From Furnace to Palace

Scripture: Daniel 3:17
Date: 01/25/2020 
Lesson: 4
'We show real faith when we pray to the Lord for what we want but trust Him to do what’s best for us, even if at the time we don’t understand what is happening or why.'
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Shawn Brummund: Hello, friends. We're glad that you're joining us for yet another edition of the "Sabbath School Study Hour" right here in Sacramento, California in the Granite Bay Church, in partnership with "Amazing Facts Ministries." We're always glad to have everybody that's watching online from week to week, and of course everybody that's watching on the various television networks as well. We're glad that you've decided to join us. I am confident that your decision to join us for this program will make a real difference in growing your faith, in helping to you understand Jesus, understand the Bible that much better, and understand that God is somebody that we can trust, as we look at this very faith-building lesson study today.

Now, just two or three weeks ago, we started a new quarterly study on one of my favorite books, which is entitled Daniel. And Daniel is found of course in the Old Testament, and he was given some of the most powerful and far-reaching prophecies that we can find in all the Bible. So if you haven't got yourself a copy of the new quarterly yet, make sure that you get a copy of this because you want to find yourself getting your nose into it from day to day throughout the week and be acquainted with it before you even join us here on the "Sabbath School Study Hour." You'll get that much more out of it as God speaks to both of us as we continue to study his Word. Always good to have everybody here in the Granite Bay Church join us as well, and so a good morning to all of you as we continue to study this very important and powerful book.

And so those of you who are watching online, I want to also invite you to take advantage of a free gift offer that we have for you which is entitled, "Saved from Certain Death." "Saved from Certain Death." And as you get into this particular study, which is my favorite study of all, which is on salvation, how can we know that we have eternal life? How can we know that we all-- that death is not the end in our experience, that we can have eternal life together? So please call the number that you see on the screen, which is 1-866-788-3966. Take advantage of this offer. For those of you who have a phone, a digital phone, that would like to download that for free, you can do that even if you live outside of America and you can't get the hard copy gift that we're offering here today. And so just simply text the code that you see on the screen, and that is text code SH060, and you want to text that to the phone number, or the text number I guess we would call it, 40544. So text that to 40544. Take advantage of that either way and I know that you will be blessed as you continue to study that important topic as well.

And so before we invite our teacher forward and we actually get into our lesson study, we're going to invite our singers forward as they have a special song of praise. Join us now.

Female: Happy Sabbath, church family. We're going to be singing hymn number 330, if you'd like to follow along with us.

♪ Take my life and let it be consecrated, ♪

♪ Lord, to thee. ♪

♪ Take my hands and let them move ♪

♪ at the impulse of thy love. ♪

♪ At the impulse of thy love. ♪

♪ Take my feet and let them be swift ♪

♪ and beautiful for thee. ♪

♪ Take my voice and let me sing ♪

♪ always only for my King. ♪

♪ Always only for my King. ♪

♪ Take my lips and let them be ♪

♪ filled with messages from thee. ♪

♪ Take my silver and my gold. ♪

♪ Not a mite would I withhold. ♪

♪ Not a mite would I withhold. ♪

♪ Take my will and make it thine. ♪

♪ It shall be no longer mine. ♪

♪ Take my heart, it is thine own. ♪

♪ It shall be thy royal throne. ♪

♪ It shall be thy royal throne. ♪

♪ Take my love, my Lord, I pour ♪

♪ at thy feet its treasure-store. ♪

♪ Take myself and I will be ♪

♪ ever, only, all for thee. ♪

♪ Ever, only, all for thee. ♪♪

Shawn Brummund: Well, thank you for that. I want to invite everyone to join us as we ask the Lord to bless us in prayer. Father in Heaven, we are thankful for this opportunity to be able to come together, to be able to study this powerful book that You have given to us, to be able to help us to understand, and for as many of us, to remind us and confirm that You are sovereign, that You are the Almighty, that You are the one that rules all of the universe, Father in Heaven, that You are the one that knows the beginning from the end. You're the one that comes from eternity and goes into eternity. And Lord, we're thankful to be a part of that here today. God, we're thankful for the offer of eternal life that You give to us. We claim it through Jesus, even now, and we thank You for giving us that gift. Father in Heaven, I want to pray that you will bless our teacher today. We thank You for our Senior Pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor, as he's going to be teaching us here today. I want to pray, God in Heaven, that You will continue to guide him with Your Spirit, that You will give him the remembrance that You intend for him to remember in regards to the Word in which You are going to share with us here today. Please bless each and every listener and each and every one that is worshiping in the church today. Father, that Your Spirit may guide us and lead us. In Jesus' name we pray, amen.

