Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 2 * PART 3 * BOOK 80
DANIEL – PART II – 3
Daniel 2:1- 4:25
All right, it’s good to have everybody back from their break. We’re going to jump right in where we left off in Daniel chapter 3 and verse 6. And those of you watching on television, again, we always like to remind you that we’re independent. I’m not associated with any group. And, yes, I’m just a cattle rancher. It is baby calf arriving time. I love my ranching, and I love the cattle, but I love this even more.
It kind of amuses people that I’m a cattle rancher and still doing what I’m doing with the Word of God. But God has seen fit to bless us with both sides of the coin. Hasn’t He, Honey? And we do love our ranching. When we are out in these cities—like all week in Florida last week—my, what a joy to drive up our hill to the ranch! So, we just praise the Lord for everything. As always, we want to thank you for your letters, your prayers, and your financial help. We just couldn’t do it without you. God is so good to the ministry.
All right, Daniel chapter 3 and we’ve been talking about this horrible image that Nebuchadnezzar raised out there on the plains of the Euphrates Valley. No wonder Daniel would rather go to the lions’ den as fall down and worship such a vile, immoral image. All right, verse 6, Nebuchadnezzar puts out a decree.
“And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth (this image) shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (Okay, I’m sorry. I said lions’ den. This is into the fiery furnace, first.) 7. Therefore at that time,…” At the time when the decree goes out through the whole empire that everyone now has to pay homage to this image that’s been raised by ole Nebuchadnezzar.
Now like I showed you, three score cubits—that’s 60 and 30; that’s about 90 feet tall. And six cubits across, so it’s quite a humongous thing. Verse 7:
“Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of…(I’m not going to list all the music.)…and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped…”Now I know that not everybody from every nation was there. But like we saw earlier, it was their governmental representatives. It’s just like when we have a big deal in Washington, whether it’s the funeral of an ex-president or like on inauguration day. Everyone on earth sends representatives. I think that’s what we’ve got pictured here. It isn’t that everybody on earth was there, but all their representatives, all their government wheels.
“…the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 8. Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, (Now remember what the Chaldeans were. They were the top dogs of all the soothsayers. They were sort of a little click all their own.) the Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.”
Now don’t lose sight of the fact that the Jews had been taken out of their homeland several years previous to all this. They’ve now been relocated to the country of Babylon, which is present day Iraq. All right, so these Jews, not just Daniel and his three friends, but probably multitudes of them, were not taking part in bowing down to this image.
Now, I think it bears repeating. In one of our previous programs after we started the Book of Daniel, there were two reasons that God used Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians to invade and defeat the Israelites and take them captive to Babylon for seventy years.
The first one, you remember, was they had not kept the seven year sabbatical. This meant that from the time they went in and occupied the land under Joshua, they were to let the productive part of Israel, that is the farmland and the orchards and what have you, to lie fallow every seventh year. It was called the sabbatical year. But they never did. For four hundred and ninety years they never kept a single sabbatical. So what did God say? I’m going to get it! So He uprooted them, and the land lay utterly desolate and unproductive for 70 years.
But the other major reason for God dealing so drastically with Israel was they had fallen so far into idolatry—unbelievable—in spite of all the warnings. Now, let’s go back where we left off in the last program. I’d been debating whether to go back and finish that or not. But let’s go back to Deuteronomy chapter 7; because, you see, this is so intrinsic in our understanding of how God does, or why God does, the things that He does. Well, it’s not because He was unkind or that He was ruthless. But He had to control the behavior of the human race some way or other. When you come back to Deuteronomy chapter 7, Moses is—more or less—in one instance he’s reviewing, and then on the other hand he’s looking forward to the time when Israel would come in and occupy the land of Canaan. He knows it’s going to happen because—well, like down at verse 12.
“Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he swear unto thy fathers: 13. And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee:…” He would give them all these things, and they would be blessed beyond measure. But the warning was, don’t fall into their idolatry, because God can’t stomach that. And did they fall? Yes. My, I’ve shown you Jeremiah 44 over and over through the years.
