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He is the Stranger in the Fire
The book of Daniel, in the Old Testament, was written by Daniel for the Jewish captives. Daniel wanted his fellow citizens to know that God, and God alone, rules sovereign over all the affairs of men. God will honor those who honor Him.
Daniel, along with three of his friends, all of whom were nobles in Jerusalem, receive preferential treatments when they were taken to Babylon as captives. They were instructed in all things Babylonian...culture, custom, religious worship and speech. Through it all, however, Daniel, and his fellow nobles, remained faithful to the one true God.
Daniel 3--The Image of God and the Fiery Furnace
Most all of us remember the story of Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego and what happened to them in the fiery furnace. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had an image of gold forged and set in place for all of Babylon to worship (Daniel 3:1-3). Then a declaration was made that anyone who did not worship this golden idol would be immediately, without trial or jury, thrown into a furnace that was hotter than hot (Daniel 3:4-7). Once this idol was set in place, the king called for a large gathering of people to bow down and worship this monstrosity; however, there were several Jews who refused to do so...Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. These three faithful Hebrew [young] men remained faithful to God (Daniel 3:12). King Nebuchadnezzar became infuriated and had these three young men brought before him for questioning. There response has become an example for all of us, even today. They made known to the king that they needed no defending, they were not going to bow and worship anything other than the one true God. And, that if their judgment was to be thrown into the fire, then so be it. They told the king that if God saved them, He saved them; but, if not, then He would not. Either way, it wouldn't matter because their allegiance was ever to God (Daniel 3:13-18). In the fire they went. But, when the king look again to see if the three men had burned up, he saw a fourth man walking around with the original three, they were all walking around unbound; they were bound when they were thrown into the fire. Not only were they walking around; but, they were shining as bright as the sun itself (Daniel 3:19-25). Nebuchadnezzar immediately had the men removed from the furnace, decreed that the Hebrew God be honored and promoted the three Hebrew men to positions of prominence within the Babylonian Empire (Daniel 3:26-30).
Who was the fourth Man, the Stranger, in the fire? It was the King of kings and the Lord of lords. There is no one like Him, nor shall there ever be anyone like Him. He is great and awesome and almighty. He is sovereign.
He is sovereign. And there is nothing that happens in Heaven or on the Earth that does not happen without His knowledge or without Him. He alone rules the universe in His splendor and majesty.
Daniel 4:17--"The decision is announced by messengers, the holy ones declare the verdict, so that the living may know that the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone He wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men."
How Great is Our God
Two Important things in the book of Daniel
1.) Daniel is the only Old Testament book to give a full description of our Father God in Heaven.
- He is called the Ancient of Days. His clothes were as white as snow. His hair was as white as wool. His throne was ablaze with brilliant fire, even the wheels that were on His throne.
- A river of fire flowed before Him. There was a great multitude that served Him, and an even greater multitude that stood in His presence. As the court came into session, several books were opened.
- The Son of man (Jesus) rode in on glorious clouds, approached the Father (the Ancient of Days) and stood in His presence as well.
2.) Daniel is the only book of the Bible that gives a complete description of Antichrist.
- He was terrifying, frightening and powerful beast. He had large iron teeth, and crushed and devoured victims. He had ten horns.
- A smaller horn came up from among the ten horns, and this horn uprooted three of the larger horns. This smaller horn had physical features similar to that of a man and spoke with an overwhelming sense of pride.
- This beast waged continuous war with all the saints of all time, and seemed to be winning the war he waged.
- A point in the battle comes when God (the Ancient of Days) passes judgment on him, taking from him the kingdoms of this Earth and giving these same kingdom to the saints.
- This beast is representative of a kingdom yet to appear. A kingdom that will take total control of the Earth.
- The ten horns are representative of ten kings that arise out of this beasts kingdom reign; but, then, a totally different king will arise and set three of these previous rulers up to pay him total allegiance.
- This ruler, who set himself above all other rulers, will blaspheme against the name of God and will persecute and oppress the saints. He will try to nullify every one of God's laws to set his own laws into action.
- But God's court will eventually call a halt to this ruler's rebelliousness and will destroy him.
- This false king, this antichrist will be very wicked, very sinful, very rebellious, in every way. He will rule harshly, he will be a master of surprise and disguise.
- He will be very strong; but, only through a limited power given him by Satan. He will cause devastation to all four corners of the globe, and will succeed in doing so.
- His weapons will be deceit and pride. He will even try to stand against Jesus, the Christ; but, in the end, He is completely destroyed...by Jesus, the Christ, alone.
- This false king will do what he wants, when he wants and how he wants to do it. He will be full of pride and will place himself above every god ever known to man, even the one true God that we serve. And, he will succeed in all these things.
- He won't even give honor to his own father or the gods that his fathers worships. He will set himself up as the only god to be worshiped.
- He will fully control property and commerce.
- Nations will start to wizen up and come after him, waging war with him; none will succeed. The only way to succeed is to align with the antichrist; Edom, Moab and Ammon do just that.
- Egypt's treasure and wealth will be confiscated by him, and Egypt herself will fall to submission before him.
- His goal is to annihilate and destroy as many people and countries as he can.
- At the end, there will be no one standing who will be able to help him.
In Hosea, He is forever faithful.
Hosea is oftentimes known as "the Prophet of Divine Love," he was a native of Israel and was God's spokesperson during one of the darkest hours the nation had ever known. His own heart break (an unfaithful wife) was a personal cross for Hosea to bear; but, he was also witness to the apostasy (the abandonment or renunciation of a religious beliefs) of his countrymen. But, Hosea, like many of the Old Testament prophets knew God's love for His wayward, sinful and rebellious children and sought to pull the people to repentance.