Welcome to EBible Fellowship’s Sunday afternoon Bible study. Today is study #6 of Daniel, chapter 3, and we are going to read Daniel 3:15:
Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
We have been discussing the “hour,” as it said in verse 15: “but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” We have seen clearly from the Bible that the “hour” refers to the Great Tribulation period. It represents the last “hour” of the work day in which God would do His work of salvation. It was the time when Satan arose out of the “bottomless pit” and he began to rule over the churches and congregations of the world. He also ruled over the nations of the world to a degree he had not previously enjoyed; his rule was greatly expanded and it was the greatest period of his rule in all history. At that time, Satan focused on God’s elect within the congregations. All the unsaved in the world whose names were not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life worshipped Satan and, yet, there are a remnant that did not worship Satan and they are typified by Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. As we saw in a past study, God repeatedly mentioned these three men. Their names were joined together a total of 13 times and that is because the “hour” of the Great Tribulation took place in the year 1988 which was the 13,000th year of earth’s history. It was at that point Satan took his seat in the temple as the man of sin to rule over the New Testament churches and congregations. It was a time when the pressure began to mount for God’s people to worship Satan rather than God. People go to church to worship God. We saw in Revelation, chapter 13 that the “beast” rose up out of the sea and that was another way of picturing Satan rising out of the “bottomless pit” and taking over the churches. He made over the churches in his own image and all were commanded to worship the image of the beast, as we also read in Revelation 13. All that would not worship him were to be “killed.” This is the same picture we see in Daniel chapter 3.
We were looking at Revelation 13 after Satan had risen up and was restored power and authority. It says in Revelation 13:5-6:
And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven.
We know that the Great Tribulation was the time when Satan and his kingdom would be victorious, but there is another characteristic of that period. It was a time when there would be great “blasphemy,” which means “to speak evil” of someone or something. And, yet, God particularly signaled out the sin of “speaking evil of” and in certain seasons the Lord called this the sin of blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It says in Mark 3:22:
And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
Here, they are speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ. When we read the Gospel accounts, whenever Christ did something we find that He was operating under the power of the Holy Spirit. For example, it says in Luke 4:1:
And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
This is typical of the things we read of Christ. The Spirit was intimately involved with the activities of the Lord Jesus Christ in the things He said and did. He was fully led by the Spirit. Of course, the Holy Spirit is also God Himself and Jesus, the Son, is also God Himself. We know the Bible teaches a trinity, but the Spirit has a particular role, just as Christ had a role to play and the Father had a role to play within the Godhead. The Spirit’s role is particularly to bring forth truth, especially at the time when Christ entered the world. When Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary, how did that take place? We read in Matthew 1:18:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
The Lord Jesus Christ’s birth was “of the Holy Ghost.” Then He was born into the world and He continued to be led by the Spirit throughout His earthly ministry, speaking fully in the will of the Spirit.
It is interesting that Jesus was born in the year 7BC, which was a Jubilee year and God speaks of a Jubilee Year as a time of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the completion of Christ’s birth would result in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in 33AD. Then in the year 1994, another Jubilee Year, the Lord would pour out His Spirit a second time. The Holy Spirit being poured out identifies with the Jubilee and with seasons of God’s salvation program being poured out as the Lord determined the “times and seasons” for the evangelization of the world during the “day of salvation.” The Holy Spirit is central to these seasons.
It also happened that when God brought forth the Lord Jesus Christ in 7BC (a Jubilee Year) and when Christ later began His ministry the leaders of the corporate body of national Israel said that Christ had “Beelzebub,” as it says in Mark 3:22:
And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
Basically, they were saying that Jesus operated not under the power of the Holy Spirit, but of Beelzebub. The accusation was that the things He was doing and saying had no relationship to God, but it was being done by Beelzebub, the prince of the devils. This is what God condemned, in Mark 3:28-29:
Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
I mentioned in our last study that this should say, “but is guilty of eternal damnation.” Then the reason is given for the condemnation from God, in Mark 3:30:
Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.
Of course, the Holy Spirit is most pure. That is why He is “holy” and everything the Holy Spirit does is clean: “What God has cleansed, that call not thou uncommon.” In the Book of Acts, when God made a change in program concerning the Gentiles it was spoken evil of and these changes of program were done in certain “times and seasons.” God does not change programs on a whimsy or “as the wind blows,” but He very carefully makes a change in program after long periods of time, normally. For instance, national Israel was the corporate body and people of God for hundreds and hundreds of years. If we go all the way back to Abraham, it would have been over two thousand years before Christ would go to the cross. God made the determination that there would be a change of program because Israel’s role was to produce the “fruit” of the Messiah during the early righteous rain. That was their main purpose. Of course, when Jesus was born of the Spirit and entered the world through the tribe of Judah, they had produced that fruit and then came the time for a change of program. God had another plan and He would no longer use national Israel, but during the New Testament age He would use the churches and congregations.
