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5 - "Who Is That God?"
    Daniel 3 is an important chapter as it relates to the many themes of the Book of Daniel.  The historical context is that God's people are in captivity in Babylon.  There is an arrogant and defiant king who insists on exalting himself and his empire.  And even after receiving a divine revelation of a mysterious dream, he is bent on promoting himself and his kingdom in defiance of what our God revealed.  These events are a mirror of Daniel 7-12 and of earth's final conflict.

I.   Defiance of the King - in contrast to the stone that filled the earth.
     A.  He erects a gold image - 60 cubits high and 6 cubits wide - emphasis on the number 6 in describing
           the size - to 666
     B.  Jews referred Daniel as the "Abomination of Desolation."  - They saw it as the antichrist as referenced in
           Daniel 7,8 as the "little horn", the desolater of Daniel 9, and the willful king of Daniel 11.
     C.  "Abomination" - a term applied to idols and Desolation implies destructive oppressions against
           God's people.
     D.  By erecting this image he forces worship on pain of death - a union of church and state.

II.  Astrologers betray the Hebrew men - vs. 8 - Their lives were spared because of Daniel and his friends,
     yet jealousy drives them to accuse.  (Matthew 24:9,10)

III.  "Who is that God?" - In the king's mind the God of the Hebrews is a smart God (He reveals secrets and mysteries), but is powerless to prevent his punishment.  He builds a furnace as if to expect dissenters.  Jehovah, in his mind, is no more powerful than the other gods of Babylon.

IV.  The three Hebrews will not yield their loyalty to God.  Daniel 3:17,18
     A.  An issue of the commandments of God vs. the commandments of men
     B.  God wants loyalty, not sinlessness
     C.  God wants our dependence and trust, not just our agreement.  Matthew 16:24-26

V.  God miraculously preserves and delivers His loyal subjects.  He takes His people through the storm.  
      Isaiah 43:1-3; Romans 8:31,32


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