Doug Batchelor: Thank you, Pastor Shawn. Thank you to our singers. Good morning to the people in the chairs. How's everybody? And I want to welcome you. If some of you are bold and brave, you can sit on the front pews. There is no rule that these are reserved and you're welcome. I always do my best to, like, brush my teeth, and gargle, and deodorize, so there's no threat coming from here. And we're going to be studying today, Daniel. It's lesson number four, and it is one of the great mountaintops of the Bible. It's a story of the three Hebrew worthies in the fiery furnace. Want to welcome those who are joining us on satellite television or maybe you're watching on one of our social media sites. We know a lot of people tune in via Facebook every week and want to welcome those. We have people out there around the world that are online members of the Granite Bay Church, and we're just so thankful that you could join us today as well.

You know, there's people that are scattered, different parts of the world, usually English-speaking people or at least it's a second language, and there's no local church they can attend, and they become some of our digital members, our online family. If you'd like to know more about how to do that, just simply go to Granite Bay SDA and you could say, "How do I become one of your online members?" and our pastors will walk you through that. You might even get an email from Mrs. Batchelor, who helps with that.

Lesson number four, and we have a memory verse, and the memory verse comes to us from Daniel chapter 3, verse 17. Daniel 3:17, if you want to say that with me, then that'll be helpful. You ready? "Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning, fiery furnace, and he will deliver us from your hand, O King."

All right, let's open our Bibles, Daniel chapter 3. Now, people get a little confused. It's less than four, but it's Daniel chapter 3 that we're studying. And you remember in Daniel chapter 2, King Nebuchadnezzar, this great golden monarch of the Babylonian Empire, this king who has had this dream of this idol. And the idol represents the false kingdoms of the world that would be oppressing his people, and it's made of, what are the metals? Gold and silver, bronze, iron. The feet are concrete, iron and miry clay. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it. And so, the head of gold is what kingdom? Babylon. He says, "Thou, O King, are this head of gold." But it bothered Nebuchadnezzar that the vision went on to say, "And after you will arise another kingdom." He didn't want to have another kingdom. He wanted to be the king of the world forever. He wanted his kingdom, his monarchy, his posterity to continue to reign. And so when you get to Daniel chapter 3, it says, "Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was 60 cubits and its width 6 cubits. And he set it up in the Plain of Dura in the province of Babylon."

So now the king, you think at the end of chapter 2 he's glorifying God, but some time had elapsed between chapter 2 and the vision where he says, "Your God is a God of gods," to Daniel and maybe some of his wise men. You know, keep in mind, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had got promoted at the end of chapter 2, that the wise men of Nebuchadnezzar could not interpret the dream, but Daniel could. That probably created a little resentment in the minds of these other magi that the Chaldeans, the astrologers, that could not interpret the king's dream. And then Daniel gets promoted and his three friends above them. And as you see in Daniel chapter 6, they're threatened by that. And so now they're saying, "Oh Nebuchadnezzar, have you given up our idols and our gods to worship the Jewish God?" He said, "Oh no, no, no, I still worship our gods." He wasn't really converted yet. And so the combination of that, maybe the urging of some of the wise men, he decided to-- maybe he could overthrow the prophecy. If the head of gold is Babylon, if he makes an idol that's all gold, maybe there will be no silver kingdom and Babylon could last forever.

And you can read in the book, "Prophets and Kings," page 504, "The wise men of his realm, taking advantage of this," of his return to idolatry, "proposed that he make an image similar to the one that he had seen in the dream and set it up where all might behold the head of gold, which it had been interpreted to represent his kingdom. Pleased with the flattering suggestion, he determined to carry it out and to go even farther instead of reproducing the image as he had seen it." You know, gold, silver, bronze, iron, iron and clay. "It would excel the original. This image would not deteriorate in value from the head to the feet, but it would be entirely of gold, symbolic throughout Babylon as an eternal indestructible, all-powerful kingdom, which would break in pieces all the other kingdoms and stand forever." He said, "I can overthrow the Word of God and the prophecy of God," so he makes his mammoth image.

Now just earlier, I almost said this year, of course it was last year now because we're in 2020, Karen and I, with Jared, were in Asia doing some evangelistic programs, and some training, and recording some "Amazing Facts." And while in Malaysia--we went to Taiwan, Malaysia, Hong Kong. While in Malaysia, we went to Batu Caves. They got it up on the screen there? Yeah, that's a statue of Lord Murugan, and it is great, golden statue. I don't know, it's like 250 feet tall. And no, we were not there worshiping the statue. We were there recording an "Amazing Fact." Behind the statue are some beautiful, massive caves. Very--big enough you could fly a plane into it, and people go there. You can see I'm ascending up and down the steps, but when I saw that, what do you think I thought about? Daniel chapter 3. And I did an "Amazing Fact" about Daniel chapter 3 while we were there that day that you still haven't seen yet because we have so much editing to do. We've got to catch up.

