Dan 3:1 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. Dan 3:2 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. Dan 3:3 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. Dan 3:4 Then the herald loudly proclaimed: "To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language, Dan 3:5 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. Dan 3:6 "But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire." Dan 3:7 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 worshiped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Nebuchadnezzar has committed the ungodly sin that is common to this very day, he has set up a false god of his own invention. A cubit is the distance of about 18 inches or the distance from the Elbow to the Tip of the Extended Middle Finger. This make the statue about 9 foot wide and about 90 foot high by my calculation. Any follower of God will find their-selves in serious trouble. The life application here is to be careful of what and whom you worship. When I purchased my first new car I did everything I could for that car. I kept the interior and the exterior clean and polished. I dressed the tire with Tire Black and replaced them long before they were worn out. I worshiped my car. It wasn't 90 foot tall and it wasn't layered with Gold but most of our gods, today, aren't. Dan 3:8 For this reason at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and brought charges against the Jews. Dan 3:9 They responded and said to Nebuchadnezzar the king: "O king, live forever! Dan 3:10 "You, O king, have made a decree that every man who hears the sound of the horn, flute, lyre, trigon, psaltery, and bagpipe and all kinds of music, is to fall down and worship the golden image. Dan 3:11 "But whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire. Dan 3:12 "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." Hatred of the Jewish People and of the true Christian Followers of God has always prevailed and today the nation known world wide as “The Christian Nation,” the US and the nation of Israel are scheduled for extinction. And here, we find the Chaldeans working a plan of hatred to remove three of the very men, responsible for the very air in their lungs and still they hated these, awful, Honest Jews. It is possible, because of their positions in Government, that they helped write this law and planed this from the beginning. Now, this is really easy to apply to our lives but most do not wish to learn this lesson and are continually amazed when persecuted. This trouble will even come from folks calling themselves Christian. In one of my jobs as a driver I had the knife of a Baptist Sunday School Teacher in my back, over and over, for better than 9 years. I was not taken to relieve the company of supplies and according to him caused him to lose a good deal of money when we wou8ld co-drive a run. He stabbed all he could with the lies and I prayed for him every day. In the end of it he took a stance that backed him into a corner and he was fired for it. But I'll give some strong advice here, never pray for God to bless your enemy because if the LORD tires of the lack of response, the coals of fire God pours over him will break your heart. Dan 3:13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in rage and anger gave orders to bring Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego; then these men were brought before the king. Dan 3:14 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? Dan 3:15 "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 midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?" This is the life application where we learn who the sheep and who the goats in the Church are. Just like these young Jewish men, if we live until the Rapture, we in the US will experience the same persecution of Christians found in China, all the Arab nations, India and many other nations of the world. If you are in the Church to be safe, forget it. When the Anti-Christ is revealed, just after or about the same time as the Rapture, we will have run through the mill, attempting to move us away from the One God and into Satan's Camp. Dan 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. Dan 3:17 "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. Dan 3:18 "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." There are many thoughts on why Nebuchadnezzar was so enraged but what I see is that the King is about to lose, in his thoughts, ¾ of the honest and wise men in his government. These young believers were fully aware f their Saviour and they were refusing to worship any other gods, not even the king's personal invention Dan 3:19 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. Dan 3:20 He commanded certain valiant warriors who were in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego in order to cast them into the furnace of blazing fire. Dan 3:21 Then these men were tied up in their trousers, their coats, their caps and their other clothes, and were cast into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire. Dan 3:22 For this reason, because the king's command was urgent and the furnace had been made extremely hot, the flame of the fire slew those men who carried up Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. Dan 3:23 But these three men, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, fell into the midst of the furnace of blazing fire still tied up. Dan 3:24 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 midst of the fire?" They replied to the king, "Certainly, O king." Dan 3:25 He said, "Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!" Now you can see why I think that Nebuchadnezzar was more mad at the idea of killing these men than at their violation of the law he had proclaimed. He heated the furnace so as to kill them fast and he, carefully, watched over them. He has lost, at least, three of his best fighters and now 5 men are walking around in the furnace. I see the Saviour, Jesus, walking with and rescuing them in and from the fire. And our life lesson here is to be very careful as we look upon and rationalize the working of God. Nebuchadnezzar was almost correct and yet, as far as Heaven is from Hell, wrong. During a recent Hurricane two trees were felled at my house by the storm and yet, the one between my house and the shop, hit neither building. With about 18 foot between the two and a storage shed about 25 foot from the tree at the end of the clear space sits a new storage shed and neither building was struck by the tree, about seventy foot tall. The wind broke the tree in half and hung the top of the tree on a branch with the tip top of the tree about two foot from the ground. A miracle? I believe so! Dan 3:26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, "Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!" Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire. Dan 3:27 The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king's high officials gathered around and saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire even come upon them. Dan 3:28 Nebuchadnezzar responded and said, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who has sent His angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him, violating the king's command, and yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God. Dan 3:29 "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, inasmuch as there is no other god who is able to deliver in this way." Dan 3:30 Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon. Even Nebuchadnezzar must admit thaqt the God who had given Daniel the knowledge of his dream had protected Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego when even the King's most potent and powerful warriors had expired as they carried these men in to the fire. The most delicate part of man, his hair, had not been affected by the fire and they were untouched, except, maybe, for the bindings on their arms and legs. Life lesson? There is nothing that can over power our Saviour and that being true, we must tie the Old Testament, the Bible Jesus taught from, directly to the New Testament. A few, not many, have had a problem with my view of the Testaments because as I read the scriptures I find Jesus, Paul and the others referencing the Old Testament making the New Testament a Life Application Commentary of the Bible the first Saints and Jesus taught from. Once I had submitted my will to the will of God, as directed by the indwelling Holy Spirit I began to see this and my entire view of God began to expand and to grow in leaps and bounds. Not bad for a man with an Eighth Grade Education and a GED. If you will submit your life to the will of God you will not be just saved, you will be the Bride of Christ. (See Matt. 22:1-14) I see no good reason to arrive in Heaven, just, to be a guest at the wedding feast. The reference of the Matthew passage here requires more input, so, here it is. Jesus is speaking in this passage and teaches us that this parable is a Word Picture of Heaven. We know that anyone in the First Rapture is saved but what I see here is that not everyone thaqt is saved is a member of the Bride of Christ. Be well grounded here if you ever choose to teach this because you will be seen as stepping on the toes of many of those in attendance. It is a very common belief that anyone going to Heaven is a member of the Bride. I find this to be true because of the lack of Matt. 22:1-14 not being taught and we must remember the, single, most important rule of understanding scripture, “No scripture, nor any group of scripture can ever be fully understood without the light of all other scripture. God Bless.