Sun, Nov 12, 2017

No Compromise

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DANIEL 3:1-18  NO COMPROMISE

The message of Daniel 2 is that man’s dynasties will not last – only the Kingdom of Heaven.

Every man, great in his own eyes, will die, and many will rise beneath them with greater pride and a greater will to own the world.

 

OZYMANDIUS

By Percy Shelley, 1818

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert... near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,


The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear:

 

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains.

Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away.    [1]

 

Daniel 2:48–49

48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and the chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.

49 And Daniel made a request from the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the court of the king.

  • Daniel has been promoted to a high position
    • Ruler over all of the Province of Babylon – the “county” as it were.
    • Chief Ruler over all the wise men
      • Many suggest Daniel is 20 years old now.
      • I know many 20 year olds that would NEVER compromise their faith in Jesus.
    • Daniel’s three friends would work under Daniel’s supervision
      • County Supervisors?

 

  • A span of about 3 years since Chapter 2
  • Daniel is missing throughout this narrative in Chapter 3.
    • We are about to witness the spiritual maturity of Daniel’s friends in his absence.
      • No mentor
      • No encouragement
      • No instruction in this difficult situation.

 

1 Nebuchadnezzar the king made a statue of gold.

Its height was sixty cubits and its width was six cubits;

he set it up in the valley of Dura in the province of Babylon. [2]

  • The Septuagint adds in 3:1 that this event occurred in Nebuchadnezzar’s 18th year (587), one year before the fall of Jerusalem (cf. 2 Kings 25:8). [3]

 

  • The dimensions of the image would be fitting for an obelisk, for it was 90 feet high (about the height of a present-day eight-story building) and only 9 feet wide. [4]
    • Is it possible that the measurements are made with a different base-system of mathematics?
      • Base 60 – not Base 10 metric system.
      • This would make the statue merely 18 feet high of solid gold. Much more reasonable considering the nature of solid gold.

 

Base 60 mathematics:

  • Babylonian mathematical texts are plentiful and well edited. [5]
  • In contrast to the scarcity of sources in Egyptian mathematics, knowledge of Babylonianmathematics is derived from some 400 clay tablets unearthed since the 1850s. Written in Cuneiform script, tablets were inscribed while the clay was moist, and baked hard in an oven or by the heat of the sun. The majority of recovered clay tablets date from 1800 to 1600 BCE, and cover topics that include fractions, algebra, quadratic and cubic equations and the Pythagorean theorem. The Babylonian tablet YBC 7289 gives an approximation to the square root of 2 accurate to three significant sexagesimal digits (seven significant decimal digits).   [6]

 

 

  • The Babylonian system of mathematics was sexagesimal(base 60) numeral system. From this we derive the modern day usage of 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour, and 360 degrees in a circle.  [7]
  • The Babylonians were able to make great advances in mathematics for two reasons.
    • Firstly, the number 60 is a superiorhighly composite number, having factors of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 15, 20, 30, 60 (including those that are themselves composite), facilitating calculations with fractions.
    • Additionally, unlike the Egyptians and Romans, the Babylonians had a true place-value-system, where digits written in the left column represented larger values (much as, in our base ten system, 734 = 7×100 + 3×10 + 4×1).

 

2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent directions to assemble the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all of the officials of the provinces to come to the dedication of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

  • Come and see who I think I am.
  • Not just the head of gold – I am the entire summation of all dynasties that will ever exist.

'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

3 Then the satraps, the prefects, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the province were assembled for the dedication of the statue that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up, and were standing before the statue that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

4 Then the herald proclaimed aloud, “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations and people of all languages,

5 that at the time that you hear the sound of the horn, the flute, the lyre, the trigon, the harp, the drum and all kinds of music, you must fall down and you must worship the statue of gold that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up.

6 And whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown immediately into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire.”

  • Tradition says that Abraham was cast into such a furnace by this idolatrous people because he would not worship their idols. [8]

 

  • The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in a period of moral crisis, maintain their neutrality.

-- Dante, 13th century writer

 

C.H. Spurgeon - Morning & Evening:

Worldly wisdom recommends the path of compromise, and talks of “moderation.” According to this carnal policy, purity is admitted to be very desirable, but we are warned against being too precise; truth is of course to be followed, but error is not to be severely denounced. “Yes,” says the world, “be spiritually minded by all means, but do not deny yourself a little gay society, an occasional ball, and a Christmas visit to a theatre. What’s the good of crying down a thing when it is so fashionable, and everybody does it?” Multitudes of professors yield to this cunning advice, to their own eternal ruin. If we would follow the Lord wholly, we must go right away into the wilderness of separation, and leave the Egypt of the carnal world behind us. We must leave its maxims, its pleasures, and its religion too, and go far away to the place where the Lord calls his sanctified ones. When the town is on fire, our house cannot be too far from the flames. When the plague is abroad, a man cannot be too far from its haunts. The further from a viper the better, and the further from worldly conformity the better. To all true believers let the trumpet-call be sounded, “Come ye out from among them, be ye separate.”  [9]

 

7 Therefore, at that time, as soon as all the peoples heard the sound of the horn, the flute, the lyre, the trigon, the harp and all kinds of music, all the peoples, the nations and people of all languages were falling down and were worshiping the statue of gold that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

Fall down . . . and worship:

  • This was more than a political statue – it was a religious statue.
    • סְגִ֑ד S5457 TWOT2884 do homage (by prostration) [10]

 

The horn, the flute, the lyre, the trigon, the harp:

  • 7030 קַתְרֹוס, קִיתְרֹס [qiytharoc /kee·thaw·roce/] n m. Of Greek origin; TWOT 2972; GK 10644 and 10630; Eight occurrences; AV translates as “harp” four times, and “variant spelling” four times.
    1 a musical instrument.
    1a probably the lyre or zither.   [11]
  • Many have found fault in Daniel’s record of this event – using Greek words when they suppose Daniel had no Greek training.