But that is not the tallest statue in the world, nor is it the Statue of Liberty. Tallest statue in the world was just built recently. It's called the Unity Statue. It is in India. And you can see the different statues, tall statues of the world, there's a little chart I put up there just for your interest, trivia. You've got the first one there, it's the statue of Our Christ the Redeemer. It's 38 meters. That's above Rio de Janeiro. You've probably seen it on the hill. They got the Mother of Russia there, 91 meters. Statue of Liberty, 2 meters taller, but actually it's not taller. The statue's shorter, but it's on a big pedestal. So with the pedestal, The Statue of Liberty is 93 meters. Then you've got a couple of Buddhas in China, in other parts of the world. And then you've got in India, this massive, colossal statue, 597 feet tall, if you can imagine that. It's of one of their founders of the country, Patel I think is the name. And boy, I tell you, it was-- that's really something.

And you know, man keeps building bigger and bigger statues in our day and age and we're building bigger--just in this generation, and bigger and bigger buildings. You thought that the Burj Khalifa was tall. Right now it's the tallest building of the world. I've been there and went up the building. Karen and I were there, but when we went, we didn't have time to go to the top again. And now I understand that in Saudi Arabia, they're planning on building a building that is a mile high, if you can imagine that. Makes you think about Daniel chapter 11, Tower of Babel. Well, back to our story in Babylon. They always wanted to outdo everything before, so he makes his massive statue of gold, sets it up in the Plain of Dura, and he says, "We're going to have an inauguration ceremony."

Now, something right at the beginning ought to trigger your interest. What's the dimension of the statue? Sixty cubits by six cubits. Now you know, as we read on in the story, it says he makes an idol and tells everyone if they don't worship the idol, they'll be killed. Does that sound familiar to you? You see that happening somewhere else in the Bible? When you go to Revelation 13, does it talk about those that do not worship the image should be killed? And then there's a number that is given at the end of that chapter. What is the number? 666.

Now, with that in mind, Dr. Leslie Harding, a great scholar in our church, he told me that in Hebrew, if it gives the width and it does not give the depth, the depth and the width will be the same as the--and then you've got the height. An example of this, if you look in Exodus 30, verse 1 and 2, talking about the altar of incense, You shall make an altar to burn incense on it. Make it of acacia wood. A cubit shall be its length, a cubit its width. Equal length and width, and two cubits its height. So if it does not give the figure for the depth, it will be the same as the width, which means that the image is 6 cubits by 6 cubits by 60 cubits. You see what he's saying? And yeah, so don't miss that number 6 in this big statue. The numbers mean something, like when you get to the New Jerusalem, 12,000 furlongs. Don't use feet. I know it's 1500 feet, but they didn't use feet. They used cubits. They used furlongs. And using their measurements, the number meant something. So in Babylon, 60 and 6 and 6 meant something.

Anyway, so now this is not-- this image he's making, it's not genuine because it's hollow. It's not solid gold. They could never afford an image that big, solid gold. Even Babylon with all their magnificent wealth, it's plated. Isaiah 40, verse 19, "The workman melted the graven image and the goldsmiths spreadeth it over with the gold and cast as silver change." You'll look in Habakkuk 2:19, there's several verses that say this, "Woe to him who says to the wood, 'Awake,' to silent stone, 'Arise. It will teach.' Behold, it," the wood and the stone, "is overlaid with gold and silver, and yet there's no breath in them." They're hollow, and so they would take these wooden statues--some of you read in Jeremiah 10, where it says he goes to the woods and he cuts down a tree, and he overlays it with gold and silver. And people say, "That's the Christmas tree." No, it's just what they did with idols. They'd cut down the tree, and they'd fashion it, and then they'd plate it.

So this is not solid gold, it is plated with gold, but still it's like that statue I showed you of Lord Murugan. That is gold leaf paint that they use, and they use a whole lot of it too on that statue. So he wants the gold to last forever. He's wanting his kingdom to last forever. And someone's going to read for me in a moment I think Luke 14:13, but who gets invited to this feast? If you'll look in Daniel chapter 3, verse 2, it says, "And the King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps and administrators," that's the princes, "and administrators, and the governors, and the counselors, and the treasurers, and the judges, and the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image, who King Nebuchadnezzar had set up." And so who gets to come? The who's who. He's bringing all the elite, all the important people. Why? He doesn't send out this invitation to the general population.

The idea is that if you can get the heads of all the people-- You know the most popular magazines? Anyone want to guess? The rich and the famous, the tabloid magazines. People don't want to hear about poor people doing nothing nowhere. They want to know what the rich people are doing, what the famous people are doing. Am I right? You just--don't ever buy it, but if you look at the tabloid magazines when you check out of the market--don't ever buy them or it will lower your perceived IQ, but they're always talking about the rich and the famous. Because the king knew that if these folks would come and dedicate his image, then all the poor people would follow.

But when Jesus had a feast, who did he invite? Why don't you read that next verse to us.

Female: Luke 14:13, "But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind."

Doug Batchelor: Isn't that interesting? Nebuchadnezzar, he invites the rich and the famous. Jesus said when you give a feast, if you want to be blessed by your Father in Heaven, invite people who can't repay you. Invite people who might be socially insignificant, because He makes the sun to shine on the just and the unjust. So Nebuchadnezzar's doing things the way the devil would do it. It's all about name, and power, and prestige. And so he wants to persuade the leaders to help him inaugurate this new religion. He's trying to weld together a kingdom that will last. Now, don't miss this because it comes up in Revelation as well.

