The Burning Fiery Furnace #10

Saturday, March 12, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Dear friends, the evil world system of which King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was a part some six centuries before Christ, is the evil world system present with us at this very moment, and is the same evil world system from which the Antichrist will arise when the prophetic program resumes. As Israel’s believing remnant in history chose to separate from it—at whatever cost—so Israel’s believing remnant in the future will decide to keep away from it—at whatever cost. With them before us and after us, we are in the middle on the Bible timeline.

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul exhorts us to also isolate ourselves from false religion: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Of course, if we must face capital punishment for the LORD’S sake as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did long ago, so be it! “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12).

The Burning Fiery Furnace #9

Friday, March 11, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

We recall chapter 32 of Exodus, when Israel had music as they sang and danced naked around a golden calf idol: “[18] And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. [19] And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.”

How significant it is that, 900 years later, musical instruments greatly contributed to another “moving” religious service out in a broad plain of Babylon (today’s Scripture). Those hypnotic melodies, those songs, stirred the hearers to become so enthralled they just spontaneously fell down to the ground before a blasphemous heathen statue: “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” (verse 7). This event, from 26 centuries ago, looks to the future.

In the ages to come, with respect to Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s city!), certain doom is announced: “And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee…” (Revelation 18:22). Musical instruments will literally play an integral part in the Antichrist’s religious system—until the Lord returns to silence them once and for all as He brings His believing remnant through the fire alive.

Let us conclude this devotionals arc….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #8

Thursday, March 10, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Paralleling the experience of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego with Nebuchadnezzar; Israel’s believing remnant suffers under the Antichrist’s regime. They must patiently await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue them from certain death: “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:6-9).

Chapter 4, verses 12-16: “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.”

Now, we summarize this devotionals arc….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #7

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

When enumerating the many members of the Bible’s great “hall of faith” in chapter 11 of his Book, the writer of Hebrews makes a quick, passing mention of “[those saints] Who through faith… Quenched the violence of fire” (verses 33,34). Of course, these believers would be none other than Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, survivors of Nebuchadnezzar’s burning fiery furnace.

The King of Babylon himself comments on the matter in Daniel chapter 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. [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. [30] Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.”

Hebrews points to the time when the Antichrist—also connected to Babylon (see Revelation 14:8; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:5; Revelation 18:2,10,21)—constructs an “image” or idol for the world to worship (just like Nebuchadnezzar). His religious leader, the False Prophet, facilitates the heathenism: “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast [Antichrist], that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Revelation 13:15). Here is Israel’s believing remnant of the future, targeted for their faith as their brethren in time past….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #6

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Never should we view Old Testament passages as merely “inspiring tales” to be shared with kids to entertain them during Sunday School. Neither should we consider them figurative stories that were placed into the Bible canon simply to “take up space.” Each and every verse of God’s Word is important—even if we are too simple-minded or willfully ignorant to appreciate it. The mature Bible student, someone familiar with other passages because of personal Bible study, is able to make connections, establish parallels, forming an enormous cross-reference system.

The immature Bible reader, upon encountering a strange or difficult verse, simply throws up hands in the air and exclaims, “I do not understand!” He or she slams the Bible closed. Well, frankly, that person was not interested in learning the truth anyway. They will never grow in their understanding because they have made no effort. God designed His Word without lazy people in mind. Unless we are willing to “work” (study) to extract the profit God placed therein, we will never have a prayer in all the world of ever understanding anything in Scripture: Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

As advanced Bible students, using the Holy Spirit’s power, we recall similar verses we read elsewhere, thereby utilizing today’s Scripture to help us see into the future. For example, let me give you a reference—Revelation chapter 13. Now, read it in your own time, and, if you are truly seeking enlightenment, you will see the relationship of Daniel chapter 3 to “the ages to come.” There is a type and there is an antitype, a preview and the full demonstration….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #5

Monday, March 7, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Having decided to follow the LORD, Israel’s believing remnant undergoes a terrible fate: “[23] And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. [24] 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. [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.” Never has Nebuchadnezzar beheld such a sight! Not only are the three men free from their bonds—walking around unharmed in the flames—there is a fourth man! This is none other but “the Son of God,” the Lord Jesus Christ, in a pre-incarnate appearance.

