Daniel Three

(Ulrike Unruh)

The King of Babylon Acknowledges the True God
The King of Babylon Seeks to Reverse God's Revelation
The Command that All Must Worship
The Chaldeans Fearful of Losing Control
Christ Walks with His Faithful in the Fire


To the amazement of the great king Nebuchnadnezzar, Daniel had done the impossible! He had recalled and interpreted the king's dream. It was the very dream which had greatly troubled Nebuchadnezzar during the night. His prestigious wisemen, and the “priests of the mountain” of the Babylonian gods, who should have had the knowledge on these matters were unable to relate the dream. By their own words they acknowledged that neither they, nor their gods had the power to reveal the matter; “There is no one upon the earth that can show the king's matter, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh” (2:11).

Daniel, using the same words as Nebuchnadnezzar’s wisemen, confirms that, “The secret matter which the king demanded cannot the wise men, nor the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, show unto the king,"
Daniel emphasises the weakness of the Babylonian religious wisdom to deal with the realities of eternal revelation, indeed, no human being has that power, BUT.....

Indeed, Daniel WAS able to relate the dream, Daniel pointed to THE GOD whose power was far greater than any Babyloninan god, and furthermore that all the “mountains” of earthly glory and power were but temporary, and that this God, whom Daniel worshipped would someday fill the earth with HIS MOUNTAIN.

2.46 Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him.
2.47 The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret.

Nebuchadnezzar clearly saw the difference between the wisdom of God and the wisdom of his own astrologers, wise men, and scholars, and he worships Daniel! It appears something is missing between verse 46 and verse 47. Daniel must have repeated what he told the king earlier in verses 30 and 28, "As for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but God in heaven reveals secrets and He has made known to the King what will be..." For then we see Nebuchadnezzar acknowledging the true God as the revealer of secrets. Through this dream God impressed the king’s mind that there was a God who ruled over all monarchs and kings of the earth. Nebuchadnezzar, knew but little of the true God, and less on how to worship Him. Yet, at this point in his life, this mighty ruler falls on his face and acknowledges that there is a God greater than any god or man.


Nebuchadnezzar may have recognized the greatness of the God of heaven, but he was not converted. We must remember this is one of the most powerful kings in known history, one who was very steeped in the "son's of god" right to rule the "mountain" concepts.
He had destroyed the temple of the Jews. He had rebuilt of the temples of Marduk and Nabu in Babylon, making the ziggurat in Babylon the greatest ziggurat in the Orient. His "mountain" was filling the earth, and according to him he had destroyed the "mountain" of the Jewish God.

In the following verses we will see that he took the very sign, the very symbol of God’s message to teach truth, and tried to change that symbol to mean the very reverse from God's message, a meaning that would glorify himself!

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.

In the heaven sent dream, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon was acknowledged as the head of gold, the most valuable metal in the image, but his kingdom would be followed by kingdoms of lesser value. Though Nebuchadnezzar had acknowledged the dream as coming from a divine source he did not like what it revealed! So he decided to build this image, but he would make some changes! His version would excel the original! He ordered that whole image be made of the precious metal (gold) and constructed to stand 90 feet tall--all overlaid with gold. It was his design that the whole image should represent the greatness of Babylon and erase from memory any thought that the image should pass on to other kingdoms and deteriorate in value from head to feet. Babylon would be the kingdom that would humble the nations and break in pieces other kingdoms. Babylon would stand forever!

The image was an imposing height, towering high above everything on that plain. It was a magnificent and awe inspiring statue, representing the glory and power of Babylon standing supreme.

The image was built on dimensions of “6”. It was sixty cubits high, counting its pedestal, and six cubits wide and 6 cubits deep. Thus we see in all this, 666, another piece of evidence in the accumulative representation, or type, of the activities of the Babylonian power in Revelation 13.

Lesson to be learned:

Truth can be turned into error, embellished to appear more pleasing and awe inspiring than truth. History will be repeated, mankind still takes God’s signs and memorials, and changes them to suit their own purposes, while yet embellishing them with an imposing veneer of truth and inspiring form. And like Nebuchadnezzar, in his belief that he was the representative of god upon earth, they claim to have the power and authority to change God's times and laws.

Babylon plays a major role in the book of Revelation. Though by this time, the ancient kingdom of Babylon is but a heap of ruins, it‘s ambitious soul and spirit lives on throughout the whole image. In the last days, though it now be only iron mixed with clay, it will make an image and demand the whole world worship. Mankind will still seek to rule the world in the name of the gods, but this time the god's will bear the Christian names to cloak their pagan identities. Yet it will be the same sense of using religion to control and break the nations and exalt to highest authority in spiritual matters as well as common matters, mere men. Men who think they can change God's laws and times.