You know, when you have a world power and you're trying to unite it, if you cannot unite this world power that might be divided by language, culture, customs, race, you can unite them by religion. Why do you think Hitler had everybody say, "Heil Hitler"? It actually turned to a religious cult. Why do you think Augustus Caesar said that he was a god, and Alexander the Great? And Darius said, "Everybody worship just the king for 30 days." Why 30 days? Because history has shown that when you cannot unite people from all these different backgrounds through common language and custom or race, that religion can be a unifying factor.

In the last days, what is the devil going to do? He's going to call--cause all to worship. Why? He wants to have one world religion that is opposing the religion of Jesus in the last days through common worship is what's going to happen. Do we see religious leaders like the Pope today trying to get all the different religious leaders to come together for common purpose? Yeah, this pope in particular is reaching out more than any other that I know of. So he calls them together to inaugurate this grade idol, but some people have been invited. And maybe these three Hebrews, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, did not know exactly what was going on, and--but there's going to be a problem.

Here's what his instructions are. They all come to the dedication and a herald--messages circulated among this vast crowd of leaders from around his realm. A herald cries out. Now, here they're getting the instructions. "To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, languages." Isn't that what it says? "To every tongue and nation, the gospel goes, and every tongue and nation must worship the beast and image." There's a battle in the last days for every tongue and nation. He says, "O peoples, nations, and languages, that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, the flute, the harp, the lyre, the psaltery, the symphony with all kinds of music, you will fall down. You shall prostrate yourself and worship the gold image that Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will be cast immediately into the midst of a burning, fiery furnace."

Now, there is a problem for some of the Jews that might be in the audience. There may have been many Jews in the audience that day, but there's only three that stood up. It tells us that Exodus 20, verse 4. How many of you know that third commandment? The second commandment, sorry. Second commandment, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image of the likeness of anything in the Heaven above, or the earth beneath, or the water under the earth. You will not bow down yourself to them nor serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, but showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments."

You realize that in the second commandment, you've got the promise, "Love me and keep my commandments." Everyone focuses on the judgment on the third and fourth generation, but they don't focus on, "Mercy on thousands that love me and keep my commandments." There's a very clear, explicit commandment repeated in the New and the Old Testament, "Do not make idols and pray to them." It is forbidden. So what are Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego going to do? You've got this law. You got a government law. The government law conflicts with the law of God. Which law you're going to follow? Peter said, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to obey you more than God, judge ye." He said we ought to obey God rather than men.

Are we going to be faced with a similar challenge in the last days? Actually some of us are faced with that challenge all the time in little things. We don't think about it. We're often being faced with a decision, "Will I obey God or man? Will I obey God or my own inclination?" And if we're falling down and failing in the little tests, the little quizzes that come from day to day, what will we do when the big test comes? People always wonder, "What will I do when I must choose?" Well, you're deciding every day what you're going to do. It's in the little tests. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful in much."

Well, these three young Hebrews, when the music sounded, they decided, "You know, guys, this would be a really good time for us to adjust our sandals. Let's just get down. We won't pray to the image, but let's fix our shoes. We don't want to be a spectacle. The Bible tells us to obey the laws of the land, and we won't pray to the idol. We'll get on our knees and we'll pray to God." Couldn't they have said that? They could have rationalized. They could've said, "Look, they're having a wonderful celebration right now. We are going to be known as the world's worst party poopers if we do not bow down with everybody else." I mean, who wants to stand out in a crowd?

Not only that, everything about the event that day was calculated by the king to inspire worship. I should say the devil was behind it all. Golden image, can you imagine? They probably waited until the twilight, the sun is just--the sky is gilded, you know, with the clouds, and you had a beautiful sunset, and the sun is on this the veiled image, and the music plays, best musicians in the world back then. And they pull the little ripcord and this parachute falls off the statue, revealing it, and everyone goes, "Ah!" And they know that's the moment, the trumpet hits its notes, you're to bow down, and everyone just falls down.

Everything in that situation was calculated to make them want to worship. I mean, there's power in music. Is the devil going to use music in the last days to inspire the wrong kind of worship? Music is good, and I think that music should be part of worship, but there is the right kind of music and there is Babylonian music. I remember before I was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, I worshiped with Charismatic, Pentecostal brothers and sisters. A lot of good people. I expect to see a number of those people in Heaven. They love the Lord and maybe didn't know better, but boy I'll tell you, before their services, they--the band--not all, but some of the churches I went to, they would whip up into a frenzy. And I thought to myself, "This just can't be right. I cannot picture Jesus in this hootenanny." I mean, it was, you know, just a drum beat, and the people kicking, and dancing, and running up and down the aisles, and falling down, and it was just bedlam. And they'd all start getting taken away in ecstatic utterances and they said, "This is the Holy Spirit." I said, "I'm not reading that in the Book of Acts." I don't know where they're getting that, but the music would always prepare for the wild worship.