At the time of Jeremiah, which was just before the Babylonian captivity, who were they worshipping? The Queen of Heaven. And what was the worship of the Queen of Heaven? The grossest immorality! All right, but back here in Deuteronomy chapter 7, now come all the way down to verse 22.
“And the LORD thy God will put out those nations before thee by little and little: thou mayest not consume them at once, lest the beasts of the field increase upon thee. 23. But the LORD thy God shall deliver them unto thee, and shall destroy them with a mighty destruction, until they be destroyed.” Now that’s speaking of the Canaanites.
“And He shall deliver their kings into thine hand, and thou shalt destroy their name from under heaven: there shall no man be able to stand before thee, until thou have destroyed them. 25. The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire: thou shalt not desire the silver or gold that is on them,…” Now like I said in the earlier program, they would usually make these things out of a wood base and then veneer it with gold or silver. Is that the right word? Veneer? They would veneer it with silver or gold.
“…nor take it unto thee, lest thou be snared therein: (That is by this idolatrous worship.) for it is (What?) an abomination to the LORD thy God.” And that is one of the worst words that the English language can give us to show how God looked at these idolatrous practices. It was an abomination. Now verse 26 and this is what made me think of the internet. And I closed with that in the last half hour.
“Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it,…” Now listen, beloved, this is exactly what our attitude has to be today. I don’t believe in going out in the street and marching and wearing placards and all that. But on the other hand, we have to let whoever we can know how we detest these immoral behaviors. This started way back here with Israel.
“…but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shall utterly abhor it; (Why?) for it is a cursed thing.” And sooner or later it’s going to trigger God’s judgment, even as it did on Israel.
Well, I think I’d better show you the verse in Jeremiah once again, even though we’ve used it over and over. Go all the way up to Jeremiah 44. Because this is why God was so judgmental, if I may use the word, and why He was so severe with Israel—because they had rejected the worship of the true God and had fallen into idolatry.
“Then all the men who knew that their wives had burned incense unto other gods, (See, it wasn’t just the men, it was the women.) and all the women that stood by, a great multitude, even all the people that dwelt in the land of Egypt, in Pathros, answered Jeremiah, saying,” In other words, they had actually migrated down into Egypt and taken all this immoral idolatry with them.
“As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the LORD, we will not hearken unto thee. 17. But we will certainly do whatsoever thing goeth forth out of our own mouth, to burn incense unto the queen of heaven,…”
Now, every culture had their female goddesses. Astarte, what’s the other one I’m trying to think of—Diana of the Ephesians was one, and Athena of the Athenians. They were all the top female goddesses of their idolatrous worship. All right, so here again, these Israelites, these Jews, were offering incense to the “queen of heaven.”
“…and to pour out drink-offerings unto her, as we have done,…” and so on and so forth. I want you to realize that I’m not just putting out fluff when I say that the Jews had fallen so deeply into gross immorality centered around these pagan gods and goddesses.
All right, let’s come back to Daniel. Confronted with this vile pagan worship of immoral things, Shadrach and Meshach and Abednego—they just couldn’t handle it. They had prayed again, as they had before. All right, now the Chaldeans in verse 8 came and accused the Jews, primarily Daniel and his friends, but probably others as well; because most of the nation, you know, has now taken up residence in Babylon. Verse 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…music, 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,…”
Now see, this is what got them. That these Jewish young people—now let’s give them a little more credit—maybe they’re up to 16, maybe 17, but they’re actually in the top rungs of government in Babylon. These others just couldn’t handle it that these young Jewish lads were in such places of authority, and yet they are flying in the face of the king by not bowing down to the image. They’re staying true to their God. All right, verse 12 again:
“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. (Again, I can’t tell you what it was, but it was awful!) 13. Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and furry commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.”
“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? 15. Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the…music, (I’m not going to name all the instruments every time.) 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?”