The story of Nebuchadnezzar, taking the symbol God gave in the dream to teach truth, yet changing it's message and turning it into an idol (an abomination) is a type to help us to understand later end-time visions.


3.2 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.
3.3 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.
3.4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,
3.5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:
3.6 And whoso does not fall down and worship shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Having set up this magnificent image, all the important people of the kingdom are called together. The chief representatives of the king in the various provinces, the military chiefs, the presidents over the various political agencies, the chief judges, the superintendents of the public treasure, all the important people of the empire were called to come and fall down before this image. This was a solemn consecration of this symbol of world power and of its supposed divine glory. To refuse the command to worship, was to certain death. No one in the whole kingdom was exempt from the command, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages." The act of worship being seen as the acknowledgement of the supremacy of the Babylonian king, as an act of submission to “the son of Marduk”.

The occasion was made festive with music and outward show. Thus appealing to the senses. Don’t think false worship is wrapped in ugly wrappings-- it is made very appealing.

Much more could be said about the impact of music upon worship. Music is a key "weapon" in modern worship to melt away strong convictions and sound doctrines, and produce a unified worship-- just like in the days of Nebuchadnezzar's image!

3.7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

In obedience to the kings command, the representatives from all parts of the Babylonian empire fell down and worshipped the golden image. It appeared to be a complete success! Satan’s plan to defeat God’s purposes seemed to be winning. The very image the Lord sent Nebuchadnezzar to awaken in his mind the truths of God, had been turned into an idolatress symbol of glory to a human kingdom in defiance of God.


3.8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.
3.9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.
3.10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image:
3.11 And whoso does not fall down and worship, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
3.12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

The Chaldeans that “came near and accused the Jews” were the same caste of priests of Bel-Marduk, we met in chapter two! These powerful men were probably still smarting over their humiliation they received due to that dream, with the subsequent elevation into power of these very same Hebrew captives.

Notice the stinging tone in which they maliciously denounce the three young men:
First they remind the king of his decree, and the death penalty. They wanted these three men dead. “Certain Jews” -- The mention of their heritage was to remind the king these were captives from that unco-operative and rebellious city of Jerusalem.
“Whom you set over the affairs of the province” -- Here their jealousy surfaces, and they are hinting to the king that he obviously made a BIG mistake.
“These men regarded you not” -- These Chaldeans push this to the limit to pursuade the king that this act was in personal defiance against the king himself, highlighting it as an ultimate act of treason
“They serve not your gods, nor worship the golden image”-- This of course was true, for these Israelites could not do homage to the gods of Nebuchadnezzar without rejecting their faith that Jehovah alone was God and besides Him there were no gods.

Thus the issue was over worship! The priests of the counterfeit system, were ready and eager to maligne those who worshipped the true God and have them killed. To them, these men were a threat to their influence, and their religious/political control over the people If they would not worship the gods of Babylon they would be fed to the hungry flames.

3.13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
3.14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?
3.15 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 music, 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?

The king is angry, at the very moment of triumph, and apparent victory he hears that among his subjects there were some who dared disobey his mandate. But somehow, when he sees the accused, the king is hesitant to carry out his threat. He knew these young men, and they had proved themselves to be faithful in all their duties, they were dependable. The noble characters of these young men had made an impression on the king and he had given them high honors because he had trusted them. He would give them another chance.

But notice the taunt, “who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?”

King Nebuchadnezzar was not seeking to stamp out other religions, his only requirement was that all his subjects recognise the gods of his kingdom as supreme. The very fact that the king had conquered these nations proved to him that his god was more powerful then theirs. Since he believed he was the "son" of his god "Bel-Marduk" and he had utterly wasted Jerusalem the city and temple of these captive young men, it seemed obvious to him that their God could not deliver them out of his hands.

Thus it will be in the end. The religious power that seeks control will not try to stamp out all religions, but rather incorporates them under its wings, BUT it will expect EVERYONE to recognise their sign of authority and pay it homage! Those who refuse will face the same penalty as the three young men in Nebuchadnezzar's day.

God's faithful will be in very difficult straits, denied the comforts of life if they don't comply and the religious forces will taunt them with "circumstances show that God is on our side-- who can deliver you out of our hands"?

3.16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.
3.17 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.
3.18 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.

