Read Daniel Chapter 3
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:14-18)
We saw in Daniel chapter 2 that Daniel was able to successfully interpret the king of Babylon’s dream, which showed him particulars about his own kingdom and the kingdoms that were to follow. This greatly impressed the king, and he immediately recognized that Daniel’s God was someone quite different than his Babylonian gods.
But he had not yet put his trust in God, his Creator. He was too caught up in himself and the power of his position which was given to him by God. He attributed his success to his own power and his own gods, so he made a golden image of himself and decreed that everyone had to bow down and worship it, trying to make himself appear as a god also. The poor guy still had a lot to learn about the one true God, the Creator of the universe.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Daniel’s three friends who had not defiled themselves by Babylonian culture, and had become government officials appointed by Daniel who served in the king’s court. There was no way they were going to bow down and worship Nebuchadnezzar as a deity.
So the other officials and wise men who had been humiliated by Daniel and his power to interpret dreams saw their opportunity to get back at these Jewish boys. They went to the king “and maliciously accused the Jews.” The king was furious, and ordered them to comply or be thrown into a fiery furnace and die.
Going Against the Crowd
When we walk in the Kingdom of Light refusing to be defiled by the culture of the world system which is part of the kingdom of darkness, we go against the crowd exposing their sins and the weakness of their system. Their natural reaction is one of anger, and so persecution is the natural outcome.
Daniel and his three friends had access to wisdom that only the Creator of the Universe can give through his Spirit, and it was superior wisdom to the wisdom of the Chaldeans who were limited to the knowledge available to them within the creation. So their power base and positions in society were threatened, and they had to resort to persecution to try and strike back.
Things are no different today. The world system we currently live in within western culture is built upon the false knowledge of man who looks only at the creation and develops a Darwinian evolutionary foundation. The world system in Daniel’s day did acknowledge the spiritual world, but our world system today in large part does not. It only acknowledges the physical, so it rejects anything based on Spiritual knowledge coming from God, and it rejects their Creator. Their knowledge and wisdom is inferior, and when confronted with the wisdom that is revealed by the Spirit of God, the reaction is the same: persecution. This is always the natural outcome when the two kingdoms collide:
Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. (2 Timothy 3:12-13)
The good news is that the kingdom of darkness, ruled by Satan, is no match for the Kingdom of Light, ruled by Jesus. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego knew this, and they knew that if they died in the furnace of fire that they had a glorious future awaiting them in God’s kingdom. So it was no problem for them to offer up their lives as a burnt sacrifice and go into the furnace.
The result was that those who threw them into the furnace burned up, but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were unharmed because God sent an angel to protect them, and they walked out of the furnace to the astonishment of the king.
While still not putting his trust in God yet, the king had taken another step in his understanding of who God was:
Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.
Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:28-30)
Are You Ready for the Furnace?
Are you ready for the furnace today? Is the world against you because you have chosen to not defile yourself in the culture around you? You are not alone!
If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you. (words of Jesus in John 15:18-19)
Or is your life so similar to those in the kingdom of darkness that you are no threat to them? Could it be that you have no wisdom or power that is threatening to them, and therefore they have no reason to persecute you?
Separate yourself from the world and offer yourself up to God as his living sacrifice today, so that your Creator can give you wisdom and power to fulfill the purpose for which he created you! Just be prepared for the natural outcome, which is that the kingdom of darkness will strike back.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. (Ephesians 6:10-13)
For the kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power. (1 Cor. 4:20)
Medicine: Idolatry in the Twenty First Century
A honest look at our present day medical system and its relationship to idolatrous religious practices throughout history involving such activities as child sacrifices. Is modern-day medicine the new religion?
The Authority to Heal
The subject of “authority” and health is one that affects every living person on the planet today, and everyone reading this article. Here in the 21st Century, various government agencies regulate “health” and operate under laws and regulations as to just who has the authority to practice healing. This would include the World Health Organization (WHO) internationally, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States.
“Health” of course is generally defined today as “practicing medicine,” and the authority given by government to “practice medicine” is tightly controlled through government licensing. Someone not licensed, or using unapproved products for healing, face arrest and imprisonment.
A similar situation existed during the First Century. Jesus and his disciples did not follow the laws set forth by the government body of their day, and their system of healing was far superior. When common people outside the educated ruling class dared to oppose their authority and implement healing in Jesus name, they faced arrest and even execution in the First Century.
The authority of Jesus is still in place today, as is his healthcare plan. Just as there was during the days and times of Jesus’ earthly life and immediately afterward, there is a competing health care system in place today that denies the authority of Jesus, and would feel threatened if enough people started being healed through Christ’s healthcare plan. To oppose the authority of today’s medical system and their approved cures is to risk punishment and even imprisonment.
The current healthcare system is not a “healthcare” system at all, but a “medical” system designed to bring great profit to the pharmaceutical companies and others who profit from treating sick people. If enough people started exercising the authority of Jesus to see cures without having to pay for medical care, it would threaten their business, and opposition would be just as fierce as it was during the days of Jesus and the early disciples. But will that ever happen?