“[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. [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.” Furthermore, as these three saints exit the fire alive, there is no scent of fire emanating from them, their clothes are intact, and not even a strand of their hair is burned! The LORD Himself has personally intervened….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #4

Sunday, March 6, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were in an unenviable position. Either they could abandon the LORD God and worship Nebuchadnezzar’s idol, or they could disobey the king’s commandment and be thrown alive into a burning fiery furnace. It was quite an easy choice for them, for they bore in mind the timeless adage, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We read their response again: “[16] Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. [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. [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.” Notice, they were so firm in their convictions they would never worship pagan gods—even if their God failed to rescue them from that awful death penalty!

Nebuchadnezzar, extremely upset, has the furnace’s temperature increased seven times hotter than usual (verse 19). Finally, true to his word, he proceeds to execute these saints! “[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. [22] Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. [23] And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”

Let us now see the LORD work….

The Burning Fiery Furnace #3

Saturday, March 5, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

“[13] Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. [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? [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 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?

“[16] Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. [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. [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. [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. [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.”

Daniel’s friends have been sentenced to death by fire….

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The Burning Fiery Furnace #2

Friday, March 4, 2022

“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” (Daniel 3:4-6 KJV).

Is today’s Scripture “dead history?” Or, could there be any relevance to something in “the ages to come?”

“[8] Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. [9] They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. [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 musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: [11] And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. [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.”

Recall, the Southern Kingdom of Judah had been exiled to Babylon some years prior, resulting in the young Prophet Daniel and his three companions (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; cf. Daniel 1:6,7) living in a foreign land among Gentiles. In the context of today’s Scripture, Daniel’s absence is unexplained, but his three friends (bearing new names) are being persecuted for their faith in JEHOVAH God. In the midst of a heathen people (Babylonians), working in the government of a pagan king (Nebuchadnezzar), Daniel’s three believing associates are intensely pressured to participate in a satanic world religion. Nebuchadnezzar has constructed a gigantic idol—perhaps an obelisk, a tall tower symbolizing the male reproductive organ!—but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to bow before it during a “praise and worship” service. Their acts are considered treasonous and blasphemous to the Chaldeans, so these Gentiles tattle on them to Nebuchadnezzar.

Now, the King of Babylon responds most severely….

Idols in the Heart #2

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

“And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?” (Ezekiel 14:2,3 KJV).

Look at their heart problem!

Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Judah and Jerusalem on three occasions during a 20-year period. The Prophet Ezekiel began his ministry between the second and third attacks, circa 593 B.C. Judah, the Southern Kingdom, had engaged in heathen religion for centuries. Now, the Fifth Course of Chastisement was underway, the curses of the Law of Moses falling upon these two southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. (It had already resulted in the Northern Kingdom, Israel’s other 10 idolatrous tribes, being taken captive to Assyria more than 100 years prior.) If necessary, see Leviticus 26:27-39.

In the context of today’s Scripture, the “elders” or aged men leading Israel approach Ezekiel, but, as we can see, the LORD is greatly displeased with them. The nation is apostate, turned from the truth, because those in power have caused it to be thus. God is not interested in listening to what they have to say (for they “have set up their idols in their heart”), but He does want them to pay attention to His message to them!

Keep reading: “[6] Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations. [7] For every one of the house of Israel, or of the stranger that sojourneth in Israel, which separateth himself from me, and setteth up his idols in his heart, and putteth the stumblingblock of his iniquity before his face, and cometh to a prophet to enquire of him concerning me; I the LORD will answer him by myself: [8] And I will set my face against that man, and will make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of my people; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”

The Israelites must “repent,” change their mind by remembering the Hebrew Bible—particularly the Law of Moses. Only then will they abandon their idols in their hearts….