Daniel 3: Trials of the Overcomers, Part 1
Apr 13, 2015
The last verse of Daniel 2 transitions us into the event of the next chapter, where we see a two-sided prophecy: (1) how the king of Babylon misunderstood and misapplied the interpretation of his dream in chapter 2; and (2) how his carnality brought him to persecute the overcomers and bring them into tribulation.
Daniel 3:1 begins,
1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.
The dimensions of this image are 10:1, which tells us that this was a column or pillar with some sort of golden image on its top. An image of a man would have been proportioned about 6:1. We are not told precisely what this image portrayed, other than it was made of gold. Neither are we given any date in which this event occurred.
The Number 666
The numeric value of Daniel 3:1 is precisely 4662 or 666 x 7. Six is the number of man, and 666 is seen also in Revelation 13:18 in connection with the second beast of the little horn whose “mark” is money in the modern financial system. The number is also associated with gold in 1 Kings 10:14,
14 Now the weight of gold which came in to Solomon in one year was 666 talents of gold.
Gold is not evil, but the love of money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10). We are not to make any gods out of gold or silver (Exodus 20:23), as the Babylonian king was doing. God claims all the gold by right of creation, and so He alone has the right to determine its use as well. In Joshua 6:19 God said,
19 But all the silver and gold and articles of bronze and iron are holy to the Lord; they shall go into the treasury of the Lord.
As part of God’s treasury, the four metals mentioned above are also the four kingdoms of men revealed in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2:32, 33). Even as Joshua overthrew Jericho, so also will God overthrow Babylon, for Jericho was a type of Babylon. The instruction to put all the metals of Jericho into God’s treasury indicates that Babylon’s overthrow was not designed to destroy the people, but to set them free by putting them under the authority of Christ (Joshua-Yeshua). The people are thus represented by the four metals, and their labor is to be directed toward building the Kingdom and serving the true Heir of the World.
The 666 Factor itself has to do with Christ and His treasury (Kingdom assets), whose ownership and use are contested by the kingdoms of men. Hence, in most applications of this number throughout Scripture, we see Christ’s authority being usurped by man, and so it appears in a negative context. This is seen in Psalm 118:22, where the phrase “the chief corner stone” has a numeric value of 666. It is a prophecy of the rejection of Christ, who is that chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20), and the usurpation of His rightful position.
In the case of Solomon, whose kingdom at first prophesied of the Prince of Peace ruling in the Age of Peace in the true City of Peace, we find in his later years that he usurped the place of Christ and used God’s treasury for evil purposes. The same is seen in Revelation 13:18, where the financial beast from the earth causes men to worship the beast-system and its god—in this case, gold, or money in general.
It is interesting that the phrase used in Revelation 13:18, “his number is six hundred and sixty-six” carries the numeric value of 2368, which is the same as “Jesus Christ.” The name Jesus, or Iesous, is 888, while Christ, or Christos, is 1480. Together they add up to 2368. In other words, the true 666, i.e., the True Man, is Jesus Christ, even though imperfect men have rejected Him and have usurped the number for themselves.
Therefore, the underlying principle on which this column was constructed was the elevation of man above God through the worship of gold.
Daniel 3:2, 3 continues,
2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. 3 Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
All government officials were required to gather around the golden image and bow before it, indicating their agreement with the king’s decree. This occurred in the time of Daniel—who was conspicuously and mysteriously absent—but it prophesied of a time yet to come, as seen in Revelation 13:11-18. In fact, it is only by connecting Daniel 3 with Revelation 13 that we are able to understand the meaning of either passage, because each gives us only half of the revelation.
Daniel 3:4-6 says,
4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed, “To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, 5 that at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. 6 But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.”
It is interesting that six musical instruments are listed here, for this again suggests man’s carnal influence. Likewise, it prophecies that music itself was to be an important tool by which Mystery Babylon would cause men to bow down to the god of gold. A mere command may require eloquence to induce obedience, but music causes men to accept messages more easily. Music opens the doors of the heart more quickly than eloquence.
Broadly speaking, music, art, and philosophy not only reflect the culture and worship of a society, but these may also be manipulated and used to direct culture toward a desired end or goal. In these last days of Mystery Babylon, the modern kings of Babylon have done this by glorifying despair as “realism,” presenting crud as art, and saturating the airwaves with the music of rebellion, drugs, and self-centered base instincts.
The result has been a complete change from God-centered culture to one that glorifies self, and most people do not even realize what is being done to them. The worship of man leads inevitably to the worship of elite men, who then are empowered by such worship to enslave humanity, even while proclaiming man’s freedom from godly constraints.
The penalty for not worshiping the image of the beast is that he “shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire” (Dan. 3:6). This is the tribulation fire that is an ever-present threat during the long “seven times” captivity to the kingdoms of men, beginning with the “head of gold.”
The furnace of fire is a metaphor for tribulation and captivity. It was thus used by Moses in Deut. 4:20,
20 But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today.
Although the “furnace” was metaphorical, it was a very real metaphor, because their bondage in Egypt was like being smelted in an Egyptian furnace to purify the Israelites like iron ore. The purpose of smelting, of course, was to make the metal useful.
The purpose of tribulation, insofar as God is concerned, is to baptize the overcomers in the fire of the Holy Spirit and the character of God Himself—who appeared later only as Fire. However, on the surface, the threat of the Babylonian king was to punish and torture all who refused to acknowledge the king’s decrees as taking precedence over God’s law. The Babylonian purpose was not to create something useful by fire, but to cause pain in order to induce subservience.
This threat is one more counterfeit, for in God’s Kingdom the believers are offered the “baptism of fire,” that is, the Holy Spirit’s baptism. Whereas Babylon’s fire pictures persecution and tribulation, the Divine Fire is given to purify the believers from the ungodly idolatry of Mystery Babylon.
The Response of the Officials
Daniel 3:7 continues,
7 Therefore at that time, when all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, bagpipe, and all kinds of music, all the peoples, nations, and men of every language fell down and worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
The New Testament counterpart to this is found in Revelation 13:16, 17,
16 And he causes all, the small and the great, and the rich and the poor, and the free men and the slaves, to be given a mark on their right hand, or on their forehead, 17 and he provides that no one should be able to buy or to sell, except the one who has the mark, either the name of the beast or the number of his name.
The command, prophetically speaking, is that men should worship money, because the “mark of the beast” is the counterfeit of the divine law commanding us to write the law upon our hand and upon our forehead. Deuteronomy 11:18 says,
18 You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.
When applied to the story in Daniel 3, we see that Daniel’s three friends refused to worship the beast and so were cast into the fires of tribulation. They stand as examples of the overcomers living in this time of tribulation. They chose the mark of God, which was to write the law in their hands (labor) and in their foreheads (way of thinking), which, taken together, describes their worship of God rather than man.
This is part 10 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Daniel." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones