Archive for December 2013

A Proper Reading of Ephesians Chapter 1

December 28, 2013

2123771962_0f293a2db1_n

Jesus Christ is All in All…

It is sometimes easy to miss an important aspect of how God particularly crafted the first chapter of Ephesians.  If Ephesians, chapter 1, is read casually, as even believing Christians sometimes can do, the chapter can seem like an ordinary narrative or simple prose.  However, if read with particular emphasis on the words highlighted below in Bold…an entirely different perspective can become clear.

Try this for yourself…Before proceeding any further, please read Ephesians Chapter 1 on  your own from your own Bible .   Think about what you have read and what was significant about the chapter and the impact it has had.

Next, read the chapter again as highlighted below…emphasizing the words marked in bold (say them to yourself in a louder tone or something akin to that).  May you be blessed by the process, and see clearly that Jesus Christ, Who is both God and yet a distinct part of the God Head, and God’s Will (The Will of the Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit) are the central theme of the whole chapter.  It is really a condensed version of the whole Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.  Amazing!

Moreover there is absolutely no mention anywhere of any “free will” or “man’s will” in the process….but rather only God’s Will.   Note also the words that weren’t emphasized…”predestined” (twice), and “chosen” “before the foundation of the world…”

1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:

2 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

7 In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

8 Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

9 Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him:

11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

15 Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,

16 Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

17 That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:

18 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

19 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

20 Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,

21 Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

22 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church,

23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Jesus is All in All!  

Finally, in James 1:18 we see more of God’s Will being brought to bear…”Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

A Good Employee: A Christian Credo

December 28, 2013

315-fbb13361-f227-45a3-9ba2-b2268d68cba6

Photo Credit: Flickr/Nick Thompson, unprovenanced,6th-7th century AD, ink on pottery. Inscription:Creed of Nicea

God’s Guidance to Christians in the Workplace and Everywhere Else: Honor Authority

Romans 13:1-5, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.   For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:    For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.   Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”

Ephesians 6:5-9,Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;  Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:   Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.  And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

 1 Peter 2:11-25, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.   Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.    For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.    Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.    Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.   For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.    For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

Colossians 3:22-25, 4:1, “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

Colossians 3:12-17, “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, “And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-15, “Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men.

1 Thesalonians 5:22 “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Titus 2:9-10, “¶[Exhort] servants to be obedient unto their own masters, [and] to please [them] well in all [things]; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.”  (Note: “Not purloining” means to not embezzle or steal from one’s employer)

1 Peter 4:19, “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

Romans 12:17, “Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.”

Romans 12:18, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Galatians 5:14, “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Luke 3:14, “And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.”

Mark 8:36-37, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Proverbs 6:16-19, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Proverbs 16:18, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 15:16, “Better is little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith.”

Mathew 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

John 3:27, “John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.”

I Corinthians 4:7, “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am:… “

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Matthew 5:43-46, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.  But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”

Ecclesiastes 12:13-14, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”!

December 3, 2013

Qusayr spoil pile growthThe Fiery Furnace in Babylon: What was that all about?

Many people may have heard of the Old Testament account that comprises Daniel, chapter 3.  The story was about Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, the three “certain Jews” (from the tribe of Judah) who were companions of Daniel, and the four of them had been given high official positions in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  In the Chapter 3 account, we read how the three men refused to worship the false idol of gold, that was ~90 feet high by ~9 feet in width, that the king had set up, and as the king had commanded.  They understood the full penalty for disobedience to that command.  They understood that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.  But they miraculously survived!  

Was this just a children’s bedtime story?

The answer is an emphatic NO! As we have already learned from numerous other Old Testament accounts, this not only was a true historical event, but it was crafted by God as an “historical parable” to convey an extremely important spiritual message, which is the good news of the Gospel of Salvation through the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ!  Moreover, there is another aspect of salvation that God paints with words in this particular account. For anyone to become saved…for believers to remain untouched by the fires of Hell… Jesus had to be there to endure those fires on behalf of all those who are counted among His sheep. If Jesus endured the fires of Hell, then the believers will never have to.  Those who are not faithful, spiritual “Jews” (believers), but instead are like the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar (who God uses in some cases to represent the devil), will be similarly slain by the fiery furnace (and the fires of hell that represent the second death are for eternity).

Had you ever heard that before?

If so, great!…but if not, please read on.

