Daniel Chapter 3 The Three Hebrew Children

Jun 22nd, 2009 | By | Category: Daniel, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)

Daniel Chapter 3 The Three Hebrew Children

Dan. 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.

Comment: The dimensions of the golden image, 60 by 6 cubits, are a multiple of six, and hence are related to 666, the number of the beast (Rev. 13:18).

Reply: Yes, there is a tie-in with the Book of Revelation. This golden image on the Plain of Dura corresponds to the image of the beast. Both are statues. Some call Daniel the Old Testament Book of Revelation, and others give Ezekiel that title. A lot of pictures and subpictures from both books are reflected in the Book of Revelation. Incidentally, the “gold” suggests divinity—false divinity in this case.

Dan. 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.

Nebuchadnezzar summoned to the inauguration of the image not only the top echelon of the empire but also the more common officials. No ordinary invitation, the summons was really a subpoena.

Dan. 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.

The civil and political princes, rulers, etc., were gathered together before the religious golden image that the king had already set up.

It is possible that the finished statue was covered until the dedication ceremony. As the music played, the unveiling occurred and obeisance was required.

Dan. 3:4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,

A single herald sounded forth the command to worship the image. Of course it will be interesting to know who that herald is in antitype, for someone will be given the role of spokesman. At any rate, he would have used a funnel or horn, much as a coxswain today calls the stroke rhythm to the rowers. Probably the announcement was repeated in all four directions to make sure the people at the dedication ceremony could hear. The people

would be gathered in either a horseshoe or a circular formation. No one could use as an excuse, “I did not hear the command.”

The command was that as soon as the music played, those present were to “fall down and worship the golden image.” A death sentence was the penalty for disobedience.

Comment: The King James margin has “with might” as an alternate translation for “aloud.” The herald was selected for his powerful voice.

Dan. 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:

Dan. 3:6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Comment: The term “the same hour” ties in with the hour of power in Revelation 17. Just as in the near future all will be required to have the mark of the beast, so here all were commanded to fall down and worship the image.

Dan. 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.

At the signal all in attendance (except Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego) fell down and worshipped the image. With such a large gathering, with such a multitudinous host, the three Hebrew children were not that obvious, but the jealous Chaldeans (verse 8) watched them very carefully.

Dan. 3:8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. Dan. 3:9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.

Dan. 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:

Like the decree the king made here, King Darius also issued a religious decree in the type of Daniel and the Lions’ Den. For one month no one was to pray to any other God. Only King Darius was to be revered. We are reminded of the prophecy of a similar law to be enacted in the near future. “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, 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. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name” (Rev. 13:15–17). The type of Daniel and the Lions’ Den suggests that a time limitation will be set.

Comment: The fact that the three Hebrews were part of the group that was required to bow down indicates the Lord will set the stage for the feet member to give a witness.

Reply: Yes, because from the world’s standpoint the Truth movement is insignificant in numbers and influence. However, things can change, for the masses are very fickle. A person can be a hero one day and an enemy the next. And the reverse is also true. Overnight one who is unknown or poorly regarded can be considered worthy to be heard. Daniel is not mentioned in this chapter for several possible reasons. Being second in the empire and next to the king, either he was away on some errand, or he was not subject to the test because of his position.

The “certain Chaldeans [who] came near, and accused the Jews” probably acted relatively surreptitiously out of fear, for Daniel, who was next to the king in honor, was also a Jew. Perhaps one of them whispered in the king’s ear.

Dan. 3:11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

Dan. 3:12 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 thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Verses 11 and 12 show that the statue was a religious statue. “They serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden  image.”

Q: Is the fact the word “gods” is in the plural here and in verses 14 and 18 a hint that the test of the future will be the Trinity, the supposed three Gods in one?

A: That could well be, for the Trinity will be the cardinal doctrine that cements all who are opposed to truth.

Dan. 3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king.

The quick-tempered Nebuchadnezzar acted in rage and fury, unlike Darius, who was deceived into making his decree. Instead of the conspirators’ honoring him in the one month trial period, Darius realized too late that they were trying to trap Daniel. Hence Darius was sorry the decree had been enacted. We have suggested that at the end of the age, events will vary somewhat in different areas of the so-called Christian world. For example, like Darius, Pilate was reluctant to crucify Jesus, recognizing that the religious leaders were acting out of jealousy. Other kings were of a different persuasion. Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction was that of a real dictator, for he did not want anyone to disobey his command. His first instinct was to rage like a bull, but he had second thoughts almost immediately.

