Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study in the Book of Daniel. Today is study #8 of Daniel, chapter 2, and we are going to read Daniel 2:31-45:
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.
I will stop reading there. I wanted to read the entire dream and its interpretation so we could get a sense of the whole thing. In our last study we looked at verse 31, where it said in Daniel 2:31-33:
Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.
This is the image of the “beast.” That was King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream that had gone from him and now God has revealed the dream to Daniel and his friends and they were also able to provide the interpretation of it. It said, “This image’s head was of fine gold,” and we are told in the interpretation of the dream in verse 38, “Thou are this head of gold.” King Nebuchadnezzar is that “head of gold.” However, spiritually, he represents Satan, so Satan is that “head of gold” and the image is really of Satan. The “head” is that which pictures the devil, the enemy of God.
The word “image” is the same word found in Genesis 1:26-27:
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
This helps us to understand what an “image” is, as man was created in the image of God or in His likeness. We find in Mark, chapter 12 when the Pharisees were attempting to entrap Jesus into saying something they could use against him, it says in Mark 12:13-14:
And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not?
They thought they had the perfect question to trap Jesus, one way or the other. It would not matter what He said. If he said, “Yes, it is lawful,” then they would go to the Jews that despised the Roman authorities and tax collectors and say, “This Jesus supports the Romans.” If Jesus had said, “No, it is not lawful,” then they would have gone to the Romans and accused Jesus of fostering rebellion and encouraging people not to pay taxes. One way or the other, they thought they would have something of which to accuse Him and, yet, the wisdom of God was no match for tiny, feeble man and his little mind. So when they asked Him if they should give or not give, Christ answered in Mark 12:15-17:
… But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
What a perfect answer! Of course, it instructs us today that we are not to dispute and argue when a lawful government requires taxes from us, but that is another matter. We see that the coin had the “image” and superscription of the Caesar of Rome. The coin had his picture on it – it was his likeness. Therefore, one thing we can learn from this is that it indicated that it belonged to him because it was in his image.
Likewise, man was created in the image and likeness of God; we are God’s creatures. He is the Potter and we are the clay. We are vessels that belong to Him. This is one thing that is in view when we see the word “image.” It typically belongs to the one in whose image it possesses.
Also, in the New Testament, it says in Romans 1:21-23:
Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
We see that man in is worldly wisdom become fools and they change the glory of the great incorruptible God into an “image made like to corruptible man,” and of birds, beasts and creeping things. There is a true God and man was made in His image, but in his sinful rebellion against God man develops other gods that are false gods. He carves wood and decks it with silver or gold or he carves a god out of stone or he will make an image of himself, like a Budda. A “budda” is just an image of a man that people worship and call their god. Or, in some cases, man makes an animal like a “golden calf” to worship or they worship some other animal. What a terrible thing it is when we consider that Almighty God creates man, his creature, but the creature perversely looks to some fellow creatures (other men, animals or birds) and makes an image and bows down to it, saying, “This is my god.” It really is an ugly, ugly sin because they are only creatures that were also made by the Creator. This is why it says in Romans 1:25:
Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
This is what man in his fallen condition does; he prefers a lie and he abhors the truth. Therefore, he will not worship the one, true God, even though he was made in the image of God. Instead, he will go to great lengths to develop another “image” to worship, just so he does not have to submit to the God of the Bible. It is so ugly and sad that this is man’s condition, but it is his condition.
