Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study. Today is study #3 of Daniel, chapter 3, and we are going to read Daniel 3:4-13:
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. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up. Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
I will stop reading there. In our last study we saw that musical instruments are mentioned four different times. It told us of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer. There were six musical instruments and we saw that in three of the verses six musical instruments are listed, but the fourth time these instruments are mentioned only five are listed. We also saw that it results in a total of “23,” if you count them out.
You know some people do not like the idea of looking in the Bible and seeing meaning in numbers. We are not assigning the meanings, but God does so as He uses numbers a certain way, like the number “40,” for example. When Christ was tempted of the devil in the wilderness, we see a “definition” forming for the number “40,” as it identifies with testing and judgment. Likewise, the way God uses the number “10” in the Bible, whether it is “10” or “100” or “1,000,” we see that the addition of “zeros” does not change the spiritual meaning, and multiples of “10” indicate “completeness. For example, there were “10” virgins or “100” sheep or the cattle upon “1,000” hills or Satan being bound for “1,000” years. As we look at the Scriptures we see a consistent meaning of certain numbers in the Scriptures.
Likewise, the number “23” identifies with judgment, especially with the judgment during the Great Tribulation on the corporate church. We see that with the 2,300 evening mornings in the Book of Daniel and we see it with the 23 kings of Israel and judgment then coming upon them and the 23 kings of Judah and judgment then coming upon them. There are many other times when the number “23” appears and it consistently points to judgment upon God’s own rebellious people.
The historical setting for the Book of Daniel is the judgment upon Judah, a rebellious people and, therefore, it identifies with the Great Tribulation which the Biblical calendar of history locks in as a 23-year period, and it was the time of judgment on the corporate New Testament church. So we see that it is not going too far to count the number of times the musical instruments are mentioned, especially when God “fails” to mention one of the musical instruments in once instance, giving us the total number of “23.” It reminds us of the historical judgment upon a rebellious people of God, Israel, in the wilderness when we read this in Numbers 25:9:
And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand.
Then when God makes reference to that same judgment in the New Testament, He says in 1Corinthians 10:7-8:
Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Here, we have a very similar situation as we see in Daniel, as far as the numbers are concerned. In Daniel 3, verse 5 we read of six musical instruments; we read of six in verse 10; we read of six in verse 15. However, in verse 7 only five instruments were listed. Why not list six, once again? In addition, why did God list them so many different times when one time would have been sufficient? Why list them four times? And if He was going to list them four times, why not list them completely all four times? Of course, the answer is that God wanted to emphasize the number “23” and that is exactly why He notes that “23,000” died in the plague.
You know, there are many critics of the Bible and they jump on an apparent contradiction or discrepancy. They would say, “The Book of Numbers tells us that 24,000 people died and 1Corinthians tells us that 23,000 died. Do you not see that the Bible is full of mistakes? How can you trust the Bible and how can you say the Bible is perfect?” Man desperately wants to bring down the Bible and discredit it and they go over the Bible with a “fine-toothed comb.” That is an expression, but it is very accurate when it comes to the way unsaved mankind has searched the Bible only for the purpose of finding error or mistakes. Then they can make their accusations and charges and prove to themselves that it is not the Word of God. That is the nature of the world and the nature of all the books in the world, for that matter. Worldly books have errors. So if people can find even a single mistake in the Bible, they can “lower” the Holy Bible to the same level as all the writings of mankind in the world. That is why they look at it. They do not want the Bible to be from God because the Bible tells them things they despise, like the fact that they have been created and they are subject to their Creator and the Creator has authority over them that obligates them to obey Him. They know they fail to do so and, therefore, they are under His wrath and they do not want to acknowledge this, so they must bring down the Bible.
