Decoding Daniel - an in depth Bible study of the book of Daniel

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Daniel 3

Outline and Background

The Creation - Daniel 3:1

The Ceremony and the Command - Daniel 3:2-7

The Conspiracy and the Coercion - Daniel 3:8-15

The Courage - Daniel 3:16-18

The Coolness - Daniel 3:19-27

The Confession - Daniel 3:28

The Canon and the Commission - Daniel 3:29-30

Application and Typical Prophecies

The Creation - Daniel 3:1

Many ancient rulers made statues of themselves to symbolize their dominion. The golden image fashioned by King Nebuchadnezzar, however, was not just a statue or image. It was an enormous golden idol—sixty cubits (ninety feet) high and six cubits (nine feet) wide. The Colossus of Rhodes by comparison was seventy feet high.

The image would have looked grotesque, since in normal human proportions, the height is four to five times the width, whereas in this image, the height was ten times the width.

The king’s idea for this idol appears to have come from his dream of dreams. On the other hand, it does have links to Babylonian worship since Marduk was the god of gold. In any case, the idol is definitely meant to represent a god, since people are commanded to worship it.

Overwhelmed by pride, Nebuchadnezzar’s thinking became futile and defiant. He made the image of gold to express what he considered his own power and glory. In doing so, the king rejected the God of heaven, who had bestowed greatness on him (cf. 2:36; Romans 1:21-23).

Nebuchadnezzar realized that the dream forecasted his kingdom would end in a short period. Filled with pride, he rejected the image from his dream, with only a head of gold, and made this one entirely of gold. Perhaps he rationalized, “Why should my great empire end with the head? I will make it gold from head to toes! Babylon will be the everlasting kingdom!”

If the Septuagint’s date (“in his eighteenth year” (586 B.C.)) is correct, the Babylonian army burned both the city and Temple of Daniel’s God to the ground the same year Nebuchadnezzar erected the golden image. From the king’s viewpoint, it turns out that Marduk is stronger and greater than Daniel’s deity is—if his God exists at all! One can understand the king’s rationale, but he is unequivocally wrong!

Behind the scene of every event in Daniel, there is Yahweh! And of course, on the opposite side, there are demons, working in the events to promote the Babylonian religion. Even though man is the maker of the idol, and the religion associated with it, all idolatry is demonic (Isaiah 44:6-20; Revelation 9:20). Ultimately, the worship of any image is the worship of man and demons.

Additionally, the golden image portrays humanism, materialism and religion wrapped up in one package. The image was extremely costly for it was very large. It would not have been solid gold, but overlaid with gold plates (cf. Isaiah 30:22). Set on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon, the golden image would have been a dazzling sight in the sunlight and seen for miles.

Much like Adam, who typifies both fallen man and Christ (cf. Romans 5:12-19), Nebuchadnezzar typifies Jesus Christ—the King of kings—in the previous chapter, and in this chapter, the Antichrist—the man who will attempt to unite the world by force under one religion (Revelation 13). Like Nebuchadnezzar, the Antichrist will set up his image and those who do not worship it will be killed (Revelation 13:15). Jesus calls this image “the ‘abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel” (Matthew 24:15; Daniel 12:11).

Bible Studies by Bob Conway

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Life of the Apostle Paul

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