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Government by whim

(dictatorship)


Chapter 3 Nearly 23 years later in 580BC

A rebel image

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold Note 1, whose height was A statue on a pedestalthreescore [sixty] cubits, and the breadth of it six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Note 2

A royal summons

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 [from all over the world], to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 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 to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up;

and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up [ready to worship it].

 

A death penalty Note 3

4 Then a herald cried aloud,

"To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, 5 that at what [ever] time you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, you fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up: 6 And whoever falls not down and worships shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace." Note 6

The world bowed

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. Note 4

The accusers came

8 At that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. 9 They spoke and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar,

"O king, live for ever. 10 You, O king, have 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: 11 And whoever falls not down and worships, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Note 5 ................. Return to notes Matthew 24

There were three exceptions

12 "There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego;

these men, O king, have not regarded you: they serve not your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up."

A second chance

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke and said to them,

"Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not you serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? 15 Now if you be ready that at whatever time you hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, [and] you fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if you worship not, you shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; Note 7

and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?" Note 8

The real law obeyed

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king,

"O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful [or worried] to answer you in this matter. 17 If it be so [if it happens], our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not [if you change your mind], be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor worship the golden image which you have set up [whatever you do]." They had prayed and been given the promise of Isaiah 43:1-4 and were resting in faith. Note 9 ........ Note 10

[Back to Notes for The Revelation chapter 13]

 

A hasty revenge

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage [face] was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spoke, and commanded that they should heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 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. Note 11

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen [stockings], 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 the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. The deaths of the guards shows that it was no sham fire.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Note 12

A Friend revealed Himself

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied [astonished],and rose up in haste, and spoke, and said to his counsellors, "Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?"

They answered and said to the king, "True, O king."

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." Note 13

A lawful command is always obeyed

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spoke, and said, "Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, you servants of the most high God, come forth, and come here." Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire. Note 14

God’s complete protection

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 a hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. But the ropes were burned off. Note 15

[Return to Notes for the Revelation chapter 16]

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spoke, and said,

"Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, who has sent His Angel, and delivered His servants that trusted in Him, and [who] have changed the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God". Note 16

But God never compels

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." Another unjust law. He had no authority in true religion. Note 17

The result of trust

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

oooOooo

On to Chapter Four


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