When things get out of hand at concerts, it's usually not Mozart they're playing. Have you noticed that? You ever heard they had a stampede at a Beethoven concert? That the police were called in for Chopin? No, they don't ever say that. So music was involved, Babylonian music. And I'm sure it was very moving. And the music played, they dropped the curtain, unveiled the image, and everybody was overwhelmed, and they all bowed down.

But there were three Hebrews that day that had made up their minds, no matter what, they were not going to disobey God. Now, the music was heavenly. They could see the furnace burning in the distance and it was not heavenly. So they had the motivation of the heavenly music and the diabolical furnace that was like Hell. Neither would move them. The people who are there on the Plains of Dura that day were being moved by the heavenly music--and well, maybe it wasn't so heavenly. Babylonian music and the furnace. Neither one of those should be the reason we worship.

It should not be the people around us that makes us worship. It should not be fear of the fire. How many people go to church because they're afraid of the furnace? Isn't that right? I remember once I was giving a Bible study to a pastor of a Baptist church, and a good man, and we were studying the subject of the lake of fire. And I went through all the verses that explain that there is a lake of fire, but it doesn't burn forever. And there's a lot of compelling biblical arguments for that that are really hard to refute. I mean, I've talked about perished, burnt up, consumed, devoured, no more pain, all things new, and the wicked shall blow away into ashes, burnt up. You know, I can--verse, after verse, after verse. And he got real quiet and he finally said, "Well, Pastor Doug," he said, "If I--I've seen these passages before and I know you got some strong arguments here, but if I told my people that, they wouldn't come to church. If they didn't think that hell burned forever, they wouldn't come to church." I'll never forget that. And I said, "Brother, are they coming because they're afraid of hell?" I said, "That's a sorry reason to come." Might be a starting point, but you know, you don't want everyone to come to church because they're afraid they're going to burn.

And Nebuchadnezzar was inaugurating his worship on fear. Is there a large religion in the world today that says, “If you convert from our religion, we will kill you"? Well, if you’ve got to tell people you're going to kill them if they convert from your religion, there's something suspicious about your religion. Isn't that right? It's like if you're in a country that has to build walls to keep people in. We're building a wall to keep people out. A lot of countries build a wall to keep people in. There's something wrong with your country if you’ve got to build an iron curtain to keep them in. That means they hate it and they want to get out. If you've got to make laws that we're going to kill you if you dare leave my church, that means that the actual content of your religion is not strong enough to keep them in. And if Nebuchadnezzar had to build a furnace and say, "You better worship my image," well, something's wrong with your religion. This is a sign of the devil's religion when they have to employ those tactics.

So they play the music and they don't bow down. Well, sure enough, there were people in the crowd that day, the other wise men that maybe were resenting the three Hebrews. You can get to Daniel chapter 3 verse 8, "Therefore at that time, certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews." These are the ones who were put out of a job. They spoke to the king, "Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever. You, O king, haven't you made a decree?" They're reminding the king of his law. Isn't that what happens in Daniel? They go back to King Darius and say, "Didn't you make a law?" "Didn't you make a decree that whoever doesn't fall down and worship the image will be cast in the midst of the burning furnace? There are certain Jews that you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon." You can tell they resent that they maybe were displaced. "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you." It has nothing to do with Nebuchadnezzar. They're just not going to insult their god. "Nor do they serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up."

Now, what's the big question that we haven't mentioned yet? There's a silent question in this chapter when you talked about Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Yeah, who is in chapter 1 and 2? Daniel ends, Daniel 2, by saying he exalted his three friends, so they're all in this together. And all of a sudden you're going, "Wasn't Daniel over Babylon? Where is he?" Well, you can theorize. There is no definite answer, but I suspect that Nebuchadnezzar, knowing what he was up to, knowing how Daniel felt about idolatry, Daniel said that, "Your idol in your dream was going to be pulverized by God's Kingdom. That will grow into a great mountain and fill the whole earth," that Nebuchadnezzar thought, "You know, I don't want--I don't want anybody to ruin my party, and he probably won't want to be there." And maybe Daniel just knew what was up and refused to come, just like he didn't go to Belshazzar's feast either, did he? They had to bring him in.

So Daniel's not there, and he either wasn't invited or by his choice, he did not come. But Nebuchadnezzar, when he first hears this, he doesn't want to lose them. And so Nebuchadnezzar--notice this in verse 13, it says, "Nebuchadnezzar in a rage and a fury, he gave the command." He said, "What? You're telling me that all the trouble I went to, I brought all these people in so I could execute this perfect ceremony, and some people have the audacity to stand up and ruin my program?"

So they brought these three men before the king, and Nebuchadnezzar, he saw them, and these are the young men he had just said a few years earlier they're ten times wiser than anyone else. He knew who they were. Notice he says it by name. "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I've set up?" He doesn't wait for their answer yet. "Now, I want to give you another chance. Maybe you weren't ready. Maybe you didn't hear about the consequences. I don't want to lose you guys. You're good. You're smart." Even though he's mad, he says, "I'm going to give you another chance."