Dan. 3:14 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?

Dan. 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?

Nebuchadnezzar had to seriously consider the situation in order to give the command to play the music again. He condescended to the level of the three Hebrews and even showed a tiny bit of humility. However, for them to deny the command a second time would really infuriate the king.

Nebuchadnezzar did not want to rescind the decree in any sense, for it was inviolate. Now the stage was set for a second test of the three Hebrew children.

Comment: Verse 15 is a reminder of Pilate’s question and Jesus’ reply in John 19:10,11. “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”

Q: Is there any significance to the fact that the music and all the instruments are mentioned three times?

A: Yes. The various instruments signify those with different ideas and theories, who will all, in one sense or another, be required to conform to the overall decree. At a concerted signal, they will have to bow down, as it were, to the doctrine of the Trinity. Notice that in contradistinction to the leaders, the musicians who played the instruments were exempt from the command to bow down. Hence the musicians represent the religionists, who will differ on various doctrines but see the need to be unified under the doctrine of the Trinity.

Comment: Verse 7 said, “all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image,” indicating that everyone knew the music was the signal to bow down.

Dan. 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

Dan. 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.

Dan. 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.

What a marvelous response the three Hebrew gave! “O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter…. If it be so, our God … is able to deliver us … and he will deliver us.” They could have omitted “he will deliver us” and just said “he is able to deliver us, but in any event we will not honor this decree.” The antitype, the reality, will conform to the type except that the deliverance will not occur immediately and it will be as new creatures.

Comment: Then the “But if not” of verse 18 does not mean the three Hebrews thought they might not be delivered. The thought is that “even if He does not deliver us, we still will not bow down to the image.”

Reply: Yes, they made the last part of their statement secondary. What a reply! It really infuriated the king.

Comment: We need to have that determination now, even in smaller matters.

Reply: Yes, one who is weak in taking stands on relatively minor issues lacks character development, and it becomes questionable what the reaction would be with greater issues.

Q: Matthew 10:19,20 reads, “But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.” Were the words similarly given to the three Hebrews, or does that principle just apply to the Gospel Age?

A: We do not know. The account simply gives their reply when they were confronted with that issue. They had certainly determined ahead of time that when the music played, they would not bow down. This is not self-laudation, but on one of the tours, we went into St. Peter’s Square and the Pope appeared at the window with the red carpet. Everyone paid homage except our group. How must the scene have appeared from the Pope’s perspective?

He looked down and saw the mass of people prostrating themselves except for our little group. It is interesting how such things can occur suddenly, when least expected.

Q: If we have developed a Christlike character, wouldn’t the thought at the end of the age be that if we resolutely set our heart and mind to not bow down, the Lord will help us and give us the words? The determination must occur first, and then we need to have the faith and trust that the Lord will supply the words.

A: We are to think not in that hour, but we must think before the hour.

“We are not careful to answer thee in this matter.” Just as with Daniel, so with the three Hebrew children—they properly exercised prudence and were circumspect so that they could occupy their positions of authority, honoring the king in all respects, unless doing so would interfere with their worship of God. The king subconsciously recognized this fact, for he knew he was appointing Jews. Even though he had a temper, he was shrewd and aware of the jealously on the part of certain Chaldeans. In fact, that is why earlier, in connection with his dream of the smiting of the image, he felt that the God of the dream was warning him of an assassination attempt. Suspicioning that the wise men wanted to kill him, he had used the stratagem of requiring them not only to interpret the dream but to tell him the dream lest they die. The point is that now, in this crucial test of Chapter 3, prudence would have been compromise. A positive and firm reply was required for faithfulness.

Comment: Just as with the mention of the musical instruments, the gods are mentioned three times in this chapter.

Dan. 3:19 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.

“Full of fury” when the three Hebrews refused his second chance, the king commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than usual. Imagine seeing his fury!