So after centuries and centuries of so many people looking critically at the Bible to find the slightest fault, they fail to do so. Oh, yes, they claim they have found mistakes, but one thing is absolutely sure: when a person says, “I found an error in the Bible,” the error is with the reader of the Bible in every case, and it is not a fault in the Bible itself because the Bible is, indeed, a Holy Bible. It is perfect and inerrant. There is no mistake in the original Hebrew and Greek and it is truly the most glorious writing mankind has ever encountered and man cannot actually find anything wrong with it. Again, when mankind thinks he has found an “error” in the Bible, it is always an error within that man. It is the error of reading the Bible superficially, casually and lazily. It is the error of the individual because he did not “dig” into the Scriptures and search it out.
In the case of the “23,000,” it says, again, in 1Corinthians 10:8:
Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.
Notice that this account notes that 23,000 fell in “one day.” This means that in one day “23,000” died. Then that day passed and then on the second day more people died as a result of that plague, but they died on a different day. So, God can rightly and properly say that 24,000 people died in the plague and He can also say that in one day 23,000 people died. That is also a correct statement. Do you see how God wrote the Bible to entrap the natural-minded people that are proud and arrogant and do not want to submit to God? They are fault finders, critics and judges of the Word of God. Believe me, there are plenty of people out there that will go on and on in judging the God of the Bible and judging the fact that God has commanded cities to be destroyed and entire populations of cities to be killed. Or, they criticize the fact that He brought judgment on the world with the flood. They dare to criticize God as if they are the judges, even though they are puny, finite men. They have it all backwards. Man is not the judge of God. Man is not the judge of the Word of God. The Bible tells us in John 12:48:
He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
The Word of God, the Bible, is the judge of mankind and mankind is not the judge of the Bible. People in the churches today are completely overrun with natural-minded individuals. The “tares” are the inhabitants of the world’s churches because they are also people of the world. It is rather like the Samaritans of old when Israel was conquered and the King of Assyria took people of other lands and place them in Samaria. Likewise, when Satan conquered the churches he had people of the world that had infiltrated the churches and now there is no difference, really, between the churches and the world, so the churches today have “one eye on the Bible” and “one eye on the world” and they want to please both, but you cannot serve two masters. The churches give a lot of credence to the people of the world outside the churches because they are alike now and they spend a lot of time considering the critiques of the world.
However, God is not interested in man’s judgment against Him and His Word. God is the Judge. The Bible is the judge of man. This is just another aspect of the pride of man when he lifts himself up above the Bible and he thinks he is the one that can analyze and inspect the Word of God from beginning to end. His chest is puffed out above the Bible and he is saying, “Oh, look what the God of the Bible did here. Look at what this God of the Bible did there.” They try to paint God as an evildoer and someone who has done wrong when God is upholding His own Law: “For the wages of sin is death.” The Bible tells us, “There is none righteous, no, not one.” Therefore, at any point in time if God desired to take someone in death, He was justified. When God decided to take all the people of Sodom and Gomorrah and all the people of the plain in death, He was justified. When God decided to take all the people in death in Jericho, except for Rahab the harlot and her family, He was justified. Or, when God commanded the Israelites to slay all the inhabitants of a given city and the Israelites became His instruments to execute the wrath of God and God did so rightfully and legally because He is the just God. His Law was broken and the penalty had been stipulated: “For the wages of sin is death.” There is no wrong doing. God is the just and most High God.
How dare mankind judge God? Man’s rebellion knows no bounds. A dirty, rotten filthy sinner with a desperately wicked heart that is transgressing in thought, word and deed is judging God? Mankind, who has no ability to live in a holy and righteous manner for a single day, turns around and dares to approach the Holy Law of God, the Bible, and cast aspersions and judgments and make accusations and charges against Holy God and His Holy Word. He tries to bring God and His Word down to the gutter with him and become the judge. That is completely what you would expect from a criminal that has been condemned and sitting on death row complaining about the judge that sentenced him while he awaits the death sentence. That is what man’s criticism of the Bible amounts to and man is no more than a condemned criminal speaking evil of the good and just Law and the good and just Judge. It is not objective criticism. It is not honest criticism, but it is the criticism of one that has “an ax to grind,” to use an expression, and he cannot be honest in his judgment against the judge and against the law because he is a condemned criminal. When people try to condemn God and His Word they are very prejudiced and they are not doing so in honesty.