Now, the devil. Does the devil want them to die or does he want them to compromise? More than anything, the devil doesn't want to just kill Christians, he wants them to compromise. I was reading some church history this week and frequently during the Inquisition, when Christians were tortured, witnesses there say they did not give up their faith. They stood to the end. They died, but then their inquisitors would say, "Yes, they renounced Christ. They renounced their views before they died." They lied because they felt defeated if they died for their faith, and they would lie and say they did.

The devil wants more than anything to point the finger at the church and say they compromised, they capitulated, they gave up. And so he wants something--he said, "I'm going to give you another chance. I want you to bow down." More than anything on the cross, the devil wanted Jesus to sin. He did everything he could to get Christ to curse, or deny His faith, or something. The last resort is death. It says, "If you didn't hear it, I'll give you one more chance. When you hear the sound of the harp, the flute, the lyre, the psaltery, and symphony, fall down and worship, then good. But if you do not worship, you will be cast immediately into the midst of a burning, fiery furnace."

And catch this taunt. He says, "Who is that God who will deliver you from my hands?" You’ve got to be very careful about daring the Lord. He was about to find out who that God was. So you notice what's happening here? Again, as in chapter 2, you've got two kingdoms in conflict. You've got Nebuchadnezzar's idol and the Rock of Ages. In Daniel 1, you've got the diet of Daniel and the diet of Babylon. In Daniel 3, you've got Nebuchadnezzar's worship and the worship of God. Which one is going to win? So there's this terrible conflict. He says, "My worship, my idol, is bigger than your God. My laws more important than your law."

You see, there's a conflict here. Daniel is always saying that God wins in the end. "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king." I don't know which of them was the spokesman. "Oh Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter." They said, "Look, this is an easy question for us. If that is the case, our God who we serve is able to deliver us from the burning, fiery furnace and He will deliver us from your hand, O king."

Now first of all, they say, "Our God is able and He will." That's incredible faith that they should say that. They said, "We're going to put our God first." Now you know, some people would argue, "Well, when in Rome, do as the Romans," and I even meet some Christians that say, "Well, you know, you don't want to offend them, and so you worship their god when you're in their country." No, I think you stand for God wherever you are. You don't compromise your faith. And they said, "Our God is able to deliver us." But notice verse 18, "But if not, if He chooses not to, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not--" like, "we're just letting you know right now, we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."

Would all of us have that kind of resolve as we enter the last days, that we know whom we have, who we serve, and He is able to deliver what we've committed to Him against that day. We are not going to compromise. We know Who we have believed in. They said, "Even if He doesn't deliver us, we're not going to stop believing." It's like Job said, "Though He slay me, I'm still going to trust Him."

I remember visiting with a brother years ago. He was struggling with serious cancer. Didn't have very good prognosis. He said, "Doug, I've prayed and I've asked God to heal me. I know He can. But I was reading in Daniel and it says even if He doesn't, I'm going to love and trust Him. No matter what happens, I'm not going to compromise. I know God can, but even if He doesn't." If you're a believer and He doesn't choose to heal you, what does that mean? Well, you're going to be healed in the resurrection. He's going to heal you, right? You'll get a glorified body. They said, "Well, we might die for our faith, but we expect a better resurrection."

You remember reading in Hebrews, where it's describing people, Hebrews 11, verse 32, "And what shall I more say for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon, and Barak, and Samson, and Jephthah, also David, and Samuel, and the prophets, who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions." Who is Paul thinking of here? Daniel. "Quenched the violence of the fire." Who is he thinking of? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, right? He said, "Our God who we serve, He is able to deliver us, and He can deliver us from your hand, O king."

So the king then, when he hears that, he says, "Who's going to deliver you from my hand?" They said, "We're not going to bow down." Notice in Daniel 3:13, Nebuchadnezzar in rage and fury calls Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then after they tell the king, "We are not going to bow down. You don't have to play the music a second time." Now, some of us would probably say, "Well, I'll tell you what, king. Let's play that music one more time. Let's see how I feel. Maybe something will happen." They said, "You don't even need to play the next verse." They said, "We are not bowing down," amen? Now, verse 19, "Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury." You read in Revelation about the dragon was wroth. And the expression on his face changed. He had been showing them some sympathy and patience, because he said, "Look, you guys, not you. I don't want to throw the book at you." He was willing to, you know, kind of even blur his own law a little bit to give them more time. They said, "We don't need more time. We're not changing."

Now it says, "His face changed." His face probably contorted with anger and he gives this severe, urgent command. Someone's going to read for me Isaiah 43, verse 2 in just a moment. You get the mic there. Let me read Daniel 3:22. "Therefore, because the King's command was urgent and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego."

