Home > Bible Study, Devotional, Prophecy > Nebuchadnezzar and the Fiery Furnace

Nebuchadnezzar and the Fiery Furnace

Daniel 3
December 1, 2009

(To listen, go to: http://www.billholdridge.com/Daniel/Daniel 3.mp3)



  • We are left with the impression that Neb is going to become a believer very soon… Daniel’s witness to him and his reaction

1.  God is God in heaven (2:28,44)

Daniel 2:28 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these:

Daniel 2:44 “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

2. He reveals secrets (2:28,29)

Daniel 2:28-29 “But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: {29} As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be.”

-which none of the kings occultists or new agers could reveal to Neb

3. He reveals the future (2:28,29)

4. God is the One who gave Neb his kingdom, power, strength, and glory (2:37,38)

Daniel 2:37-38 “You, O king, are a king of kings. For the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory; {38} and wherever the children of men dwell, or the beasts of the field and the birds of the heaven, He has given them into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all; you are this head of gold.”

5. Neb confessed that God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and the revealer of secrets (2:47)

Daniel 2:47 The king answered Daniel, and said, “Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret.”

  • UNFORTUNATELY, chapter three opens with him departing from what he had learned of Yahweh…

Nebuchadnezzar’s Golden Image and Mandated Worship (3:1-7)

  • Neb was the head of gold; the chest and arms of silver would be the Medo-Persian empire; the belly and thighs of bronze would be the Grecian empire; the legs of iron would be the Roman empire; the feet of iron and clay will be a future world ruling empire under antichrist — the revived Roman empire made up of 10 nations or kingdoms; the stone cut out of the mountain without human hands that struck the image on its feet will be the promised the kingdom of God under Messiah Jesus, who will overcome the empire led by antichrist.
  • Neb didn’t like the fact that his head would be replaced by other kingdoms, so he made this solid image of gold … in God’s face!
  • We are not told how long the interval was between chapters two and three—it was years, not days or months… how many we do not know

NOTE: we do know that they usually gave their gods credit for their military victories… the strong god was the one that gave victory in battle

  • History shows us that Nebuchadnezzar was a worshiper of Marduk, the Babylonian god of war

-THEREFORE, it’s possible that Neb set up this image after a great military victory, in part at least to worship Marduk!

  • By making this image of solid gold, 60 cubits by 6 cubits, Nebuchadnezzar was rebelling against God! He is doing exactly what Romans 1:18 says of Adamic humanity.

-Neb was insisting that … not only was he the head, but he was also the entire kingdom! “No one will conquer me,” he thought. No “God” will crush my great kingdom! I am the all-sufficient one, the ever-enduring one.

NOTE: he fell for the age old lie of Genesis 3:5 “For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Accusation and Persecution of the Jews (3:8-12)

  • Remember this group?

-they were the rank and file… Neb found Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah 10x better than them

-they could not interpret Neb’s dream… some of them were killed

-therefore, they were exposed as fakers and charlatans before the king, while Daniel and his companions were promoted

-it’s highly likely that this accusation arose from motives of envy and revenge

Nebuchadnezzar’s Threats of Retaliation (3:13-15)

  • An opportunity to change their minds… (v. 15)

e.g. Roman Empire under Decius (249-51)… Caesar worship made universal … a certain day in the year every citizen had to burn a pinch of incense and say, “Caesar is Lord.” Then, they were given a certificate guaranteeing that they’d done it… the Christian’s refusal to do this caused them to be regarded as political revolutionaries (Church History in Plain Language, pp. 59-60)

-but they did not love their lives unto death (Revelation 12:11)

An Awesome Example of Trusting Obedience to God (3:16-18)

  • In either case … “Dear king, WE WON’T BOW!”

-it is impossible to defeat this kind of commitment!

-they had already decided Whom they would serve (the key to standing strong)

The Wrath of Nebuchnezzar and God’s Supernatural Deliverance (3:19-27)

  • A fiery trial (read the scriptures together)

1 Peter 4:12-19 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

  • The Hebrew men were free!

-Neb saw them loose- they had liberty, even though they were in the fire!

NOTE: it’s better to be in the fire and be free that to compromise, avoid the fire, and be in bondage

  • A miracle! (a Theophany)

Isaiah 43:1-2 But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine. 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.”

Romans 8:35, 37-39 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

NOTE: we’re guaranteed the presence of God, whether we die or are delivered!

Nebuchadnezzar’s New Law Regarding the Worship of God (3:28-30)

  • A Religious Freedom Amendment

-brought to pass because of their commitment and the obvious miracle of God

NOTE: this kind of commitment commands respect

  • All of this occurred…
  1. To show Neb who God is
  2. The LORD wanted to show Neb who he wasn’t (v. 15c)
  3. To show Israel who God is
  4. To provide an environment of blessing for God’s people in Babylon
  5. To show us who God is


…Are you willing to “go it alone”?

-consider Martin Luther (1483-1546) — he spoke out against indulgences (used to build St. Peter’s Church in Rome), against the Roman sacraments, against justification by works)

“Answer now to the emperor’s demand. Wilt thou maintain all thy books which thou hast acknowledged, or revoke any part of them, and submit thyself?”

“My conscience is so bound and captivated in these Scriptures and the Word of God, that I will not, nor may not revoke any manner of thing; considering it is not godly or lawful to do anything against conscience. Hereupon I stand and rest: I have not what else to say. God have mercy upon me!”

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear…

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