Let us go back to back to Daniel 3 where we were talking about the musical instruments, as it said in Daniel 3:5:
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:
The musical instruments are associated with falling down and worshipping. It is at the time you hear them that is you receive the signal to fall down and to worship. Of course, falling down and worshipping is a religious activity, but, so too, are musical instruments – they are identified with worship activity. It says in 2Chronicles 5:13:
It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking JEHOVAH; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of musick, and praised JEHOVAH, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of JEHOVAH;
Music is very central to worship. We know that. That is why the churches throughout history have involved the congregation not only in reading the Bible and prayer, but they worshipped God in song and through the playing of musical instruments like the organ, piano or other instruments. The singing of hymns was part of worship during the gathering of believers.
The word “musick” is Strong’s #2170 and it is related to the word “praise,” which is Strong’s #2167, so they are very closely connected. It is one of the reasons why when God was blessing Family Radio in the time leading up to May 21, 2011 it was such a wonderful place for the child of God to go. They could hear the Bible read and they could hear faithful teaching from Mr. Camping and they could hear God praised through faithful music. Of course, the music of God is like the Word of God. It is a particular music. You cannot play just any music and you cannot sing just any song, just like you cannot teach just any doctrine and call it God glorifying. God’s doctrine is very specific and definite and it is proven by the Bible itself as God is the one that gives us doctrine and the proper methodology for obtaining right doctrine. There is much wrong doctrine, even though it may use Biblical terminology and words. Wrong doctrine can speak of Christ and of praising God and, yet, be of Satan because it is a lie and deceitful. Likewise, there is right music and right lyrics or words that glorify God and His kingdom and there is much that is wrong music and does not glorify or praise God. They may use words from the Bible and they may speak of Christ and God and other things found in Scriptures and, yet, it has to be very carefully done. There is a proper way of coming to right doctrine and there is a proper way of developing a hymn or Psalm or song that is in accord with the Bible and the kingdom of God.
Satan can attack through music as well as doctrine. Music is to praise God and we can have a wonderful, faithful hymn that shows honor and revers God and His Word or we can have music that may have right words, but the music or the beat is “of the world.” They are trying to fuse the two, but the Bible says, “No man can serve two masters,” and, once again, the churches have their eyes on the world and they desire the things of the world. They want the world, but they do not want to give up the idea of going to heaven and eternal life – that is nice to have, too. So they merge the two. They merge the two with doctrine and they have certainly merged the two with their music: “Let us take on rock music or rap music or even heavy metal music.” It is so ridiculous. They take all the things that the world loves and then they say, “Let us just put some Bible lyrics to worldly music and praise God.” That is not praising God. God is not praised when there is a “divided heart.” God is not glorified and honored in this way because He is God and He demands that He alone be worshipped, and no other. Certainly, there ought not to be things of the world and things of Satan brought into the worship of God and music ought to be exclusively that which honors, glorifies, praises and worships God. It is the music of the kingdom of heaven and it has nothing to do with the music of the world.
Especially today, the churches have blurred all lines between themselves and the world. The people of God want to make that distinction and we do not want anything to do with their kind of music. Is God being worshipped when there is a song playing on the radio and He is not mentioned and the music makes us want to move our bodies? Our feet are tapping and our arms are moving and it is all very attractive to “the flesh,” or our physical bodies, but our bodies are unsaved. We do not have a resurrected spiritual body. We still have a physical body that lusts after sin and that is why our bodies still enjoy worldly music. When we listen to the music of the kingdom of heaven, it is very likely that our bodies are not all that “pumped up about it,” to use an expression. Our bodies are not that excited about it because it is music that brings on the mindset of worship and concentrating on God and while it is soothing to the soul the “flesh” wants nothing to do with that. However, the child of God brings the body under subjection. We do not listen to what our bodies want, but we subject our bodies to the things the soul of the child of God desires and the two are contrary to one another. Again, the merging of the two attempted by the churches is to satisfy both the spirit and the flesh, but the true child of God does not attempt to satisfy the lusts of the flesh. We do not want to please our bodies, but we want to put them “to death” and to mortify our members and there is no way we can mortify our members if we are feeding our bodies through fleshly appetite for the things of the world, like the world’s music.