You know, it's interesting that the ones who were the accusers end up dying. What happened to the people who accused Daniel? Daniel gets out of the lions den; they get fed to the lions. What happens to the Pharaohs soldiers? The Red Sea parts for the Israelites and it drowns the Pharaoh's soldiers. God always proves His miracles. And it tells us that the fire was so hot.

Now, you know, up in our cabin in the hills, one of the things we like to do in the winter is we burn brush. Up there, it's still one of the places in America you don't need an Act of Congress and we use common sense. We just wait until the ground's all wet. And we had a little fire going a couple of weeks ago during Christmas. We were burning a small pile, but we've burnt some piles up there. And you know, it doesn't matter how much it rains. If you get a good fire going up there, it'll burn. You can throw just total wet stuff in there and it burns it. And I've got heavy equipment, so when I start a brush fire, I don't fool around. I get a bulldozer and I pile all this slash and these logs up, and it's bigger than a house. And it's really fun to burn it. And the people 10 miles away in the town of Covelo at night, they see the hills glowing up by the Batchelors' place. But we're not the only ones, don't worry about it. Other people do that.

And but we've had some fires going where I underestimated how big and hot it was, and I'd pick up this wet log, and I knew it's so heavy. And to get it burnt, you can't throw it by the fire, you've got to get in the fire. So I'd get a running start and I run up this big ol' raging, pulsating brush fire, and I threw this wet log in, and I realized as I got up there, I got too close because it actually burnt the eyebrows. It singed my eyebrows and I got, like, you know, second degree burns on my--it looked like I'd been in a solar booth. And little sparks rained down on my beanie and singed holes in the nylon on my beanie. And I thought, "Boy, if I had gone 6 inches closer, it would've blistered me."

Nebuchadnezzar told them to heat the furnace seven times hotter. Now, I'm sure they didn't have some accurate measuring devices. Just letting us know that it was seven times hotter than it was designed to be heated to melt gold. And that thing is making noise, and the light inside has got a blue light, and it's pulsating, and you can feel the convection is sucking. Everything's coming in the door and going out the chimney. It's roaring. And he's in a fury. He says--his commandment is so hasty. He doesn't even undress them to try and save their clothes, you know? At least Jesus, they undressed Him and gambled for His clothing. They're tied up in all their fine garments. And they get two soldiers on each side and they run towards the mouth, and they heave 'em up in there, and, poosh, they're burned.

Now, if I was the second group throwing in Meshach, I would've said to the king, "You know, can we get another volunteer for this job?" He says, "You better get him all the way in there." Second group runs up with Meshach and they hurl him off in there, and they fall down screaming and writhing, and they die. If I was that third group throwing in Abednego, I'd see if I could appeal to the king and say, "You know, can't we catapult them in there? Do I have to throw him in?" All the soldiers, must have been at least six, that threw them in died. The fire was so hot. So if anyone says, "Oh, the hot fire just wasn't hot. You know, there's Fijians that walk on fire. It wasn't anything," Uh-uh. It was a first class miracle. They were all burned. "Then Nebuchadnezzar was astonished," verse 24. Oh, someone's going to read for me. Yeah, go ahead, read that verse, Isaiah 43 for me.

Male: Isaiah 43, verses 2 and 3, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."

Doug Batchelor: Amen. Now, who lived first: Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, or Isaiah? Isaiah. So could they read the promise of Isaiah? Yeah, Daniel read the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, no question. They read that promise we just read. "When you go through the fire, I will be with you." Did Jesus keep His promise? Nebuchadnezzar gets up astonished and he says in haste, "Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?" They said to the king, "It's true, O king, look." He said, "I see four men loose walking in the midst of the fire and they're not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God."

If you go through trials, who goes with you? Does Jesus come to you when you go through fiery trials? Yeah, Jesus was with them. How did Nebuchadnezzar know who that was? You know, you read in "Prophets and Kings," page 508, "The Lord did not forget His own. As His witnesses were cast into the furnace, the Savior revealed Himself to them in the person, and together-- in person, and together they walked in the midst of the fire. In the presence of the Lord of heat and cold, the flames lost their power to consume."

You know what the Bible says? If you are walking with the Lord now, you will be able to endure the brightness of His coming. What's going to happen to the wicked when Jesus comes? They are destroyed with the brightness of His coming. Look in Isaiah 33:14, "Who among us will dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us will dwell with everlasting burnings? He who walks righteously, who speaks uprightly, who despises gain and oppressions, who gestures with His hands refusing brides, who stops His ears from hearing of bloodshed, and shuts His eyes from seeing evil?" Those are the ones who will be able to abide the fire of His second coming.

Bible says, 2 Peter 3, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in which the Heavens will pass away with a great noise. The elements will melt with fervent heat. The earth and the works that are therein will be burned up." You and I need to have lives now where we can walk in the furnace with Christ. So Nebuchadnezzar, he says, "Didn't we--" He calls his advisers, "Just want to double check, how many did we throw in?" "Three." "Well, that's what I thought, but I see four, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." How did he know what the Son of God was like? Because he had spent time with Daniel. He knew about the Jewish Messiah. He knew that God would come to the Earth. Nebuchadnezzar knew. This is a wonderful testimony.