It says in Colossians 3:9-10:
Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
This verse is very important as we consider what an “image” is and what the “image of the beast” is, so let us go to the next chapter in Daniel and see where King Nebuchadnezzar makes an image of himself. Daniel had told him, “Thou art this head of gold,” so it was very much on the king’s mind, and it says in Daniel 3:1-6:
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 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, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 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 unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
Historically, Nebuchadnezzar built a golden image that all must worship. In Revelation, chapter 13 we know it speaks of the “image of the beast” and it refers to Satan at the time of his loosing. The image of the beast has everything to do with the Great Tribulation at the time of the end of world and we have already gone through that Great Tribulation. God’s elect have been delivered out of the Great Tribulation period which concluded on May 21, 2011. The image of the beast was set up and the call went forth that all should bow down and worship that image. This has already taken place and, yet, there was no physical image anywhere. In Babylon, historically, there was a physical image and when the music sounded, everyone had to bow down. When Satan was loosed in May 1988 and for that 23-year period, there was no image set up in Jerusalem or New York City or in Tokeo or anywhere in the world – you would not have found a golden image. That is why Colossians, chapter 3 is so important because it helps us understand that the “image” is not a physical image. Let me read it, again, in Colossians 3:10:
And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
When God saved a sinner, the old man is put off and a new man is put on and now this man is “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him,” so the image of God is imputed to this sinner through renewed knowledge; that is, man is dead in sin and spiritually blind and ignorant and knows nothing and even though this man is physically alive as he walks around and talks and acts, it is all contrary to God and the purpose for which he was originally made. His actions and thoughts and words are contrary to that “image” of God. We know that the “image of God” is all the fruits of the spirit (love, goodness, gentleness, and so forth), but man is none of those things. God is absolute and perfect Truth, but man prefers the lie, believes the lie, trusts the lie and lives a lie and, therefore, (unsaved) man is not in the likeness of the image of God. But when God saved a sinner, then he is “renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.” Now he begins to learn and love the truth. He begins to display the fruit of the Spirit and he thinks, acts and speaks more like he was originally created to think, act and speak, in the likeness of God, because he has the Word of God to instruct and teach him. He is growing in grace and the knowledge of God and, more and more, he is becoming in the image of God. At least that is how it should be as God’s Spirit works in him and he will show forth the likeness of God: “Let your light so shine before men.” God is light and the elect of God that have been delivered out of the darkness and translated into that light are now taking on God’s image. It is being seen by others in the world because they are “renewed in knowledge” and they are speaking and doing things that reveal the character and attributes of God in whose image they were created. The unsaved around us see this and they respond in a negative way because they hate the light. They prefer the darkness. They prefer another “image,” whatever it is. It could be the image of another man or another creature – anything but the image of God.
The corporate church professes to have the image of God: “We have the Word of God. We follow the Word of God. We have God’s image.” They were turned over to Satan (in May 1988) and they hold onto their doctrinal lies and their false doctrines and it is not hard to show the erroneous teachings of the world’s churches on practically every point of doctrine. Why are they so prone to error? Why are they so blind when it comes to spiritual things and the things of the Bible, especially today? The answer is because they have had a “makeover.”
You know, sometimes you hear about someone that got a “makeover.” He or she looked a certain way and then a hairstylist gets hold of them and gives them a makeover and now they look like a different person. For the 1,955 years of the church age, the Spirit of God dwelt in the midst of the candlestick or in the midst of the churches and congregations of the world. Therefore, the churches were counted faithful because of that, but once Christ departed out Satan entered in. This took place at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. And who is Satan? What does Jesus tell us about Satan? In John, chapter 8 the Jews were not receiving Christ’s words even though He was telling them the truth. It says in John 8:43-44:
Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Jesus states the truth that Satan is “a liar, and the father of it.” That is a true statement because Satan spoke the first lie: “Ye shall not surely die.” He lied to Eve and to Adam who was with her. Satan conceived a lie and when you conceive something, you become the father of it. Satan spoke the first lie. It was his invention and he is the father of lies.