You see what a pompous fool he is? In other words, even the God of Israel could not overrule him, he thought. Now, we’re going to see what happens to the guy a little later in the Book of Daniel. But see, isn’t this exactly typical of many of the world leaders that we have seen in our own time, especially those of you that are as old as I am? My, you go back to Mussolini, Hitler, Stalin, Gorbachev, Khrushchev, Mao Tse-tung, what ignoramuses. And yet they were so pompous. And actually, Mao Tse-tung, especially, actually considered himself a god to the Chinese. It’s not just Nebuchadnezzar. It’s so typical throughout the human race.
And, of course, all of this is showing us a picture of the coming Tribulation. I haven’t mentioned that before, but I should have. This is all drawing us a symbolic picture of what Israel will be going through in the Tribulation under the rule of the pompous jerk that’s coming, the anti-Christ. But he won’t be a jerk. He’s going to be extremely intelligent. He’s going to be extremely charismatic. We’re seeing a lot of it in our own country today. How one man can all of a sudden get the world to just fall at his feet. Well, I’m not claiming he’s the anti-Christ, I’m saying he’s a prototype. It’s just showing us what can happen in just a matter of a few months. Well, I’ll let it go at that. Now come back to chapter 3 verse 16.
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. (We’re not worried about how we answer.) 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.” Now remember, this is a picture of Israel going through the Tribulation under the horrors of the anti-Christ. That’s what I want you to compare now.
“…our God 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 has set up.” Then verse 19, here’s the man’s true nature. He’s serious.
“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 seven times more than it was wont to be heated. (In other words, really fire it up. Now, I’m thinking they must have used bellows, much like a forge.) 20. And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind…(these three Jews)…and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.” Now you’ve all heard the story, but hopefully I can pull a little more out of it than what you’ve normally gotten.
“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 flame of fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. (to throw them into the fire) 23. And these three men,…fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.”
“Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counselors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. (Now watch it.) 25. He answered and said, Lo, I see four (Not bound, they’re loose.) 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.” And that’s who it was.
Christ immediately identifies Himself with these three believing Jews to give us the picture of how He will, likewise—and I think I’ve got a minute now. Let’s jump all the way up to Matthew 24 to start out with how there’s going to be a remnant of Israel in the very middle of the fiery furnace of the Tribulation, and God is going to spare them. He’s going to protect them, just like He did the three Jews in Babylon.
For that, let’s go up to Matthew 24 in the words of the Lord Jesus Himself. We’ve looked at it before, but it never hurts to repeat. In fact, I guess our letters say it constantly, don’t they, Honey? Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. We had a letter yesterday just exactly that way. Les, repeat, repeat, repeat. I got one from a fellow who had been a Catholic priest in a monastery. I don’t remember the details, but he said the same thing. Les, he said, repeat, repeat, repeat; otherwise I would have never gotten it. So bear with me.
We’ll repeat again, Matthew 24, when the Lord Jesus is speaking to the Twelve concerning the Tribulation. Now remember, Matthew 24 is all Tribulation-ground. Don’t let anybody kid you. Verse 15 is at the mid-point when things are really going to get hot. The first three-and-a-half years are bad enough, but now it’s just like the fiery furnace of Babylon. It’s going to be heated seven times more than you can ever imagine. So verse 15:
“When ye therefore (Jesus is speaking.) shall see the abomination of desolation, (In other words, the anti-Christ that’s coming is going to be just as an abomination as Nebuchadnezzar’s image. And I just compare the two to the same thing.) when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)”
“Then let them who be in Judea flee into the mountains:” Now here is what I’ve always called the escaping remnant of Israel. And from Zechariah 13, it’s one third of them. So the prophecy is sure, that one third of Israel is going to go through this fiery trial; two thirds will lose their lives. But here we go. This one third of Israel is going to flee into the mountains.
“Let him who is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: 18. Neither let him who is in the field return back to take his clothes.” In other words, urgency.