He wanted to make the three Hebrews an example lest anyone else would ever think of disobeying. Not only would his granting the second chance appear like a moment of weakness, but their denial would be known to those around the throne. Therefore, the king wanted to show that he would not tolerate any further disobedience.

Q: Since the number seven is symbolic of completion, would heating the furnace seven times hotter be another clue that this type has an end-of-the-age setting?

A: Yes, if we think of the number seven from the standpoint of conclusion, a summing up.

Comment: In the antitype, Satan’s fury will operate through the “king,” the civil element, in wanting to get rid of the feet members once and for all.

Dan. 3:20 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.

Dan. 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.

Acting decisively, the king commanded the most mighty men in the army to bind the three Hebrews and cast them, fully clothed in their official garments of honor, into the burning fiery furnace. The three were tied with ropes.

Of course with the flurry of activity, the multitude realized that something was occurring. Throwing naphtha into the furnace made the fire roar louder again and again for seven times. This was a visible manifestation of the king’s wrath. Then the onlookers saw the three being bound and hog-tied, carried like corpses by mighty men, and thrown like logs into the furnace. What was intended to be one large harmonious party was disrupted by the three thorns in the flesh. Just as the type was a spectacular happening, so it will be in the antitype.

The furnace, which was like a lime kiln, was in the vicinity of the image. This very furnace may have been used in the creation of the image itself.

Comment: Perhaps an elevated stage was nearby so that the king could see without being singed by the heat.

Reply: Yes, as king, he was on a raised throne or pedestal. From there he could look down into the furnace, but his curiosity was raised to such a pitch that he subsequently descended off his throne to get a closer look (see verse 26).

Dan. 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 Abed-nego.

Dan. 3:23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Dan. 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.

Dan. 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.

When the king asked, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” his counselors replied, “True, O king.” The king saw “four men loose … and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Why did Nebuchadnezzar think of the fourth personage as the “Son of God”?

Comment: The Revised Standard has “a son of the gods.” He would be taller, have noble bearing, and perhaps be illuminated in an unusual way.

Reply: Yes, something startling set him off—an illumination about his body, a larger frame, white garments. In fact, miraculous power was needed to see any of the four with clarity in the midst of the bright fire of the furnace. Similarly, but along another line, when Moses spoke to the nation of Israel, his voice was miraculously enhanced. On the Day of Pentecost, when Peter spoke to 3,000 and then 5,000 people, his voice had to be unusually penetrating in order to reach all of the hearers.

Comment: What an interesting spectacle! The three Hebrews were calmly walking around in the midst of the fire, completely unhurt. They were not in a panic trying to get out of the furnace.

Reply: They were not hurt either when they were thrown down into the furnace from a height or when the flames engulfed them.

Q: Were guardian angels assigned to the three Hebrews?

A: During the Gospel Age several angels are assigned to each individual who consecrates, but that was not necessarily true in Old Testament times. With regard to those who are running for the prize of the high calling, the reward of immortality, the divine nature, is so serious that all other business is closed down, as it were, and concentrated on this purpose.

For this reason the Apostle Paul emphatically stated that all of the holy angels are employed in the custodianship of the consecrated. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Heb. 1:14). In the incident with the fiery furnace, evidently only one spirit being was needed to protect the three Hebrews. And having just the one fits the antitype, the spiritual lesson, of Jesus’ being with the three classes of feet members. For the king to use such unusual language that the fourth was “like the Son of God” is significant. His words alert us to look for a deeper spiritual lesson.

Dan. 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

For “mouth” the King James margin and the Revised Standard have “door.”

Dan. 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.

This picture is progressive. At the king’s behest the three Hebrews came forth out of the furnace and ascended the dais where the king and his counsellors were gathered. No soot or smell of fire affected either the three Hebrews or their clothing (“neither were their coats changed”). Their garments were unwrinkled, their hair was unsinged—it was as if they had never been cast into the fiery furnace. The officials closest to the king noticed these particulars.

Comment: The conspirators must have been shaking in their shoes at this point. Daniel is purposely left out of the account lest the picture be destroyed. Perhaps he had been sent away on an errand, or he was there witnessing the event. At any rate, this was the trial of the three Hebrews, not Daniel. It would be like our silently witnessing a trial of one of the consecrated for the cause of truth.

