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Sunday: The Golden Image — 13 Comments

  1. In all probability the image on the Plain of Dura was Marduk. Marduk has a long history of association with Babylon and is reported to have 50 names. Of interest to us too, he was often associated with a pet dragon called Mušḫuššu. His statue was typically paraded though the streets of Babylon as part of the spring festival.

    Marduk and Mušḫuššu
    Image from a Babylonian clay seal (Willis, Roy (2012). World Mythology. New York: Metro Books. p. 62. ISBN 978-1-4351-4173-5.)

    We are sometimes surprised that Nebuchadnezzar returned to worshiping images after a clear demonstration of the power of God. Perhaps we need to be reminded of how long it took for the Children of Israel to create and worship a golden calf after they heard the voice of God himself on Mount Sinai. One would have thought that after an event of such magnitude that would have obeyed God forever. Yet some six weeks later they were worshiping a piece of metal. If God's followers so easily forget the miraculous and take up idol worship, it is not surprising that Nebuchadnezzar reverts to the time-honored traditions of his culture and augments them.

    Here is a thought for us. We often pray for the latter rain, envisaging some high theatre, miraculous event, like dove-shaped flames descending on us at a prayer meeting. And that is going to transform us into evangelists who can do wondrous signs and preaching convincing sermons. In the light of the ineffectiveness of miracles as tools of conviction, maybe our expectation of the latter rain should be more mundane, teaching us to be humble consistent servants and good effective listeners.

    Here is what Jesus prayed for us after talking to his disciples about the work of the Holy Spirit:

    “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

    “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began! John 17: 20-24

    The witness of those who live their life united in Christ is more effective than miraculous events. Our God can use the ordinary!

    • Maurice; I have a special place in my heart for Australia even though I live in California because my daughter is a pharmacist in Camberra. She too is very concerned about the fires and she says that the fire season usually doesn’t start till February.

      The statue of Daniel three is in the neighborhood of 9 to 10‘ x 90 to 100 feet depending on which cubit you use. (Somewhere between 18 inches and 22 1/3 inches) So it would’ve been extremely phallic! The point you make about the children of Israel returning to idols makes it very easy to understand how Nebuchadnezzar could have reverted to idolatry.

      Thank you so very much for the commitment that you’ve made to this site…Royce

  2. "Sinful human beings resist acknowledging the fact that their material and intellectual accomplishments are vanity and are doomed to disappear."

  3. Avarice seems to be a very popular characteristic among leaders in governance. Power obsession is a part of their apparel. They clamor for power more than how they clamour for food. I heard of a first elder who had been in office for years. He served the church well and even bought things including a door from his pocket. After a while he became ineffective because he had become complacent and comfortable, as it were owning the position. When he was voted out of office the next year he took off the door he bought for the church and carried it home.
    Nebuchadnezzar was power hungry and apparently wanted to rule forever thus the entire image of gold. He was flying up into the face of God as he was convincing himself that what he was told by Daniel was not so. Little did he know.

    • Redva, what was the rest of the story? The Bible tells us the rest of the story of Samson and Solomon’s turn around which was a happy ending. The reading of those two stories in Patriarchs and Prophets, and Prophets and Kings is so wonderfully illuminating, not necessary for salvation, but just the some may not be drawn fully to Christ we’re it not these books.

  4. Rulers and gods:
    When the children of Israel got to the Promised Land the LORD set up a government that combined social laws and worship activities, for all of which He made the final decisions. If the people were thinking of going to war they first had to ask the LORD via the priests. Does that happen today?
    Israel's trouble came when they demanded a king like the other nations. Some of the kings (like David) followed the LORDs way but most did evil in the sight of the LORD. Many used religion to promote their power, they elevated themselves above the LORD like Nebuchadnezzar did.
    Through out history we see this happening whether pagan like Nebuchadnezzar or so-called Christians, the Rulers used their gods instead of serving them. After the Protestant Reformation we see the Rulers of countries like England and France killing people just because of their religion. Many fled to the Americas and even my country, South Africa, to escape being killed because they didn't worship the same way the Rulers did, just like Nebuchadnezzar was planning to kill those who didn't worship his gods. Are Rulers still forcing the people to worship their gods or the LORD in their way?
    Even when our government allows freedom of worship are groups setting up images and requiring compliance?
    Do I have images that I exalt above the LORDs way?
    What can be considered an "image" in this day and age?

  5. The dimensions of the image intrigues me, 60 and 6. The number/name of the beast (Rev 13:18) to which an image is commanded to be made is 600 60 and 6. Nebuchadnezzar’s image is the product of his “thinking” to change times, which is God’s domain (Dan 2:21). God established him as king of kings(Dan 2:37). He reasoned that his kingdom should rule to the end. It was taken away and given to Medes Persians.The Horn thought to “change times” too (Dan 7:25). But his dominion was taken away also but given to Christ. The 70 7s prophecy, to that end, was built on the 70 year motif. Daniel expected redemption restoration after 70 years in Babylon. God was more interested in 70 sevens to redemption through Christ.

  6. “How can you learn not to fall even on the most subtitle ways”?

    Learn what the foursome learned, obviously Nebuchadnezzar did not, later we shall see that God didn’t give up on Him. Now how can we keep from falling. Again. “Earnest prayer, humbling yourself by surrendering self to God, and by yielding to the Sovereign of Love, place your will on the side of God’s will, fall in love with God, garner a relationship with God daily. God will do all this for you if you are willing to be made willing. 2 Corinthians 10:5.

  7. The dream in chapter 2 was something true from God, where as Nebuchadnezzar sets up something false in Chapter 3, however, that seems quite parallel to the vision seen by John in Revelation 12 about the woman, where Catholic teaching today, says it represents Mary the queen of heaven and they make statues of her and worship her. That is some false teaching that Nebuchadnezzar also started back in his time which we see today about the truth which is being twisted into error by the Devil through his agents today.

  8. “But surprisingly enough, those previous theology lessons do not prevent Nebuchadnezzar from reverting back to idolatry. Why?”

    Why is it surprising that mere theology lessons are insufficient to foster the depth of change needed?

    Consider, for example, the Samaritan woman of John 4. It was the manner in which the person giving the theology lesson treated the Samaritan woman that opened the way for the woman to surrender to Jesus.

    The Kingdom of God is not first and foremost a set of doctrines to be presented - it is a total way of being that has as its foundation a ‘heart’ that desires love for God and for others rather than self-interest. This foundation bubbles up like a “spring of living water”, permeating what we think, say and do - how we relate to and treat others. This is why Paul said that Agape love is the greatest thing that exists (1 Corinthians 13:13) and why Jesus placed paramount importance upon its necessity (John 15:12-17; John 13:35).

  9. That's the same happening now in today's world... Catholic worshing the statue of Mary and misleading God people.

    • In the modern world there are much bigger issues than "Mary Worship". It has been a long time since a Catholic has tried to convince me to worship Mary but there are countless, often subtle invitations to worship hedonism and pleasure, continual reminders that religion is anachronistic, and that the only thing that matters is self.

      In our part of the world Catholics are struggling to find a reason for faith at all. Many have lost confidence in the Catholic Church and its leadership.


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