongue, our fingers, our ears, nor our soul. This world has nothing to offer for your spiritual good.  if we are careful in not defiling ourselves then we have something important to offer to this old sin - scarred world, the Gospel message of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The rest of this chapter is so important.  Daniel requested that he and his friends be allowed to eat nothing but pulse or cereal for ten days and to drink water.  At the end of ten days they were to be examined to seed if their bodies prospered as well as the others who at the king's meat.

Verse 15 reveals the result:  "And at the end of ten days their countenance appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat."

God prospered the Hebrew youths in their stand.  1 Timothy 4:8, "Godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."  Titus 3:8 "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable unto men."

It pays to serve God.  Our ultimate sacrifices to abandon our humanistic materialistic way of life and to follow God's Commandments and the True Word of the Gospel, leads us to immortality and Eternal Life rather then to the death and destruction of this temporal mortal life we were born into. We must walk that narrow tight road rather then the broad highway that leads to death and destruction.

Daniel 1:18, "Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.  And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:  therefore stood they before the king.  And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than ll the magicians and astrologers that were in all his ream."

Daniel and his three friends took their stand for the Lord but what of the many other Hebrew children who would not?  They ate the king's meat.  They defiled themselves before the Lord.  Now here is an important lesson.  God works through those who are willing to serve Him even though they be in the minority.  It is far better to know the presence and blessing of the Lord than it is to enjoy all the dainties of this world and popularity of men.

3.  A World Review

One of the main problems of our day has been the rise of "Globalism" or a "New World Order" that is trying to bring the free peoples of the world together in order to make a united stand against tyranny and darkness.  The United Nations is making a desperate effort in this regard.  But even within these families of nations there is dissension.

Daniel Chapter 2 reveals the fact that there can be no true union among the nations of the world until Jesus comes.  God's Word teaches us that neither the League of Nations nor the United Nations nor any other united effort can bring the nations of the world together.

This is a most important chapter in any study of prophecy. It is a chapter that is historical as well as prophetic.  Through a study of secular history we can see that much of this prophecy has already come to pass.

The setting takes place about 2,500 years ago. Nebuchadnezzar was the dictator ruler of Babylon.  His one great concern was the future of his empire.  Would it last forever?  Or would his empire fall as did Egypt before him?

Daniel 2:1,"And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep break from him." King Nebuchadnezzar had a restless night.  He could not sleep.  He began to dream and his dreams troubled him.  When he awoke he could not remember the details of this dream.

Nebuchadnezzar called the magicians and wise men of the land together and gave them his ultimatum, "... if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill"(verse 5).

The wise men were unable to help.  Verses 10-11,"The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter:  therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.  And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh."

The king of course became angry.  "And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain" (verse 13).

When Daniel saw the situation he sought permission to speak to the king.  Daniel and his three friends prayed that night. God answered prayer and the secret was revealed unto Daniel.  In verse 20 he thanked God in prayer for this revelation and gave Him all the glory. Verse 21, "And He" (God) "changeth the times and the seasons:  He removeth kings, and setteth up kings:  He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding."  What the rulers of our nations must know is this  - -  that it is God who removes kings and sets them up.  God is still in control of the affairs of men.  yet God is left out of all the efforts of man to bring about peace.  The One who is the Sovereign Ruler of the world is ignored.

When Daniel appeared before the king he emphasized the fact that it was God who revealed this dream.  Verse 28,"But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days."  Here God revealed future events.  This dream was prophetic.

 In verses 31-35 we have the dream set forth:  "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image.  This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.  This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass.  His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.  Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.  Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors: and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth."

First, the image's head was of fine gold and this represented Babylon which, under Nebuchadnezzar, was a strong world power. Verses 37 - 38, "Thou, O king, art a king of kings:  for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath He given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all.  THOU ART THIS HEAD OF GOLD."

The arms of the image were of silver.  The silver represented another kingdom inferior to Babylon (verse 39). History records the fact that under Cyrus the Great of Persia, Babylon was destroyed and an inferior Persian Empire became the world power of that day.

The belly and the thighs of the image were of brass. Another world kingdom was to rise and under Alexander the Great, Greece became this great kingdom.  At 25 years of age Alexander had become world conqueror of his day.  At 33 years of age he was dead.  The world kingdom of Greece represented by the brass belly and thighs was finished.

The legs of the image were of iron.  Let us notice that each of these metals decreases in quality but increases in strength.  Silver is less valuable but stronger than gold.  Brass is inferior to silver but stronger in its essential form.  Iron is much more inferior to brass but more durable in strength.

The iron legs represented Rome.  Verse 40,"And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron:  forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things:  and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise."  The Roman Empire was certainly stronger in power but much more inferior in moral character to the Empire of Greece.

The two legs of this image picture the Roman Empire as it was divided into eastern and western sections.  While we are able now to look back on history and see how every detail of this interpretation came true, we must remember that Daniel prophesied these historical facts long before they took place.

The feet and toes of this great image were part of iron and part of clay.  In verses 41-43 Daniel gives the interpretation: "And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potter's clay and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.  And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.  And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men:  but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay."

Here we have the truth presented that Rome was to be divided, and there would  be another Revived Roman empire after her. There was great moral weakness within this Empire and the constant threat of invasions from without.

