Book of Daniel

Daniel Interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's Dream

Chapter 3


Daniel 3:1
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.
Daniel 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.

Verses 1 and 2: The image of gold reveals the lavish display of wealth and workmanship which went into the construction of this impressive image. He probably made this image of himself.

Daniel had declared that Nebuchadnezzar was the head of gold in the image of his dream. Instead of humbling himself before God, the dream caused Nebuchadnezzar to be filled with excessive pride, and he made an entire image of gold to represent the kingdom he had built.

The image was 90 feet tall and 9 feet wide. Babylon was situated on a plain, surrounded by flat country although it was a city of skyscrapers for its day. The sheer height of the image made it visible for a great distance.

The plain of Dura was like an airport, flat and expansive allowing a great multitude to assemble for the worship of the image, actually the worship of the king.

All the leaders and government officials were present for the dedication of the image; only the dignitaries were invited and they were to sell this project to the people. This was to be the first step in the brainwashing program. This comprised a great company of people.

Nebuchadnezzar had three things in mind when he made this image. First, the making of this image shows the rebellion of Nebuchadnezzar against the God of Heaven who had given him world dominion.

Instead of gratitude, this is a definite act of rebellion. This also shows his vaunted pride in making an image which evidently was self-deification. The Roman emperors also attempted this later on.

Thirdly, obviously Nebuchadnezzar was seeking a unifying principle to weld together the tribes and tongues and peoples of his kingdom into one great total government.

He was attempting to institute a world religion. This was nothing new in the world, but a repetition of the Tower of Babel, a forming of one religion for the world. There are many who are working toward a world religion today, including the denominations which make up the World Council of Churches.

They are moving toward a world religion and they are leaving out the Lord Jesus altogether. They oppose Him. It will be a movement which is going to lead to the Great Tribulation period, to the man of sin and the false prophet.

Daniel 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.

In verse 3 we see the day of dedication had arrived. All were present, except Daniel. He probably was away on state business. He was in a unique position of being the chief advisor to the king of Babylon, who was now the ruler of the world.

The sight of the image of gold on the plain of Dura was very impressive, as impressive as an Atlas Missile set up on the launching pad at Cape Canaveral. It must have made a tremendous appeal to the eye.

Daniel 3:4-6
4Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5That 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; 6And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

In verses 4-6 notice the different instruments in this orchestra, 7 kinds and then it says all kinds of music.

Let’s give this orchestra a name: the Babylonian Behoppers or the Babylonian Beatles. They certainly were not worshipping our Heavenly Father.

The point is people were forced to worship; however, true worship is an expression of the heart. It cannot be forced, so maybe these people went through the outward form of worship.

Music that is spiritual is a wonderful aid to worship, but in some of our churches today it is very difficult to tell the difference between spiritual music and worldly music.

Paul had a great deal to say about the importance of music for the believer in worship. He says in

Ephesians 5:19
Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

And then, in

Colossians 3:16 we read
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Whenever music or ritual appeals to the flesh, it degrades man rather than elevates him, and it is not an aid to true worship. It cancels worship out; it deadens everything.

However, music can also lift a worship service. It can help the spiritual ministry and be a great blessing. We don’t need singers to the Lord as showmen or one who sings just to show off his voice. This deadens the meeting spiritually.

Nebuchadnezzar had established a terrible penalty for those who refused to worship this image. The music helped prepare for this worldly worship, and you can be sure that everyone in that crowd went down on their faces before the image, with the exception of three young Hebrew men.

Daniel 3:7-12
7Therefore 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. 8Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 9They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. 10Thou, 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: 11And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12There 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.

This dedication was an outward act of worship. The king had apparently appointed observers to note any irregularities in the service. Probably some of the Chaldeans were jealous or had some personal animosity toward them. So they made a direct charge against the three Hebrew children by name so there was no misunderstanding as to whom they referred.

Daniel 3:13-18
13Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14Nebuchadnezzar 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? 15Now 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? 16Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17If 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. 18But 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.

Nebuchadnezzar had a real psychological problem in his rage and fury. He could be ruthless or he could be laughing. So the king asked the three young men if this was true. Had they refused to worship the golden image that he had set up?

In verse 15 he told them their fate, so he gave them another opportunity but these men remembered that God had said in

Exodus 20:3-6,
3Thou shalt have no other gods before me. 4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

These Hebrew children were being true to God, and it took a great deal of courage for them to take this position. They made it very clear: if it is God’s will, He will deliver us out of your hand. Regardless of the outcome these three had purposed to serve God and not the idol of Nebuchadnezzar.

Full of fury, in an extreme outrage of emotionalism, Nebuchadnezzar vented his anger against these men whom he had previously favored. The fire in the furnace was to be built up seven times hotter than usual.

Daniel 2:8
This was not necessary, but it reveals what was in this man’s heart. They were in full dress when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. The haste and high temperatures caused those who threw in the captives to perish in the flames.

This furnace apparently was an open furnace and Nebuchadnezzar, who expected these men to die at once, was amazed to see them alive and walking about in the fire. Another amazing fact was to see a fourth man whom Nebuchadnezzar described as being in the form like the Son of God.

Daniel 3:24-25
24Then 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. 25He 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.

At this time he had no spiritual knowledge of the living and true God although Daniel had spoken of Him, so the king could only testify to His unusual appearance. I truly believe He was the preincarnate Christ.

The preservation of these faithful few in the fiery furnace was miraculous. There is no other explanation. You either accept it or reject it.

Daniel 3:26-27
26Then 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. 27And 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.

Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges that these three are servants of The Most High God. These men came forth with not a hair singed, nor the smell of smoke on their garments.

Daniel 3:28-30
28Then 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. 29Therefore I make a decree that every people, nation, and language, which speak anything 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. 30Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar recognizes the omnipotence of the living God and His power in delivering these three men. He grants that their God is superior to his gods. This is his conviction.

In the next chapter, we will read his personal testimony of conversion. It took him a long time to move out of the paganism and heathenism in which he was in, but I believe he came to the knowledge of the living and true God.

Now these three young men are back in Nebuchadnezzar’s favor. Twice they had the sentence of death upon them; twice they have been miraculously delivered and twice they had been promoted.

We, too, as Christians are living in a world today in which we are going to have trouble. Sometime we may go through fiery trials and heartaches, but our God has promised to be with us and to never leave us. Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I serve Him.

John 10:27-28 (Speaker, Jesus Christ)
27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28And I give unto them eternal life: and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
John 17:11-15 (Speaker, Jesus Christ)
11And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 12While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition: that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
2 Timothy 1:12 (Paul, talking about himself)
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry . . .

Are we being faithful?

Author: Nannie Mae Jordan   (Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)

 

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