 

8 Therefore at this time some astrologers came forward and they denounced the Jews.

 

 

9 They responded and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king, “O king, may you live forever!

10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, the flute, the lyre, the trigon, the harp and the drum and all kinds of music, he shall fall down and shall worship the statue of gold.

11 And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire.

12 However there are Judean men whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—these men, O king, pay you no heed and were not serving your god, and the statue of gold that you set up they are not worshiping.”

Three charges against the Jews:

  1. They have not regarded you.
  2. They serve not your gods.
  3. They do not worship the golden image you have set up.

 

  • When leaders demand your adoration and exclusive obedience, you know you are in a cult.
  • When Pastors demand that you do not attend any other ministries, you are in a cult.
  • When churches insist that you can only reach God at their church you know you are in a cult.
    • We make no such demands upon you – but use some simple discernment people.
    • Many ministries insist they have the exclusive power in an area of church ministry. This cannot be so!
    • Key word here: DISCERNMENT!

 

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar said in rage and anger to bring in Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego; then they brought in these men before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, that you are not serving my god, and you are not worshiping the statue of gold that I have set up?

What is the statue you bow down to worship?

 

People get incensed these days if you fall out of their norm.

  • What do you mean you voted for ______________?
  • What do you mean by not attending the party this weekend?
  • We must all worship at the golden statue of “political correctness” these days.

 

Compromise to conformity:

  • Setting aside our Christian values to conform to other’s values.

 

15 Now if you are ready so that when you hear the sound of the horn, the flute, the lyre, the trigon, the harp and the drum and all kinds of music, you fall down and you worship the statue that I have made, that will be good.

But if you do not worship it, immediately you will be thrown into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire, and who is the god who will rescue you from my hands?”

NO DUE PROCESS.

  • Cults offer no due process, no rights afforded the disciple.
  • They believe that because they have the exclusive attention of God that you have nothing to argue about.
  • Their way or death!

 

Who is the God who will rescue you?

  • Nebuchadnezzar believed he was more powerful than any god.

Matthew 27:41–44

41 In the same way also the chief priests, along with the scribes and elders, were mocking him, saying,

42 “He saved others; he is not able to save himself! He is the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him!

43 He trusts in God; let him deliver him now if he wants to, because he said, ‘I am the Son of God’!”

44 And in the same way even the robbers who were crucified with him were reviling him.

 

16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego answered and said to the king, Nebuchadnezzar, “We have no need on this matter to present a defense to you.

17 If it is so, our God, whom we serve, is able to rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire. And from your hand, O king, let him rescue us.

18 And if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, and the statue of gold that you have set up we will not worship.”

There are certain things worth arguing about

  • Field of Biblical Apologetics

 

Certain things never worth arguing about:

  1. Biblical inerrancy and infallibility in the autographs
  2. Jesus is GOD
  3. We are sinners in need of a Redeemer
  4. Jesus is our ONLY provision for that redemption

 

Apostle’s Creed:

I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.

I believe in Jesus Christ, God's only Son, our Lord,
who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
born of the Virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
he descended to the dead.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy catholic Church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen.

 

 

[1] Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ozymandias" in Miscellaneous and Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley (London: W. Benbow, 1826), 100.

 

[2]  The image was set up … on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon.  Dura was a common name in Mesopotamia for any place that was enclosed by mountains or a wall. “The province of Babylon” (cf. 2:48) seems to require a location close to the city of Babylon itself from which Nebuchadnezzar ruled his kingdom. Archeologists have uncovered a large square made of brick some six miles southeast of Babylon, which may have been the base for this image. Since this base is in the center of a wide plain, the image’s height would have been impressive. Also its proximity to Babylon would have served as a suitable rallying point for the king’s officials.      J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1337–1338.

[3] J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1337.

[4] J. Dwight Pentecost, “Daniel,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 1337.

[5] Aaboe, Asger (1991). "The culture of Babylonia: Babylonian mathematics, astrology, and astronomy". In Boardman, John; Edwards, I. E. S.; Hammond, N. G. L.; Sollberger, E.; Walker, C. B. F. The Assyrian and Babylonian Empires and other States of the Near East, from the Eighth to the Sixth Centuries B.C. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-22717-8.

[6] Boyer, C. B. (1989). Merzbach, Uta C., ed. A History of Mathematics (2nd rev. ed.). New York: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-09763-2. (1991 pbk ed. ISBN 0-471-54397-7).

[7] Michael A. Lombardi, "Why is a minute divided into 60 seconds, an hour into 60 minutes, yet there are only 24 hours in a day?", "Scientific American" March 5, 2007

 

[8] Dake's Annotated Reference Bible: Containing the Old and New Testaments of the Authorized or King James Version Text.

 

[9] Spurgeon, Charles H., Morning and Evening, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[10] Francis Brown, Samuel Rolles Driver, and Charles Augustus Briggs, Enhanced Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1977), 1104.

[11] James Strong, Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon (Woodside Bible Fellowship, 1995).