Just as God has His character and attributes that are all good, so, too, Satan has character and attributes that are all negative and evil. The chief characteristic is that he lies. He goes about as an angel of light, but he is not an angel of light, as it says in 2Corinthians 11:13-15:
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
Satan brings “other gospels,” not the true Gospel. Satan teaches lying doctrines, not true doctrines. This is his nature – he is a liar and the father of it. God the Holy Spirit, who is Truth, left the churches that professed to be in the image of God and, therefore, their image or likeness was to be truth. When we deal in the Gospel and the Word of God, truth is extremely important. The churches professed to have that “image,” but then Satan entered in and took his seat as the man of sin, sitting in the temple and showing himself that he was God. And Satan is a liar and the father of lies, so now the churches belong to him. Just as children appear in the likeness of their father…because remember what it said of Adam, in Genesis 5:3:
And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:
Just as children are in the likeness of their father, Satan (the father of lies) was now ruling within the churches of the world and the churches took on his likeness or “image” and became more and more deceitful and ready to speak a lie to maintain their confessions and creeds. They now love and prefer the “lie.” They see the lie as the truth and they have no love of the truth. That is what took place within the churches and congregations, so when we read of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the “image” and soon the king would make an image of himself, in the next chapter of Daniel. And remember that the historical narrative portion we are reading in the Book of Daniel identifies with the Great Tribulation period. It all fits together in regard to the point of Satan’s loosing and the entire 23 years of the Great Tribulation period. We read of the beast in Revelation 13:12-14:
And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by *the means of* those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
The image to the beast is to be made. Satan wants an image to be made of himself, but how do you make an image of a spirit creature, a fallen angel? The angelic beings are “spirit” and you cannot draw a picture of a spirit because you cannot see it. People try to draw pictures of angels, as they draw a figure of a little child with wings, but it is actually not an image of an angelic being. You cannot make an actual physical image of Satan and the idea the world puts forth of the man with the horn, red cape and pitchfork is ridiculous. Remember, Satan comes “as an angel of light.” He does not come looking as menacing, evil and wicked as possible – he comes with all sweetness and goodness and flattering words and he declares peace. The problem is there is no peace when he declares it, but he declares things people like to hear.
Satan comes with gospels that are “easy.” When you compare Satan’s gospel with God’s Gospel, there is no comparison. With Satan’s gospel, all you have to do is say a couple of words: “I accept you, Lord,” or “I believe in Jesus.” The whole church is ready to rejoice and stand up and clap. “He said he believes! Hallelujah! He is saved.” That is Satan’s gospel of “easy believe-ism” and “instant pudding” salvation for an “instant pudding” generation.
On the other hand, the true Gospel (in the day of salvation) is when God shows the sinner that He is under the wrath of God for sin and he is on the way to destruction. And, yet, God allows the dirty, rotten sinner to beseech Him, “O, Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner.” Then is he saved? No, the true Gospel of the Bible makes no guarantees. You can cry all you want and God may not save you that day. Then on the next day, you can cry out for God to save you and, like blind Bartimaeus, you would cry out the more if someone tried to stop you. You might wait a week. You might wait a month. You might wait thirty years. Again, there was no guarantee that it was God’s will to save you – that always hung over the head of the sinner. Do you see the difference? And what are natural-minded people going to opt for in a gospel? What gospel seems kinder and gentler and better for man? Well, it is the “quick and easy one.” It just seems that in that gospel, God is more loving and, yet, that is Satan’s gospel. That is the deceitful and lying gospel and the father of that gospel is “the father of lies” and it is not the true Gospel of the Bible in any way.
The churches began to take on the image and likeness of Satan through these lies and deceitful dealings with the Word of God and their failure to be good stewards of the mysteries of God as they became more deceitful, with falling over backwards, speaking in tongues, women preachers and homosexual pastors: “Come on in! You can continue drinking. You can continue to do whatever your particular sin is because God loves you. You do not have to change.” Those are lies of Satan and they overcame the camp of the saints and, therefore, the corporate church took on the image of Satan. This does not apply to the true church (all God’s elect) because they have been “renewed in knowledge” and renewed in God’s image, but the corporate church that is now filled with only tares has been made over into the image of Satan, the father of lies. It goes on to say in Revelation 13:14-15:
… saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
This is proof that we are understanding things correctly (spiritually) because this image is not of gold or silver, as King Nebuchadnezzar set up the image of gold. It is not a lifeless image made up of material things. Again, it says, “And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast,” and this means that at the time of the end during the Great Tribulation the image had “life” and had an ability to “speak.” He also had the ability to kill as many as “would not worship the image of the beast.” So it would also have some kind of authority to kill. Now you cannot find a statue anywhere in the world that has “life” and you certainly are not going to find one that is able to “speak” or that has the power and authority to “kill,” and, yet, all those things can apply to a corporate church. In fact, they would say of themselves, “We are a living organism. We are not just a building, but we are a living organism,” and that is because they view themselves as the body of Christ. Of course, today the corporate churches are not the body of Christ. God has ended his relationship with the corporate body that was His church. He has removed Himself from them and He no longer has that relationship with the churches of the world. The churches today are no more the people of God than are the Jews in the synagogue. God ended His relationship with Israel in the 1st century AD and they ceased to be the outward representation of the kingdom of God to the earth. We recognize that.