The ten toes represent the ten main nations or geo-political regions of the Revived Roman Empire (i.e.: European Union).  The picture given in verse 43 is that these nations in the last days of the Gentile age cannot cleave one to another. It would be a mixture of strong and weak nations.  It is a picture of present day nations.  All through the years man has been trying to bring peace through union but every effort has failed.  The League of Nations failed. The United Nations is failing.  God says the nations of our day will not be able to "stick together".  Iron and clay will not mix.  The United Nations is a mixture of iron and clay and they cannot become as one.

Daniel then shows the king that God Himself is one day going to establish a kingdom which will begin with the coming of the Lord.  Let us read verses 44-45, "And in the days of these kings" (the days of a divided Empire of ten kingdoms) "shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.  Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what SHALL COME TO PASS HEREAFTER: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure."

 The "stone" speaks of Christ. This stone was cut out of the mountain "without hands".  It was a supernatural stone.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God who came into this world by a supernatural birth, the Virgin Birth.  This stone was small in its beginning but it grew and grew until it became a mountain.  Christ started His earth's ministry in a humble way, but He grew in wisdom and stature.  His stature increased as He went to the Cross, rose again and then ascended to the Father.

Now this stone was great enough to destroy all the other kingdoms.  The power of the Lord at His coming will truly be great enough to smite down the ten kingdoms and then to establish His own kingdom upon the earth.  In Revelation 11:15 we read, " ...The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever."

The entire image was destroyed by the stone. The Stone representing Jesus Christ, our "Rock Of Ages"  This marks the end of Gentile rule.  It marks the end of the TIMES OF THE GENTILES.

4.  The Fiery Furnace

Daniel chapter 3 relates the story of the three young Hebrew men who were cast into the fiery furnace.  They represent the nation of Israel living among the Gentiles, persecuted but not forsaken, and finally preserved by a miracle from heaven.

In verses 1-6 we read that Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and ordered all the important men of the provinces to assemble for the dedication.  When they had assembled, "Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 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:  And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace" (verses 4-6).

The multitudes and most all of the people obeyed in worshipping this golden image.  However, in verse 12 we learn that three young Hebrew youths refused to worship the image: "There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee:  they serve not they gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

 This image, that Nebuchadnezzar had made, is a type of another image which will one day be set up by the Antichrist as recorded in Revelation 13.  The Bible teaches us that at God's appointed time, our Lord will return.  "For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God:  and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air:  and so shall we ever be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Then will arise the Antichrist.  He will for a short time bring in peace, restore Israel to Palestine, and will pretend to protect God's ancient people.  However, in about three and a half years he will reveal his true identity and will become Israel's enemy.  He will set up a great image in Jerusalem and will command all to worship it.  A remnant of one hundred and forty - four thousand Jews will be empowered to take God's message to those left on the earth. They will refuse to worship the image and will suffer much persecution.  God Himself will seal them and will miraculously deliver them from the hands of the Antichrist.

 The image here in Daniel 3, as mentioned before, is a type of the great image in Revelation 13.  Nebuchadnezzar is a type of the Antichrist, Babylon itself a picture of the great world empire which will be under his rule in the Great Tribulation period.  The three Hebrew youths picture the remnant of one hundred and forty - four thousand Jews who refuse to worship the great image.  The fiery furnace represents the afflictions and trials of the Tribulation period and the deliverance of God's people during that time.

When Nebuchadnezzar heard that the three Hebrew leaders did not obey his command, he became furious.  Verses 13-15, "Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego.  Then they brought these men before the king.  Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?  Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well:  but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?"

I wonder what our answer would be if we were in the same situation?  There are many of God's people today in lands that were behind the Iron Curtain who are facing identical situations.  Their answer is found in verses 16-18, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.  But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up."

There comes a time when God's people must stand against the Government.  Ordinarily, Christians are to obey the laws of the land, pray for those who are in authority, and "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's."  But when the Government hinders our obedience to God's Word or the preaching of the Gospel then "We ought to obey God rather than men"(Acts 5:29).

But obedience to God often means suffering and persecution.  We read in verses 19-23, "Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego:  therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.  And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.  Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.  Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego.  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed - nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace."

We pointed out that this is a prophetic picture of Tribulation times, when those Left Behind as well as the Jews shall suffer great afflictions at the hand of the Antichrist.

But there is another lesson here for all of God's people.  If we would take our proper stand for Christ in this world we, too, will suffer tribulation and affliction.  James says that the "friendship of the world is enmity with God"(James 4:4).

The trouble today is that there is little difference between many Christians and the world.  God's people  are often ashamed to take their stand for Christ.  They fear they might lose their popularity.

Verse 24 and 25, "Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?  They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.  He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

What a sight this must have been  -  -  the Lord walking with the faithful three in the midst of the fiery furnace!  The fire, exceedingly hot, slew the men who had cast them in.  It burned the strong cords that had bound the three but it had no power over them so that not even the smell of fire remained on their clothes (see verse 27).

The Lord came down to deliver them.  This speaks primarily of His deliverance of His people Israel, during the Tribulation period.  But it is also a picture of the Lord's deliverance of His people down through the ages.  It is a spiritual lesson for those who love the Lord because He will deliver us in time of trouble and in the day of testing, if we stand true to Him.

Are you "yet in your sins" and do you need deliverance?  The Lord came down at Calvary to deliver us all, every last sinner, from the bondage of Satan.  "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him  should not perish, but have everlasting life"(John 3:16).

Go To Lesson Two - Key Studies in Daniel - Series No. 2


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