Then the king, he issues a decree. He has a decree to throw them in. Now he has a decree bring them out and he calls them forth from the fire. He says, "Oh, Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego, come forth, servants of the Living God. Come forth." And they come out and the Bible says that their hair was not singed. The only thing burnt was the ropes that bound them.

Sometimes God allows us to go through the fire so that the shackles might burn, so to speak. We're liberated. They were liberated by the fiery trial they went through. And then Nebuchadnezzar says in Daniel 3, verse 28, he spoke saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who sent His angel and delivered His servants, who trusted in Him. And they have frustrated the king's word and yielded their bodies that they should not worship." This is something we're all invited to do. "Yielded their bodies that they should not worship any god except their own God. Therefore, I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, he will be cut in pieces and their houses will be made a heap, a dunghill, because there is no other god that can deliver like this."

This is incredible. He starts with a threat that you must worship his god, but at the end of the story, because they stand up for God, a witness ends up going to the world because of their fortitude. You know, I heard a pastor say one time, because of the faithfulness of those three Hebrews, God accomplished that day on the Plain of Dura what he had been trying to do through the Hebrew nation their entire history. During the entire history of the nation of Israel, God had been trying to get the Israelites to stand up for Him, stand up for His law, live a holy life so He might witness to the other nations through them. But He was able to accomplish it with those three Hebrews while they were in captivity what He had failed to do when Israel was free.

All of the who's who of those nations that had come from everywhere to inaugurate his idol, that day nobody-- that poor idol. Nobody was paying attention to that idol at the end of the day. No one was even looking at the idol. They were looking at the three Hebrews that had stood up for their God and saying, "What manner of man are these?" The smoke did not even--there wasn't even the lingering scent of smoke. There wasn't one little ash-burn on their clothing. They were impervious to the fire because they had put the commandments of God ahead of the commandments of men.

Will God protect us through the fiery trials of the last days? Yeah, He says, "Though you go through the fire, I will go with you." How were they prepared for doing that? Through faithfulness in little things. In chapter 1, you can see they care about things like diet. In chapter 6, you see they had a devotional life. Daniel prayed three times a day. Not just Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They knew the Lord. They worshiped God. It's because they worship God all the time, they weren't going to worship an idol. They said, "We don't need a second chance." Are we going to face the same test in the last days?

You know, because of their faithfulness, all the world, those world leaders, went away from that experience. You think they were talking about Nebuchadnezzar's golden image? His golden image never is mentioned again. Never appears in history. Probably had the thing dismantled as a titanic failure. But the God of Daniel, and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, He's been immortalized in Scripture because they stood up for God.

Friends, I pray that we'll be faithful in the little things all the time and so we can stand in the last days. Soon we're going to have the fury of the dragon, just like Nebuchadnezzar was enraged. And who is he enraged with? The people who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus. Are you resolved to stand up for the law of God no matter what? Be faithful even in the little things and you'll be faithful in much.

Well, we are out of time. And I want to remind you about our free offer, and that offer is a special study guide, "Amazing Facts" study guide, "Saved from Certain Death." Goes well with our lesson today. If you call the number, ask for offer number 109. You can call, it's free 1-866-788-3966. That's 1-866-788-3966. Or you can download this. If you want to download it, go right now and text "SH060." Text that to 40544. You can read that lesson today. God bless you, friends. We'll study His Word together again next week.

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Doug: Have you ever worried that you don't have enough time in your days, or you could add another day to your life? Well, perhaps there is a way for you to add a whole 'nother day to your existence. Watch how easy it is. I just stepped into yesterday. No, I'm not talking about going back to the future or back in history. I happen to be standing here in Taveuni, Fiji, one of the only places in the world where the International Meridian Dateline runs through a piece of land.

People have not always been able to play with time this way. Back in 1878, Sir Sanford Fleming, a Canadian, he recommended to the science community of the world that the globe be divided in 24 even segments, each separated by 15 degrees of longitude that would establish the international time system. In 1884, there was a Prime Meridian Conference held in Washington D.C. to standardize time and select the point for the Prime Meridian, which would be 0 degrees on the globe. It ended up being Greenwich, England, but that's not where we are. We are on the polar opposite side of the planet right now, but we're going to step into the future. You want to come? And look at that. The Lord is still with us, even here. He'll continue to take care of you, friends, wherever you go.

Friends, do you sometimes worry about the future? What will you eat? Will you have a home? Are you going to still have your job? What will you wear? Jesus tells us in Matthew chapter 6, verse 25 through 34, "Don't take thought for tomorrow, for tomorrow will take thought for the things of itself." He tells us that he feeds the birds and he clothes the flowers. He'll take care of us. We know that God will watch over us. He forgives the past, he promises to be with us in the present, and he will continue to lead us in the future, but you've just got to give yourself to him. I invite you to do that right now.

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