The three young men were faced with a choice, would they accept the kings generosity to “save them” and humble themselves before the image, or would they trust in God to deliver them?
They might have doubted, they might have questioned as to why their God had not saved Jerusalem from destruction, etc.

BUT, the answer was immediate and with respect. “We have no defense or apology to make”. They would not argue their case, they could have brought up the fact they had fasted and prayed for a whole night with Daniel so that the king might understand his own dream about the image. They could have argued their faithful, dependable, service for the king, but they made no mention of these things. They trusted in God and their answer was decided, “Be it known oh King, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you set up”

Faced with a torturous death by burning, not knowing if it be in God’s plan to spare their lives or not, they still refused to turn from their allegiance to the great God of heaven. They would not set aside God’s command, to follow the commands of any king, or priest.

What gave them the strength to stand firm when all the world was bowing to another god?

Could it be that they KNEW that their God had a kingdom far superior to even the grandeur of Babylon? They KNEW their God was a living God! Even if they should lose their lives, they had faith that they would live again when that great kingdom that would never end would be set up-- the kingdom of the TRUE SON OF GOD.

What a lesson we can learn from these three young men:
To stand firm in the cause of God, in spite of threats or danger, bribes or even death.
To trust in God though all the world slander, accuse and threaten.

3.19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.
3.20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.
3.21 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.
3.22 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 Abednego.
3.23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

King Nebuchnezzar flew into a rage, his whole face changed. His will was not accepted as God’s will. Like Satan he had wanted to be “god”, and now Satanic attributes made his countenance appear as the countenance of a demon.

He ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter. Why seven times hotter? Was there deep inside his mind a fear that God might save these faithful followers of His? Was the seven times hotter an act as much against the God they served as against the men themselves. Did he feel it required more than ordinary power to deal with these godly men that we see him ordering his strongest men to bind them and throw them in.

But all the power on earth can only go as far as God allows.


3.24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, 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.

3.25 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.

The king was terrified!

Daniel and these three young men had shared with the king their beliefs. He had heard about a coming Messiah, the TRUE Son of God. Now in terror, He stares into the glowing flames and sees four men! The fourth, this heathen king recognizes as the Son of God!

What a wonderful lesson we learn from this passage: Christ, Himself walks with His faithful children through the fires of affliction.
If we are called to go through the fiery furnace for His sake, Jesus will be by our side! Yet, how important to be right with God, and not to be lured into compromising with evil. When we are right with God we KNOW He is by our side.

Also consider, what a powerful witness would have been lost if the young men had feigned worship of the idol. Satan’s plan to make on non-effect the dream given to Nebuchnezzar, would have succeeded.

Thus too, the strong faith of Christ's followers is the most powerful witness to an unbelieving world that God is true!

3.26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.
3.27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

Nebuchnezzar realized he had been fighting against a God greater than himself. Feeling guilty he calls “You servants of the most high God, come forth”. They come, unhurt. The presence of Christ had rendered the flames powerless to hurt them, only the ropes had been burned.

Forgotten was the great image set up with such pomp and expense. Earthly things lose their value when people come face to face with God. When standing before Him, the haughty and proud recognize they are mere creatures owing their every power to the Creator.

Everyone was deeply impressed with the revelation of God who would walk in the fire with His persecuted followers, and keep it from harming them. By the faithfulness of these three young men God was glorified in many lands as the news of the wonderful deliverance was carried to the many countries by the representatives of the different nation that had been invited by Nebuchadnezzar.

3.28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.
3.29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

It was great for the king to make a public confession and to seek to exalt the true God of heaven and earth. However in making a decree to force his subjects to make a similar confession with threats against them if they refused, was exceeding his right as a king. He had no more right to threaten men with death for not acknowledging God, than he had to make the decree consigning to the flames those who refused to worship his image.

Some believe the king Nebuchadnezzar was here converted. Not so, as we see in the next chapter, he was only brought to the point of acknowledging that indeed the God of heaven was greater than any gods he served. In the end, when God steps in to deliver His people, all nations again will be overwhelmed with clear evidence that God is the true God and that His government (laws) are just and good and stand forever, but they will not be converted. Conversion is a change in a persons life, a commitment of loving discipleship, not just an intellectual acknowledgement that God is supreme.

In Nebuchadnezzar's case, probation had not ended, God still worked with this king to draw him to Himself, as we will see in later chapters.
He now formally recognized the God of the Jews as a God above all gods, and decreed that their worship was an acceptable worship in his kingdom with which no one was to interfere.

For a time, as long as Nebuchadnezzar's decree was in force, freedom of worship was granted. But it would not last.

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