Dan. 3:28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, 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.

Dan. 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 Abed-nego, 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.

Dan. 3:30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon.

As far as the mechanics are concerned, we get a little insight into the character of this king.

Remember that earlier, in regard to the interpretation of his dream (Daniel 2), Nebuchadnezzar had exulted over the God of heaven. Time passed, and now this incident with the three Hebrew children occurred. The king was effusive, effervescent, and impulsive in his demeanor. But of course people with this temperament can also be quick “forgetters.” Initially they are responsive and dramatic, but they also forget quickly.

Now let us consider this incident from the spiritual and prophetic standpoint. The type of the three Hebrews symbolizes conditions that will occur at the end of the age. Specifically, the three Hebrew children represent three classes of feet members at the end of the age. As with the Gideon picture, which also shows three classes of feet members, all three classes are equal. In the Gideon type, each of the three classes consisted of 100 individuals, 100 being a perfect number.

The fourth one that Nebuchadnezzar saw walking in the fiery furnace represents Christ’s presence with the feet members. It also gives added significance to Jesus’ statement “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [age]. Amen” (Matt. 28:20). The Lord will be with the feet members in their experience. Moreover, the one whose form was like the Son of God corresponds to Gideon.

In the type the three Hebrews were delivered. In antitype the three classes will also be delivered but in a spiritual sense, i.e., as new creatures and not according to the flesh. The clue given by the Pastor is the burning of the cords (picturing the flesh) that bound them. Although the flesh will be destroyed, the spirit or new creature will be saved—the principle being that the feet members will perish as flesh beings but come forth victorious as spirit beings. When Jesus died on the Cross, it appeared that all of the forces of evil were successful, but his death cry, “It is finished!” was actually a cry of victory. Therefore, in the picture of the three Hebrews, the cords of flesh are all that was destroyed.

Not only did the three Hebrews come forth from the fiery furnace with royal garments and positions of prestige, but the king promoted them and granted additional power. At this point in the type, King Nebuchadnezzar pictures God Himself. By being faithful unto death under adverse circumstances, the feet members will be exalted to the new nature.

Q: Then does the representation of the king change within the type itself?

A: Yes, at the very end. A Scriptural precedent for such a change is Elisha. While accompanying Elijah at the time of Elijah’s translation, Elisha represents the Great Company class, but after he crossed the Jordan and the sons of the prophets searched for Elijah’s body, Elisha pictures the Ancient Worthies. Another example of a change in representation is the daughters of Jerusalem in the Song of Solomon.

Q: Who does the king portray at the beginning of the type?

A: The king of Babylon pictures civil power, which will do the persecuting at the urging or machination of the religious powers. The fact that the counsellors connived the conspiracy behind the scenes shows that the religious powers will foment the persecution and use civil authority as the executioner.

Q: Then would we say that Nebuchadnezzar himself earlier pictures the civil element, whereas his governors, captains, counsellors, etc., represent the religious element?

A: The picture is a mixed bag, but the ones who brought the matter to a head by informing the king typify the religious element. They said (paraphrased), “When you gave the signal to bow down, the three Hebrews, whom you have made heads over the province of Babylon, refused.” The type shows the three elements: the beast, the dragon, and the false prophet. Depending on the particular nation, one of the three authorities will take center

stage. Since most Christians live in Europe and the United States, the beast and the image of the beast, respectively, will be primarily responsible for agitating the civil power to persecute. In Europe, Papacy will be the leading power behind the persecution. The beast will be unabashed in accusing faithful Christians. In the United States, which is supposed to be a Protestant nation, the mother (Herodias, picturing the Roman Catholic Church) will stand behind the scene and use the daughter (Salomé, the false prophet, picturing federated Protestantism) to do the dancing, that is, to inveigle the civil power to execute the John the Baptist class. A multitude of separate pictures are related.

Q: Does worship of the golden image tie in with getting the mark of the beast (Rev. 13:17)?

A: Yes, for obedience was required in both cases—in bowing down to the image and in receiving the mark. The different actors and dramas teach exactly the same lessons.

Comment: According to Young’s, the word “Dura” means “circle,” which ties in with the ecumenical spirit, the unity concept.

