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Church and State
The King Legislates Idolatry

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Background
In Chapter 2, we saw how Nebuchadnezzar learned that his kingdom was the head of gold. His empire would be overthrown by the silver empire of the Medo-Persians, who would in turn be overthrown by another.

» The Pagan Golden Age. Here we see Nebuchadnezzar attempting to install himself as the king of the golden empire by forcing the whole world to worship a golden image. His behavior was probably due to ancient pagan religious beliefs. They believed that time repeated itself in cycles. In these, a golden age was followed by a silver, bronze and then a dark or iron age. In the iron age, God came and destroyed the kingdoms and started a new golden age.
According to the vision of chapter 2, he was told that he was the king of the golden empire. So he probably expected the characteristics of that era to appear. In his religion, people lived to be 100,000 in the golden age. There was no vice, only wisdom, piety and virtue. People loved religion. Therefore, he must have thought that it was his duty to promote religion among a people who would welcome religion.
Unfortunately, it is also a story about the terrible consequences of church and state combining to legislate worship. This experience is an example and a warning of what will happen to God's people in the end time.

This chapter is historical instead of prophetic. However, the issues that evolved have a striking resemblance to the issues in the last days. Therefore, they will help those faced with the threat of death by the beast of Revelation 13 during the persecution of the Mark of the Beast.

Type The Number Of The Image (66)
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. (Daniel 3: 1)
Babylon the Great
Daniel 3 is a foretaste of the Mark of the Beast. His number is 666. (Revelation 13: 11-18)

» The Dimensions Of The Image: The giant gold statue is 60 cubits by 6 cubits which is visually equivalent to 66 in two dimensions. Scholars also say that if an object is square, only one value is given. So the image was 60 by 6 by 6 cubits. Notice the similarity to the number 666.
The number of the final beast is six hundred, sixty and six in three dimensions. It is a three dimensional number instead of the two dimensional measurement of this statue. When David killed the giant Goliath, his armor and measurements were 600 and 6 (1 Samuel 17: 4-7).

A Global Religious Test
The Government. 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. 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.
The Entertainment Industry (The Sound of Music). Then the herald loudly proclaimed: "To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, 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.
Death Penalty. "But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be thrown into the middle of a furnace of blazing fire."
Global Idolatry. 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 worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.
(Daniel 3: 2-7)
The Changed Commandments
In this issue, they were forced to break the first two commandments.

At the end of time, people will be forced to break the first four commandments. These show our love and respect for God.

The issues involved a global event.

Conspiracy To Create Law Breakers
For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews. ... There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up. (Daniel 3: 8,12)
Here we see the enemies of the Jews taking the opportunity to get rid of them.

Sentenced To Death (The Wrath Of Nebuchadnezzar)
Wrath. Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Nebuchadnezzar responded and said to them, "Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready, at the moment you hear the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery and bagpipe and all kinds of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, very well. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the middle of a furnace of blazing fire;
The Challenge. and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?
Faithfulness. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. "If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
Death Penalty. Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with wrath, and his facial expression was altered toward Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. He answered by giving orders to heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated.
(Daniel 3: 13-19)

Rescued By God!
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, "Was it not three men we cast bound into the middle of the fire? They replied to the king, "Certainly, O king." He said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the middle of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!" (Daniel 3: 24-25)
The Wrath of the Beast
Just like these three faithful Hebrew men, the church will not escape tribulation in the last days. However, God will be with us.

God will respond to the wrath of the beast with His own wrath.
He will respond with seven plagues - Satan's prescription for wrath.
The Son of God came and tabernacled with them in their persecution. Many times when God appeared in the Old Testament, we see the glory of His presence referred to as a burning fire, a smoking furnace, or a consuming fire. This is why they will survive at the lake of fire and the wicked will not.
So if the righteous can live in the presence of God's fiery hot glory, they can survive Nebuchadnezzar's puny fire.
This example shows that God rescues us through the trials. He does not snatch us away.

More Religious Laws
Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation or tongue that speaks anything offensive against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego shall be torn limb from limb and their houses reduced to a rubbish heap, because there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way. (Daniel 3: 29)
Although he acknowledges the true God, we see that he has not learned his lesson. Now, thinking that he has found the true God, he tries to legislate religion again. He did not learn that he cannot bring about true worship with human laws. Because, even though his laws protect the true God from blasphemy, they still acknowledge lesser gods.

Repeat Repetition and Enlargement
Holy Land
The events at the end time merge both the events of the persecution by Babylon and the Persian conquest.
Eastern Kings. The sixth angel poured his bowl on the great river, the Euphrates; and its water was dried up, so that the way would be prepared for the kings from the east. (Revelation 16: 12)
In the end, Babylon the Great falls after the kings of the east dry up the Euphrates river, just like ancient Babylon.

Signs Local Sign. In the end, the king of the north falls after he chases rumors from the north and east. The king of the north is also Babylon the Great.
Rumors from the North East. But rumors from the east and from the north will disturb him, and he will go forth with great wrath to destroy an annihilate many. (Daniel 11: 44)

So we conclude that because the occupation of Iraq appears to be a local fulfillment, the hostilities with Iran are also a local sign that the fulfillment is near.
Babylon The Great Exodus
Now Time 1981United States Defeats and Occupies IraqUnited States Conflict with IranBabylon the Great FallsBack to Heaven
United States becomes Babylon the GreatForced Sunday WorshipImage to the Beast Idolatry (666)
Past Time 609BCAncient Babylon Babylon Falls 539 BCAncient Persia Back to Israel
Idol IdolatryFurnace of Fire Fiery Furnace Changed Worship Time Hungry LionsThe Lion's Den
As we are experiencing the fulfillment signs, we see that the world is politically and psychologically being brought back to these times because we will inherit the punishment of our ancestors when we repeat their mistakes.
Babylon the Great will fall under the same geo-political circumstances as ancient Babylon.

Type A Pattern In The End
The Persecution
Issue Daniel Revelation
1 Nation Babylon Babylon the Great
2 Forced Worship Worship the golden image Worship the image of the beast
3 Number 66 666
4 Global All nations and languagesAll the world
5 Commandments First and secondFirst four
6 Death Penalty Furnace of fireKilled
7 Defeated by Eastern Kings Persia (King of the East)Jesus at the right hand of the Father comes from the east
The exodus of Israel back to the Promised Land did not occur until after the fall of Babylon, after the conflict with Persia. If our end time events follow this pattern, we will see the Sabbath test occur after the Iranian conflict. Those hostilities began in 1979-81.
Our persecution includes both the tests of idolatry and worship time and petitioning a man.
Babylon the Great commits all these crimes because it is a combination of all the powers from Babylon to Rome.

Body Nation BabylonBabylon the Great
Gold Idol
Head BabylonGold Idol
Chest and Arms Persia
Belly and Thighs Greece
Legs Rome
Feet Europe

Type Babylon The Great: The Image Of Gold.
The dream indicated that Babylon would only be the head of gold. But in His arrogance Nebuchadnezzar made the entire image of gold and then demanded that it must be worshipped under penalty of death. He wanted no rival kingdoms to emerge. So the entire statue was gold.
These are the same dynamics in the end. Babylon the head becomes Babylon the Great when Babylon claims the entire world as his kingdom and suppresses any rivals.
And it was given to him to give breath to the image of the beast, so that the image of the beast would even speak and cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed. (Revelation 13: 15)

Study to show yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.   2 Timothy 2: 15 Time: 20 minutes
Print: 4 pages
Copyright     Updated: July 2010
Credits:
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Author: Laverna Patterson. Editor: Patterson (January 2008)