Jesus began to declare further divine revelation coming down from heaven from the Holy Spirit and the things He said and did were despised, even His mighty miracles. No one could deny that He did mighty miracles in giving sight to the blind, ears to the deaf, legs to the lame and He even gave life to the physically dead as He raised certain individuals from the dead. No one could deny these things and, yet, Israel was blinded and in anger and envy they lashed out at Him and tried to convince the people that His miracles were not from God. Most of the leaders of the synagogues of Israel were against Him. The chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees and all the spiritual authorities told the people that He was of Beelzebub or Satan. The sin of speaking evil against the Holy Spirit and claiming that Jesus was under the power of an unclean spirit is the unforgiveable sin by the corporate body, the church of Israel of that day. (They were called the “church in the wilderness” in Acts, chapter 7.) They were committing the sin of blasphemy, corporately. The sin of blasphemy is a corporate sin. Yes, the corporate leaders of the church direct the thinking of the people in this regard, but God does not hold the individual person responsible. God is not saying that there can be no forgiveness for an individual, but it is the corporate institution, like national Israel, that will have no forgiveness forever. There would no longer be salvation available within Israel’s corporate body, the synagogue system. That is why Jesus cursed the “fig tree,” when He said: “Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.”
We have already seen this in Mark, chapter 13, but let us turn there and be reminded. It says in Mark 13:10-11:
And the gospel must first be published among all nations. But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.
The Lord emphasizes that in the time of the Great Tribulation the Holy Ghost will “speak.” The reason is that the Great Tribulation was another point in God’s timetable and His program in which He made a dramatic change. In the 1st century AD the Lord initiated the church age with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in 33AD and the church age continued for 1,955 years until the year 1988. Then Satan was loosed and at that point he entered in to the churches, the Holy Spirit departed out of the midst of the churches and Satan took his seat and ruled as the man of sin. God finished the church age and He ended His relationship with that corporate body, just as He did with national Israel 1,955 years earlier. It was at that time that God made a dramatic change in His program – He would no longer work within the churches, but He would work outside of the churches during the “little season” of the Great Tribulation. The New Testament churches had to face the things the Bible was saying through the Spirit of God regarding these changes and, like national Israel they reacted negatively. They were very negative toward this new information and we know that because we lived through it.
But, again, the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit takes full responsibility for the information that came forth during the time of the Great Tribulation. Remember, the Book was sealed until the time of the end and then it was opened and knowledge was increased. This was all accomplished through the Holy Spirit and in Mark 13, verse 11 Christ says of His people: “Whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.” Of course, we speak that which we learn in the Word of God and, yet, when we speak God says it is not the individual that speaks, but the Holy Ghost. This is done through comparing Scripture with Scripture or spiritual with spiritual and then the Holy Ghost teaches, as we read in 1Corinthians, chapter 2. It also says in John 14:26:
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
Did the Holy Spirit teach all things during the time when Christ spoke this? No, He did not. We know this because of what it says in Daniel 12:4: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end.” The implication is that at the time of the end the seals are removed and knowledge would increase. That is when the Holy Spirit would teach all things and “bring all things to your remembrance.” This is performed by the Holy Spirit as He opens the understanding of His people at the time of the end, which agrees with “that hour” in Mark 13, verse 11.
Let us also go to John 16:12-13:
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Christ said that He has may things still to say, but we cannot bear it now. We can understand that because at the time of the end the Holy Spirit would bring forth information from the Bible regarding the end of the church age and the Great Tribulation period and Judgment Day and other things. If the people of God would have learned these things of Christ in the 1st century, they would have born a very heavy weight for many centuries. The children of God do desire to know truth and we want to know truth if it is either positive or negative. Certain truths are grievous and they are very difficult to bear and to endure. For instance, in our time God has brought forth the truth that He has ended His salvation program and it is a very grievous truth. We that are alive today must endure just a few more years and then the end will come, but imagine bearing the weight of that information right from the start in 33AD. The Lord’s people that would be born in subsequent centuries would have lived their lives with no expectation that Christ would come during their lifetimes. God did not want it to be that way. He wanted His people to have hope and expectation that maybe the Lord would come in their lifetime. It served to lighten their burdens somewhat as they waited on the Lord and they could have had legitimate hope because God kept back that information from them regarding the time and season of the end. So, that is what Jesus is saying: “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” We see that word “all” and it would take place when the Spirit comes.