Here, in Daniel 3, the musical instruments are mentioned 23 times which identifies with the time of the Great Tribulation. When they heard the sound of the musical instruments, they were to fall down and worship the golden image. The golden image was of King Nebuchadnezzar and he was a type and picture of Satan. The whole historical event points to the time when Satan was loosed after being bound for a figurative 1,000 years, which was actually the 1,955 years of the church age. In May 1988 God turned the rebellious corporate church over into his hands. God gave them up and the Holy Spirit came out of the midst and Satan took his seat in the temple. It says in the proverb against the King of Babylon, in Isaiah 14:12-15:
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
Satan’s longtime desire from the very beginning in the Garden of Eden when he deceived Adam and Eve was to be like God. When Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden tree they served Satan through their belief of the lie instead of serving God through belief of the truth. Satan became the ruler of mankind and the world, but God had a plan and He established Israel, his people, in the midst of the world. God had a program of times and seasons and later God established the corporate New Testament church in the midst of the world during the period of Satan’s binding. The churches operated with the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ in their midst. Satan came against the churches and persecuted it and he sowed tares within it, overcoming individual denominations and individual churches on occasion, but he could not overcome the entire corporate body and the churches were a light that shined in the darkness during the church age. Then God came and brought judgment against the churches by taking away the “light” or the “candlestick,” representing Christ Himself. Satan then entered in at the time of his loosing and he took his seat in the temple and he sat upon the mount of the congregation, as it says of Satan in 2Thessalonians 2:4:
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
He took his seat or ruled in the congregations of the world, just as he had ruled in the world and he brought in his darkness with him. Wherever there is darkness you will find Satan. He brought that darkness into the corporate churches and from that point on when people went to church on Sundays, God was not there when they were worshipping there. Who was there? Satan was there. The image of the beast had been set up. The corporate church became that image that had “life” and the ability to “speak.” There he received worship in all the churches of the world and oftentimes they would begin their services with a hymn and the music played and that was the signal to worship. From that point in May 1988 and throughout the entire 23 years of the Great Tribulation, it was Satan who was being worshipped as God. This is what the Bible tells us in Revelation 13, a chapter where the beast comes up out of the sea, which identifies with the loosing of Satan from the bottomless pit. It says in Revelation 13:7-8:
And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
The saints were identified with the churches and the churches were overcome. All that dwelt on the earth that were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life are those that were not predestinated to salvation because they were not God’s elect. They never could become saved and their sins remained upon them and, therefore, they worshipped the beast. There is no way they could not have worshipped the beast because they were not God’s chosen people. Notice that it says, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book,” and it does not say that those whose names are written in the book will not worship him, but it only refers to those that are not written in the book. And that is exactly what we see in the Book of Daniel when all the provinces, the leaders and the sheriffs and the governors are all brought to the unveiling ceremony of the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. All were commanded to worship the image and all did so, except for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three young men refused to fall down and worship and that is because they are God’s people and their names were recorded in the Lamb’s Book of Life. The call to worship had no impact upon them and they would not bow the knee to the image. This is very upsetting to the king of Babylon. It is very disturbing to him. When the report is made and the Chaldeans accused and reported that these three men heard the music, but refused to fall down and worship. It says in Daniel 3:12:
There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
This was a grievous report for the king to hear. How can anyone in his kingdom and under his rule dare to refuse to worship the image, especially since it was made so clear that refusal to do so would result in being thrown into a burning, fiery furnace? Just think about that “string of words” used in regard to the punishment: 1) burning; 2) fiery; and 3) furnace. It was very clear that you would be burned up and destroyed. It would be a horrible death and, certainly, they knew that this evil and ruthless King Nebuchadnezzar would do just that. There was no doubt about it. King Nebuchadnezzar was a fierce king and people were afraid of him. He would tell people he would cut people in pieces, but that would not be the end of it. He would also take their houses and make them a dunghill. That is how cruel he was and he was not someone that would be denied or refused. He was extremely proud and very quick to execute someone if he was not pleased with them, so it says in Daniel 3:13:
Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.