“And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that are nursing in those days!” Young mothers. In other words, it’s going to be a mixed cross-section of Israel. This is not the 144,000. This is an escaping remnant that is going to survive the Tribulation and be able to go into the Kingdom under Christ’s rule and reign and repopulate the Nation of Israel. But the verse I want you to see is verse 20.
“But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: (Now watch this.) 21. For then (at the mid-point of the seven years) shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, (And then He looks ahead through the centuries.) no, nor ever shall be.”
Now, for an exercise in your memory, can you think of all the horrors of past history? Why, it’s more than we can number, the horrors that the human race has gone through. But I guess the epitome was the Holocaust. The Holocaust—six million Jews lost their lives over a matter of a couple or three years. And don’t you ever doubt it.
You know, I’ve always told people. If you ever have a doubt about the Holocaust, just come and I’ll tell you. We knew a fellow that was with the paratroopers. They were one of the first ones into one of the major death camps. And they saw all the carcasses of those emaciated Jews. Piled like cordwood, but every once in a while they’d see fingers still moving.
And he had the proof of it, because the regimental photographer was with them. And he took tons of pictures. And he had those pictures in his attic until one night he just couldn’t stand it anymore. He got up and went down and threw them into the fire. And he was rehearsing that with our Jewish guide. You remember? And Eli said, oh, if the Israeli government would have known that, they’d have paid you thousands for those pictures, because they were official. They were taken by the army photographer. Don’t ever doubt the holocaust. Don’t ever doubt how awful, awful it was.
All right, but the Lord Jesus said this is going to be worse. If I read language, He said there is nothing like it—never has been, nor ever will be. So, this is like the fiery furnace of Daniel for this remnant of Jews. But in the midst of it, they’re not going to be touched. God is going to supernaturally protect this remnant of Israel. They won’t get a thing touching them of anything that could possibly be done. God is going to help them survive, so that they can come back and come into His glorious Kingdom.
All right, this whole concept of the fiery furnace is the only emphasis I want to make. This is a picture of the remaining, or the remnant, of Israel going through those final years of the Tribulation with the anti-Christ standing over them.
Well, let’s go back to Revelation. I’ve got time enough. Let’s go back to Revelation, and we’ll get a picture of their escape. Revelation chapter 12 verse 13, and remember, the dragon in these verses is the anti-Christ with the power and influence indwelt by Satan himself. Revelation 12, jumping in at verse 13, this is the mid-point, again, of the Tribulation—the same thing that Jesus was talking about in Matthew 24. Verse 13:
“And when the dragon (Satan, in the person of the anti-Christ) saw that he was cast unto the earth, (In other words, he’s now ruling and reigning through the man anti-Christ.) he persecuted the woman who brought forth the man child. (which is Israel) 14. And to the woman (Now, of course, we’ve got to remember that we’re not dealing with the whole, we’re dealing with the remnant, the third part of Israel.)And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness,…”
Now, don’t picture her being picked up by American helicopters or anything else. They’re going to walk. Because you see, when Israel left Egypt, it is the same language. Remember–I took you and I gave you wings of a eagle that you might escape Egypt. Well, it’s the same thing here. They’re going to walk or maybe drive cars, I don’t know. But they’re not going to fly. They’re going to escape out into their place of safety, wherever it is, by a supernatural working of Israel’s God. In this case, He’s going to put them–
“…into the wilderness into her place, where she is nourished (In other words, God is going to take care of them. Just like He did Israel in the desert.) for three and a half years…”
Then when you come down to verses 15 and 16, the anti-Christ sends out a military force to destroy them. But God opens the earth just like He opened the Red Sea. The earth opens up, and the anti-Christ’s military, or whatever it is, a regiment or whatever, we don’t know—but it’s going to be swallowed up by the earth. And then verse 17:
“And the dragon (the anti-Christ and Satan) was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” In other words, God is going to supernaturally save out of the fiery furnace His remnant of Israel.