Some theologians look at Acts, chapter 2 and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and they would relate what Christ is saying to that time period. The only problem is that we know that God relates the New Testament age as the time period when men “slept.” In the Book of Isaiah, the Lord equates the sealed Book with those that are “asleep.” The church age was not a time when the Holy Spirit brought forth all truth. That is obvious. They lacked understanding concerning God’s end time judgment program. They lacked understanding of the nature of Christ’s work on the cross because they thought He was making payment for sin at that time. They lacked understanding of the meaning of “hell” and of many other things. What is more accurate and what fits the time of the church age is the statement in 1Corinthians where it says we see through a glass darkly. Let us look at this verse in 1Corinthians 13:9:
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
This applies to the church age. Yes, they had more understanding than Old Testament saints and, yet, they could only prophesy what they knew. This is important because when we look back at the church age, we see that faithful men prophesied concerning the nature of hell, but they were wrong. They prophesied concerning Christ making payment for sin at the cross, but they were wrong. They prophesied about believers having faith, but they did not understand it was the faith of Christ, so they were wrong. Some prophesied of the end of the world and came up with end time scenarios, but they were wrong. However, we do not speak of them as false prophets because they prophesied according to their level of knowledge of understanding and God the Holy Spirit was in charge of what they could understand. But notice what it says in 1Corinthians 13:10:
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
And who is perfect? God is perfect. Remember it said that when the Holy Spirit comes He will guide us into all truth. This is what is being referred to in this verse. It goes on to say in 1Corinthians 13:11-12:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
This language of speaking as a “child” and understanding as a “child” and thinking as a “child” relates to having limited information. One characteristic of children is that they must learn and gain knowledge; they do not have the knowledge of an adult. An older person can think back to when they were younger and they can remember how limited they were in understanding, not only in education but also in life. A young child lacks experience, knowledge and understanding that comes over the course of time as we grow to adulthood and maturity. God likens the church age to being as a “child” because they only had partial understanding. It says in Hebrews 5:11:
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
God refers to dullness of hearing and that would relate to understanding. It says in Hebrews 5:12-14:
For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The word translated as “full age” is the word “perfect” and it identifies with the Holy Spirit. It also refers to the time of the end. Then it goes on to say in Hebrews 6:1-2:
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
This entire passage from the end of chapter 5 and into chapter 6 indicates that there must be a growing in the grace and knowledge of God. There is a movement toward greater understanding from the doctrines understood during the church age and the doctrines that would be understood at the time of the end, as it tells us in Daniel, chapter 12:4: “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” So, we must leave these earlier doctrines and teachings that were limited and partial in understanding and, therefore, “child-like.” We must move on to “perfection,” because the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth – not just most of the truth, but all truth. Again, it said back in 1Corinthians 13:11: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” For example, in our time we have put away childish things like our previous understanding of hell or our previous understanding of Christ having paid for sins at the cross. Now we understand that it was necessary that Christ make payment for the sins of His people at the foundation of the world in order for there to be any remission of sins for God’s people that lived during the 11,000 years of the Old Testament era. We now see clearly God’s Biblical timeline of history. So much information has come forth that God’s people now see and understand, causing us to put away the “childish things.” We have put away the childish doctrine of free will or works gospel that pervert the Gospel of grace, including even some childish things that Reformed teachers taught as they paid lip service salvation by grace alone and, yet, they always added that little detail that the individual must “believe.” And with that little bit of work, they would pollute the truth. It was a “fly” in the apothecary that gave a stinking savour.
However, that is not the case today. God has brought Himself great glory by showing His people that salvation is completely by the grace of God. Therefore, childish things are being put away by God’s people. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, is teaching this in 1Corinthians, chapter 13, as he speaks of these childish things and then he says in 1Corinthians 13:12:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part…
If you look through a cloudy glass and you are trying to see something on the other side, you can make out certain things and, yet, they are hazy and unclear. You can see a basic outline, but no fine detail. This is the idea that God is presenting as it applies to the church age. They could read Matthew 24 or Revelation 13 and they had some things correct, but many things incorrect. They had some basic outline in some cases, but there was always error because they saw “through a glass, darkly.” Again, let me read verse 12 in its entirety, as it says in 1Corinthians 13:12:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
So, there would be full understanding and not partial understanding. Instead of seeing through a glass darkly, it is then “face to face.” Of course, this verse has been read during the time of partial understanding and even their understanding of this verse was partial. They thought that the time of seeing “face to face” would be upon entering heaven after we have died, but this is not what this verse refers to because the term “face to face” is a very special statement. It is a statement God uses to indicate a truth and the only way to understand this truth is to search the Bible to see how this term is used elsewhere. We find that “face to face” is synonymous with being “mouth to mouth” and in the New Testament we read in 2John 1:12:
Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink…
Having many things to write means to have many things to communicate. Remember what Christ said in John 16:12:
I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.