It speaks of his rage and fury. Somewhere nearby there was a burning, fiery furnace. Was there any doubt what he would do? Was there any question at all? No, everyone understood and, yet, despite this fierce king and the threat of a horrible death, there were three young men who refused to bow down and worship the image. They refused to obey King Nebuchadnezzar and he was furious. He was in a rage. Remember that Nebuchadnezzar is a type and figure of Satan. Satan had been loosed and he had entered in to the churches and congregations. He had taken his seat in the temple, shewing himself that he was god and he wanted to be worshipped as God. And, like God, he had pronounced a judgment upon anyone that would not fall down and worship and the judgment was to be destroyed in a burning, fiery furnace. Does that sound like the God of the Bible and the things we read in the Bible about those people that disobey the Law of God? It is through obedience to the Law of God that one falls down and worships Him and if someone fails to worship God by keeping His Law perfectly, the Law of God decrees that this person will die. The Bible speaks of being “burned up” and the Bible speaks of a furnace. It says in Matthew 13:41-42:
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
This is the righteous judgment of God to cast sinners into a “furnace of fire.” Satan, the evil one, wants to be God and if you are going to be God you have to exercise judgment and you have to have a burning, fiery furnace to cast people into and King Nebuchadnezzar had this furnace burning. He is saying, in effect, to all Babylon (the world), “You better obey me.” That is what Revelation 13 told us when it said, “And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb.” If you dwell on the earth and you will not worship him, you will be cast into a burning, fiery furnace; that is really the threat. Nebuchadnezzar’s rage is a picture of the wrath of God. We read in the Bible that God is full of wrath for those that disobey Him. The wrath of God is upon the sinner. The wrath of King Nebuchadnezzar was on those that refused to bow down and worship the image he had set up. After all, he was showing himself that he was God and it was as though these three men were disobeying “God” in his eyes and, therefore, they must face his judgment.
It is similar in some ways to the account in the Book of Esther about Haman. King Ahasuerus had lifted Haman up and promoted him, as it says in Esther 3:1:
After these things did king Ahasuerus promote Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him, and set his seat above all the princes that were with him.
Spiritually, that identifies with the loosing of Satan and his taking his seat in the temple shewing himself that he is God. Then it says in Esther 3:2:
And all the king's servants, that were in the king's gate, bowed, and reverenced Haman: for the king had so commanded concerning him…
By the way, it was by God’s commandment that Satan was loosed and overcame the churches and that all whose names were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life would pay homage to him. Then it goes on to say in Esther 3:2-4:
... But Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence. Then the king's servants, which were in the king's gate, said unto Mordecai, Why transgressest thou the king's commandment? Now it came to pass, when they spake daily unto him, and he hearkened not unto them, that they told Haman, to see whether Mordecai's matters would stand: for he had told them that he was a Jew.
It was just like some of the Chaldeans came to King Nebuchadnezzar and accused the three young Jews of not falling down to worship the image he had set up. Then it says in Esther 3:5:
And when Haman saw that Mordecai bowed not, nor did him reverence, then was Haman full of wrath.
Remember that Haman was the “adversary” in the Book of Esther and he was a type of Satan, just like King Nebuchadnezzar. He wanted to be worshiped and bowed down to and when Mordecai refused to bow, he was full of wrath, just like Nebuchadnezzar. Then it says in Esther 3:6:
And he thought scorn to lay hands on Mordecai alone; for they had shewed him the people of Mordecai: wherefore Haman sought to destroy all the Jews that were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus, even the people of Mordecai.
It was the same situation: “You refused to bow down, Mordecai, and, therefore, I am going to kill you and all your people.” Mordecai is a picture of Christ and all his people represent the body of Christ. In the case of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, they represent the body of Christ that refuses to bow to Satan, just as Satan wanted Jesus to bow down to him during the temptation in the wilderness. This was Satan’s desire and if he did not get it, he would kill the one that refused to obey him.