Nebuchadnezzar’s pride … The image of gold.
Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar previously, “Thou are this head of gold.”
He became puffed up and in the pride of his heart attempted to unify the religious worship of his vast empire.
He had an immense image of gold made, the image of a man and it was set up in the plain of Dora in the province of Babylon.
In essence it was idolatry and the deification of man.
These are the moral characteristics which have prevailed during the times of Gentiles.
The image is 60 cubits high and six broad (90 feet x 9 feet)
Six is the number of man (contrast No. 7)
Sixty cubits and six remind us of the number given to the anti-Christ.
Events at the beginning of the Times of the Gentiles foreshadow the climax of the same age.
See Revelation 13.
The Roman Empire is restored … the ten kingdoms are established.
Then a great emperor, whom Daniel describes as the “little horn”, appears and makes a covenant with the Jews for seven years, this normalizes life in Palestine, and allows the resumption of worship.
After 3 ½ years he breaks his treaty.
Then there appears a second beast. He is equally energized by Satan.
He erects an image of the beast and demands its worship.
Then idolatry and deification of man will reach its full climax.
The Antichrist and the Images will sit in the temple and will be worshipped by all. Explain 666.
Those who refrain will die.
We see then from this brief review how the actions of Nebuchadnezzar clearly points to the time of the end.
In his day Nebuchadnezzar tried to force universal religion upon the people. See verses 1-7.
The worship of the image was accompanied by the sweetest of music. The music in some of our great churches is so arranged to stir up the religious emotions of those in attendance to worship an idol.
Furthermore, we hear from all sides cries for a new religion, universal.
Describe the ecumenical church. It is almost upon us.
This church is characterized by false worship – bloodless religion – Cain cult, the religion which exalts man.
There you can hear the sweetest of music by well-trained, unconverted singers and players.
Beloved, the Father’s desireth that all men worship Him.
“They that worship Him must worship Him ins Spirit and in truth.”
The faithful three
The proclamation had been made.
When the sweet music was heard all the people in the Empire worshipped.
Those who did not were to be cast into a fiery furnace. V. 13-18.
Three men refuse to worship the image of gold.
Notice the change in Nebuchadnezzar’s attitude.
See him bowing before Daniel, acknowledging God as Lord of Kings.
Now he says in arrogant style, “Who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands!”
The Hebrew children were unperturbed at the threats of the king.
They were men of faith … confidence in God.
They answered the King, He will deliver us out of thy hand, O King. But if not be it known unto you that we will not serve your gods.”
The King was infuriated … he ordered the furnace to be heated to seven times its normal temperature … he commissioned his most mighty men to cast the three into the furnace.
As they did the flames consumed them.
Afterwards when the King looked into the furnace he saw not three men bound and burning up, but four men loose and actually walking in the fire.
“One was like unto the Son of God.”
When they were brought up from the furnace there was no smell of fire on them, not even a hair was singed. Only the ropes which bound them were burned off.
The Lord was with them in the fire.
In times past He has promised His people: “When thou walkest through the fire thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle on thee.”
Apply this great truth.
Consider some of the events of history:
The Roman Empire: The destruction of Jerusalem. Persecution of true believers … multitudes martyred.
The Roman Church: Europe was plunged into the Dark Age. Believers were tortured and murdered. The Inquisition. The Waldensians … The Huguenots … Covenanters.
Exalt Christ and His sustaining power.
Describe the final scene at the end of the Age.
The Antichrist terrorizes the Christianized world.
All are commanded to worship the beast and his image, failure to do so brought death.
The present scene ends in an unprecedented outburst of brutality.
Then the Lord appears in glory that will dazzle very eye, He will smite His enemies and deliver His people.