Reply: When the command was given to bow down to the image at the sound of the music, a mixed and extensive multitude from throughout the empire was involved. In the Kingdom age, many startling details will be revealed as to the identity of the various

instruments, musicians, and officials and/or spectators.

Comment: The various musicians each played an individual instrument, but when they gathered, they made music together.

Reply: In antitype they will be in harmony with the ecumenical spirit, which is the real theme. The king (civil power) will want to unite the empire. Similarly, the Roman Emperor Constantine convened the bishops of the realm to the Council of Nicea with the purpose of cementing and unifying the power of Rome. He capitalized on the religious enthusiasm of his subjects to strengthen the civil power. Thus one hand washes or supports the other. The theme, a natural or worldly philosophy, is that in unity there is strength. To the contrary, Abraham Lincoln said, “One with God is a majority.”

Q: In speaking of the three Hebrews, verse 27 says, “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.” Since we usually think of “hair” as picturing consecration, we could say that their consecration was not affected by the persecution. What is the antitypical significance of the “smell of fire”?

A: The Crucifixion of our Lord, terrible as it was, will be used in the future to show the intrinsic merit of Christ, his character. Thus the Crucifixion will be seen as a great, great triumph. When viewed in that light, the Crucifixion demonstrates the victory of Christ on the Cross, rather than just a crucifix on the wall. Roman Catholicism looks at a dead Christ, at what he suffered and did, whereas the consecrated Christian looks at a living Christ. (Of course we do not lose sight of the Crucifixion, and we celebrate the Memorial once a year to

keep his death in memory.) The overcoming aspect is important to each of us, for it determines whether or not Christianity will be a success in our individual lives.

Comment: For not even the hair of their heads to be singed means that God miraculously protected the three Hebrews.

Reply: Yes, He encased them with an invisible shield that prevented any damage. Even their clothing emerged from the fire unwrinkled and clean. The lesson was emphasized even more strongly because there was no dishevelment at all. The three Hebrews came out of the fire completely unharmed, and every hair was in place. Their promotion to a higher rank because of courage and steadfastness is the crowning jewel of this chapter

Comment: In Hebrews 11:32, the Apostle Paul wrote, “What shall I more say? for the time

would fail me to tell of … the prophets: Who through faith … quenched the violence of fire.”

Reply: Yes, Paul was no doubt thinking of the three Hebrews.

Comment: How the attitude of King Nebuchadnezzar changed! He started out by being angry because the three Hebrews were taking a stand and not obeying. Subsequently, when he saw the three plus a fourth walking about loose in the midst of the fiery furnace, he said, “Come forth!” His change of attitude illustrates those in the Kingdom who formerly did not accept, respect, or have anything to do with God and His people but, because of a right heart attitude, will turn around and accept God and appreciate His people.

Comment: The king was probably overwhelmed at that point because he knew it was his commandment that had caused the three Hebrews to be thrown into the fiery furnace.

Reply: Yes, in trying to absolve his guilt, he wanted the three to get out of that situation as fast as possible.

Q: In verse 29 the tables were turned by the king’s decree that anyone in his empire who spoke anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego would be “cut in pieces, and their houses … made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.” Is the punishment for failure to acknowledge the God of the Hebrews a picture of Second Death?

A: Yes.

Comment: What a quick turn-around in the king’s attitude!

Reply: He was emotional and impulsive like Peter, but the king’s conversion did not last. Nebuchadnezzar’s reign ceased after about 45 years. Following this incident with the three Hebrews, Daniel was in the background and out of sight for some time, but later, under the reign of Belshazzar, the queen suggested that he be summoned to explain the handwriting on the wall. Daniel was honored for that explanation and again, when very aged, under the reigns of Darius and Cyrus. Hence Daniel had an up-and-down experience.

Comment: The wording in verse 29 is similar to the commandment “Thou shalt have no other God before me.”

Reply: In the Parable of the Pounds, the last verse reads, “But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me” (Luke 19:12–27). Righteous indignation is involved. How can one really hate iniquity unless he has a little vim and vigor in desiring righteousness to triumph? David prayed to hate God’s enemies with a “perfect hatred” (Psa. 139:22). He wanted the hatred to be schooled or disciplined according to what God would do in any situation. A person should be righteously indignant.

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