Likewise, in 1988 God ended His relationship with the New Testament corporate church and they ceased to be His outward representatives to the people of the earth – they are not the people of God. They are not even the body of Christ in an outward representation, but they think they are His people. They are made up of people that still have physical life and they can “speak.” They are now the “image” that has the ability to speak. Every Sunday the pastor or priest climbs into the pulpit and opens up the Bible. Today that may not even be the case in every church because some churches are “so far out there.” But they open up the Bible and they “speak” to the congregation. What are they speaking? They are either implying or directly stating that coming to their church is a vehicle to transport the members of the congregation into God’s holy heaven. That is Lie Number One. Some churches give altar calls. That is Lie Number Two. The whole idea of singing and worshipping God there is a lie because God is no longer there. Who has taken his seat there? It is Satan, the man of sin. God the Holy Spirit came out of the midst and you cannot worship God if He is not present there. Everything they say and everything they do is a lie today and, therefore, they are showing forth that they have been made into the “image of the beast” because Satan is a liar and the father of it.
Back in Revelation 13, verse 15, it says the image of the beast would “cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.” This relates to what it says in John 16:1-2:
These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.
Here, God equates being “put out of the synagogue” with being “killed.” Spiritually, it is the equivalent. So when the image of the beast has been set up (at the beginning of the Great Tribulation and throughout that period), the character of the churches began to turn as they fell away into great apostasy. To be “apostate” means to fall away. They began to reflect the “image” of the one that was ruling in their midst, so the tongues movement took off like wildfire and began to spread across the church world, to the point that there are an estimated 500 million people that have charismatic leanings today – that would be about one in four professed Christians. That is how prevalent that one particular “lie” is today. The churches took on the image of the beast and in congregation, after congregation, there were still some of God’s elect early on in the Great Tribulation period. There was still a remnant of God’s people in the church world, but as the churches were becoming made over into the image of Satan and put forth their lying doctrines, the command went forth, as it were, to “bow the knee.” Submit to it. “What does it matter? It is just a head covering. Even if you do not agree with us, just put it on to please the elders.” (We actually heard that in one church. I will not name the denomination.) Again, and again, God’s true people became troubled. They were encountering “other gospels” left and right and this false doctrine and that false doctrine in church after church as people wandered the land to look for a faithful congregation. They would go to this church on one Sunday and there would be something else. In some cases, they were told to either “bend the knee” to a doctrine or they were told, “Perhaps you would be happier going to another congregation.” In other words, they were being driven out. But some stayed and they accepted that the pastor was divorced. They accepted the elder or deacon that was a single man or maybe there was a woman pastor. They began to compromise on things – maybe on just a little point, at first.
I think one of the most accurate descriptions of compromise when it comes to the Bible is “the edge of the wedge.” Satan just inserts a little bit of “the edge of his wedge” of his lie into the crack of your soul. “Just allow me entry on this one little point.” It does not matter what point it was – from Genesis to Revelation – as long as you are willing to accept a little lie. If you were willing to compromise on that, it was the “edge of the wedge” and then the hammer blow would eventually come to split the wood. If you compromise on the least point, you can believe that there will be more coming and more opportunities to compromise; there will be greater pressure applied on other points. Soon you think, “Well, you gave in on that one little point, so you may as well give in on this point, too.” All of a sudden, you become the “professed Christian,” and you have become dumb and numb to all the lies being taught. Of course, that would not apply to God’s people because God, in His wisdom, commanded His people to come out of the congregations at the time the “image of the beast” was being set up, but even outside of the churches there was testing for the people of God, as we saw in Daniel, chapter 1.
Let me just finish reading Revelation 13:16-17:
And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
This is speaking of what happened in the churches. “Buying and selling” has to do with the purveyors of the Gospel. Finally, 100% of the churches were given over to Satan and they became that “image of the beast” and no “true man” was able to function in the corporate churches of the world, so God had His people bring the final Gospel call and the declaration of Judgment Day as May 21, 2011 outside of the churches, away from the “image of the beast.”