Again, to say something is to communicate or impart information or knowledge and it is the same idea we see when it says, “Having many things to write unto you.” So, Christ said, “I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now,” and He would hold it back and keep it in reserve for the Holy Spirit to reveal at another time to complete the revealing of the information. We find a similar idea in 2John 1:12: “Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink,” and this is a wonderful truth that lets us know that when God would bring forth all this information in that “hour,” it is the Holy Ghost that speaks. When God would bring forth information at the time of the end, He would not do so in the manner in which He brought the revelation of the New Testament and the Old Testament. He would so simply by “opening” our understanding to the things that had already been recorded or written down in the Bible and this would complete the revelation and it would be the final covenant. God would not use “paper and ink.” God would not move prophets to write down His Words and add them as another book in addition to the Book of Revelation, the last Book of the Bible. God had already said in Revelation 22, verse 18 that we are not to add or subtract to the words of this Book, so it was impossible that God would use “paper and ink” and add information. God has confined His Word to the Bible, but He can open the minds of His people as the Holy Spirit works in them and through them to understand what has already been written but had not been completely understood before. It is as if it is an entirely new covenant. Going back to 2John, chapter 12, it says in 2John 1:12:
Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
“Face to face” is always the best means of communication. It is better than e-mail. It is better than the phone. With the phone, you cannot see their face and with e-mail you cannot hear their voice, but in face to face communication you can get a better idea of what a person is saying. How many times have you spoken on the phone or communicated by e-mail and a person has misunderstood? Face to face is the best method of communication to make sure the person you are communicating with understands and God is basically saying He is going to make things plain and clear up the mystery of the Bible. The Bible has been written in a parable and God hides truth all throughout its pages and, therefore, it is a mystery that must be revealed. And it was God’s intent to reveal the mystery in full, according to the measure that He had determined to reveal to all His elect. He would reveal things through the Holy Ghost and guide us into all truth, not just partial truth, and He would complete the revelation by leading His elect His elect to greater understanding in that “hour” at the time of the end. He took the seals off the Book and it has continued into the Day of Judgment at this point, but the Holy Spirit is guiding us as we compare Scripture with Scripture and He is guiding us in the right understanding.
Remember that Moses own brother and sister were speaking against him and God came to his defence in Numbers 12:5-8:
And JEHOVAH came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth. And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I JEHOVAH will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream. My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. With him will I speak mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches; and the similitude of JEHOVAH shall he behold: wherefore then were ye not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?
The “dark speeches” are parables and God is saying that He will speak plainly to Moses and He will cause Moses to understand. He will not hide the things He says to Moses through dark speeches or parables, but He would speak directly and, therefore, Moses would have great understanding. This is exactly what this term_ “face to face”_ conveys when we read in 1Corinthians 13:12: “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face.” God will speak plainly as the Holy Spirit opens the understanding of His people to the great amount of information that had been sealed. Then it goes on to say, “now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” Knowing in part was during the church age, but at the time of the end we shall know even as we are known. When we understand the Word of God more fully we are also understanding God more fully because it was His Word that came forth from His mouth and, therefore, we will know him by speaking “face to face” or “mouth to mouth.” We will know God’s Word to a greater degree as He would have us to know it.
This was God’s plan and that is why He brought forth this information through the Holy Spirit at the time of the end. That is why we are reading about blaspheming the Holy Spirit in connection with the time of the end or the “hour” of the Great Tribulation. Let us read about that again in Matthew 10:24-26:
The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.
Do you see how God has spoken of Christ being called “Beelzebub” and He ties it to His people that would also be spoken evil of? Then Jesus tells us not to fear and He says, “for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.” He is referring to the time when the Holy Spirit would bring His people into all truth and it relates to His people following in His footsteps and being accused of being under the power of Satan as they speak of the end of the church age, and so forth.
It is even more clear in Luke 12:4-5:
And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.
Notice how God is emphasizing that we are not to be afraid. That is one of the reasons we are looking at this verse because we saw that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were not afraid; they did not allow fear to prevent them from doing the will of God. They were faithful, despite any fear they may have had in the flesh. God relates that “hour” to a time when He encourages His people not to fear. It is frightening when people say some of the things they say against the people of God that are really being faithful servants of the Lord and, yet, they are spoken of in an evil way.
Then it says in Luke 12:10-12:
And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven. And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.
Here, God definitively brings together the sin of blaspheming the Holy Ghost and the “hour” of Great Tribulation when the Holy Spirit would teach His people what to say. The New Testament corporate church would commit that sin of blasphemy and the corporate body would lose salvation forever, just as Israel of old lost salvation, and they would speak evil of God’s servants, just as Israel spoke evil of Christ.