We first need to go back to the beginning of the Book of Daniel to read the first seven verses in Chapter 1:

Daniel 1:1-7 “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judahcame Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. ¶ And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring [certain] of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom [was] no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as [had] ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel [the name] of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

So then, according to Daniel 1:7Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were the assigned names (by the Babylonians) of three men, who were the Jewish believing acquaintances of Daniel, who Daniel had the king elevate to be “over the affairs of the province of Babylon“(Dan 2:49), and, who, with Daniel, asked to be allowed to eat their own food (“pulse”) rather than that provided by the king (Daniel 1:12).  Those three friends original Hebrew names were Hannaniah, Michael, Azariah; but which were changed to the Chaldean names, :

  • Hananiah (חֲנַנְיָה (ḥănanyâ)H2608 means “”God Has Favoured” or “To Whom God is Gracious”                             Shadrach (שַׁדְרַךְ (šaḏraḵ)H7714 or שַׁדְרַךְ (šaḏraḵ)H7715 reportedly means “royal” or “the great scribe
  • Misha’el (מִישָׁאֵל (mîšā’ēl)H4332  means “Who is Like God?”, also means “to feed” or “to provide”—as in how a husband provides for his family                                                                                                                                                         Meshach מֵישַׁךְ (mêšaḵ)H4336 means “guest of a king
  • Azariah (עֲזַרְיָה (ʿăzaryâ)H5838 appropriately means “God has helped”                                                                           Abednego (עֲבֵד נְגוֹ (ʿăḇēḏ nᵊḡô)H5665 reportedly means “servant of Nebo”, and Nebo was a Babylonian deity like “Mercury” and means “prophet
  • For the record, Daniel means“God is my judge” (Belteshazzar (בֵּלְטְשַׁאצַּר (bēlṭᵊša’ṣṣar)H1095 reportedly means, variously, “Bel’s Prince” or “lord of the Straitened’s Treasure“)

We read at the beginning of Chapter 3 where King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image of gold (implicitly of himself) and decreed that all who heard the ”sound of the cornet, flute, harp …and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

Daniel 3:1, “¶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.”

Daniel 3:2, “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, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.”

Daniel 3:3Then 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.

Daniel 3:4Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,” 

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 Burning Fiery Furnace

And then in verse 6 we read of the punishment for not doing so, “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

And we know that Nebuchadnezzar would do it, as we read in Jeremiah 29:20-22, “Hear ye therefore the word of the LORD, all ye of the captivity, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon: Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes; And of them shall be taken up a curse by all the captivity of Judah which [are] in Babylon, saying, The LORD make thee like Zedekiah and like Ahab, whom the king of Babylon roasted in the fire;

And is it not reminiscent of what we read in Revelation 13:15And he (the second beast, the anti-Christ) 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.”

But what do we read in Daniel 3:7?… “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.

The Accusers Point Out Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego

Then we read in Daniel 3:8 wherecertain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.”   This is reminiscent of Haman as the accuser in Esther and Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, who opposed Nehemiah in Nehemiah Chapter 2

Thereafter, we read the account of the accusations in Daniel 3:9-12, “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.

 Verse 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

 Verse 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

Verse 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?”

Verse 16, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.  Remember what Jesus taught in Matthew 10:19But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak.

Verse 17, “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.

Verse 18, “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.”

Verse 19, “Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.”

Verse 20,  “And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.”

Verse 21, “Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Verse 22, “Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Daniel 3:23,  “And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

We should take a moment to look at Isaiah 43:1-3 (given to Isaiah about 150 years before the Babylonian captivity), ҦBut now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine. When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt [for] thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.

Ordinarily, apart from this prophetic promise by God to His people via Isaiah, that would have been the end of the story (they would have burned to death).  Although Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die for their faith in the true God of all creation, God Protected them and they didn’t die.  In fact, we read the following surprising and truly amazing account…

Verse 24, “Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.”

Verse 25He 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.”  

Jesus is the “Son of God”, and as God Promised in Isaiah (Chapter 43), Jesus was with Them!

WOW! Is not that very peculiar language?  Of all the ways to describe the fourth person in the midst of the fiery furnace, why did king Nebuchadnbezzar say that personage had the form of “the Son of God”?  This is the FIRST and ONLY time in the whole Old Testament that the term “Son of God” is found!

It was because it was Jesus Christ walking in their midst! Jesus is also the “angel” (“messenger” in the original Hebrew) who we see mentioned later, who made it possible for the three others to survive. After all, isn’t it true that only Jesus isthe Son of God”? (but Jesus was also a “man”, born of the Virgin Mary).  See for example the first eight verses of the Book of Hebrews

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,  Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;  Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:  Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, [he saith], And let all the angels of God worship him. And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire. But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” The last verse is referring back to Psalm 45:6.

There are many other unequivocal references to Jesus as the Son of God in the New Testament (see for example, Matthew 3:17And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”[and Mat 17:5, etc.])… but what is amazing is that this reference is in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament!  We have to ask the question, who do the Jews think was being described here?  There is not a single other reference in the Old Testament that specifically mentions “the Son of God”! (Although Proverbs 30:4 alludes to Him).  However we find specific mention of the phrase “the Son of God” (Jesus Christ) 46 times in the New Testament (with Matthew 14:33 being one example: “Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.”…and remember that in that account, the wind was “boisterous” until Jesus was with the disciples in the ship all together andthe wind ceased“).

This link provides a complete list of all of 47 verses that specifically contain the phrase “Son of God” Who is Jesus Christ, our Lord  and God:

https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/search.cfm?Criteria=Son+of+God&t=KJV#s=s_primary_0_1

Notice that in the same verse we are told that not only did they not die, but they were “loose”…Jesus frees us from the bands of captivity. Isaiah 58:6 “[Is] not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

But, let’s read on to the end of the chapter…

Verse 26, “Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire”.

Verse 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 an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.”

Verse 28, “Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.”

Verse 29,  “Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, 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.”

Verse 30, “Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.”

So having read this historical account, which is also an “historical parable”,  we note that the fire was so hot that the servants of the king who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace were themselves slain.  Moreover, not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive, but their clothes did not even have the smell of smoke on them afterward!

What does this account remind us of? Remember the account of Joshua (Jesus in Greek, and meaning Savior in Hebrew) leading he people through the Jordan River to the “Promised Land”? As long as the priests held the Ark of the Covenant in the Jordan River, the people could pass through at flood stage and not even have the souls of their shoes get wet!  (they crossed on dry land) Familiar…yes!  Why is that?…It is because God repeats the same theme through many different allegories to paint new portraits of God’s magnificent Plan of Salvation through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid the price for the believer’s salvation.  If Jesus, the Son of God, is there, we are safe, the fires (or floods) of Hell are no threat to our eternal souls.  The believers (typified by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or the Israelites) can pass through because Jesus is there for them.

The Typology

  • Nebuchadnezzar is like the devil, who desires for the whole world to remain in subjection to him, and to NOT worship the One True God.
  • Nebuchadnezzar’s image is like the image described in Revelation 13, that the whole world will be commanded by the devil to worship.
  • The executioners who perished are like those in league with the devil, who Jesus will slay at His return.
  • The “people, nations, and languages” represent the world and the sons of Adam who are unsaved and remain subject to the devil.
  • The fourth man who appeared like the “Son of God” represents the Lord Jesus Christ as the Protector of all true believers (the elect of God), and it is Jesus Christ Who ensures that the fires of Hell have no power over them.  Jesus in effect “took the heat”, by enduring God’s wrath in Hell on behalf of, and in payment for the sins of, the elect of God (Jesus’s Bride, the Eternal Church, the Eternal Israel).
  • Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego represent all true believers, the elect of God, who are saved from God’s just wrath for their sins by the Grace of God through His Dear Son, Jesus Christ.

Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.”  We see the devil trying to make the believer bow down to his idealized image of what men and women should be.  Christians must resist this with everything they have and pursue God’s ideal. In this, we will fulfill Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Jesus warned in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

There is a useful primer on Hell that can be found here: https://bereansearching.com/2017/01/30/is-there-an-eternal-hell/

Nothing Can Separate Us from the Love of God, Which Is In Christ Jesus Our Lord

Romans 8:31 “What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for uswho [can be] against us?

Romans 8:38&39,  “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”    

Matthew 28:18– 20, “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the HolyGhost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Hebrews 13:5, “[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.(see also Genesis 28:15)

Today’s Application: Are You Ready?

            The Bible makes it clear that if God was willing to put His own Son through Hell to save a people for Himself, how much more would He be willing to send the wicked who reject Him to Hell for their sins.  God specifies in Proverbs 16:4,”The LORD hath made all [things] for himself: yea, even the wicked for the day of evil (Judgment Day).” Please also see Romans  8:32 through to the end of the chapter, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?“…  Jesus is the ONLY Way of escape from the just penalty for our sins.  All other ways that man can devise will lead only to Hell.  We all have to make peace with God through Jesus Christ!  The fires of Hell will have no effect on you if Jesus paid the supreme price for you.  Please pray to God for mercy through Jesus Christ and He will show you mercy.

Appendix:

Crossing the River Jordan with Joshua Provides Another Perspective (Similar to Moses Parting the Red Sea)

Let’s review Joshua, Chapters 3&4:

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.

10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

Then in Chapter 4:

14 On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

15 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,

16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.

The Ark of the Covenant represented the Word of God (it held the Manna from Heaven in a jar (Jesus Is the Manna from Heaven) , and the Ten Commandments in stone (the Word of God, Who is Jesus), and Aaron’s r

Romans 12:1. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, [which is] your reasonable service.”  We see the devil trying to make the believer bow down to his idealized image of what men and women should be.  Christians must resist this with everything they have and pursue God’s ideal. In this, we will fulfill Romans 12:2: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Jesus warned in Matthew 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”

There is a useful primer on Hell that can be found here: https://bereansearching.com/2017/01/30/is-there-an-eternal-hell/

POSTSCRIPT: Just as Isaiah’s prophesy was fulfilled with the Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego not being “literally” burned in the fiery furnace, so too all believers will not be burned “spiritually” by the fires of Hell. There is a corollary in the New Testament. In Mark 16:1, “They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Remember how this prophesy was fulfilled “literally” with Paul in Acts 28:3-6, but it continues “spiritually” with all believers today. The believers can come into the hearing of false gospels, the “poison of asps” (Romans 3:13) that is on the lips of those who do not bring the true Gospel of Salvation, but the believers will not be harmed because Jesus will protect them.