October 6, 2014



Three Young Men Who Refused to Compromise

No exceptions to the king’s rule would be tolerated. Now, once again, Daniel’s three friends had to make a decision. They knew the Scriptures, and I’m sure their minds were racing to the first two commandments of Moses they’d memorized years before from the Book of Exodus:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:3-4).

For these three Hebrew children that was all they needed to remember. It was no longer a dilemma. They had always obeyed the law of God. Daniel served under six kings and always honored them-even when their point of view differed with some of his own opinions. But on the question of allegiance to the God of Israel, Daniel never compromised.

Early on, his three Hebrew friends had also refused to compromise. Rather than worry about incurring the wrath of an earthly king, their greater concern was that they not subject themselves to the wrath of their living God. Now, once again, even as they had earlier refused to eat the rich food from the king’s table, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to sacrifice their respect for God’s law on a pagan altar.

Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live forever.

Thou O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image.

And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee, they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

The people who bowed to the ruling powers had a problem with our three Hebrew friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Jealousy and a large dose of anti-Semitism were factors in their dislike of these foreigners who had been given lofty positions by the king. Undoubtedly, some of these threatened Chaldeans snitched on Daniel’s companions, and before long, word of the Hebrews’ insubordination was passed on to the king. Their charge: rebellion against the king and the law of the land. And what better proof of the allegation than the fact that the young men had remained standing before the image while Nebuchadnezzar’s minions lay flat on their faces in worship. Get the furnace ready for three young Hebrews.

Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded them to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sack but, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

But if not, be it know unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Spiritual Fortitude

Mission accomplished. When Nebuchadnezzar heard of the acts of the rebellious young Jews, he flew into one of his typical rages, demanding that these alleged traitors be brought before him. But to his credit-and perhaps the first crack in Nebuchadnezzar’s becoming more compliant-he asked Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego if they’d really done this dastardly deed, perhaps secretly hoping the report was not true.

King Nebuchadnezzar didn’t take the Chaldean’s word at face value. He left the door open for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego to take the trip out to the plain of Dura again and make amends for their unpatriotic actions-or lack of action. All they would have to do would be drop to their knees when the desert orchestra struck up its opening number once again.

I can almost hear Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego saying, “O king, we really don’t want to go out there to Dura again. Because even if we did, we would not bow to the great gold statue. It’s not that we don’t respect you, it’s just that you are not God, and we bow only to God.” Spiritual guts! That’s the best phrase I can think of. Intestinal fortitude and courage born of spiritual integrity, all of which translated into a resounding, “No, king, we just can’t do that.” And with their final refusal, they told the king they were prepared to be led into the fiery furnace.

We Christians today need to appreciate the resolute spirit of these young men: They were not arrogant before the king. The Hebrews did not equivocate or evade the issue. They spoke their minds as children of God. How many times have we kept our allegiance to Jesus under wraps, saying, along with Peter, “I never knew the man!”? Not so for these young men. They spoke the truth without fear, knowing what would happen if the king refused to change his mind.

These three young Hebrews were prepared to abide by the rules, even if it meant suffering as a consequence. Only God knows how many millions of other faithful followers throughout history have gone to their own “fiery furnaces” or “lions’ dens” for their faith-including the torture and persecution that continues to exist throughout our world today for all modern-day Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abed-negos.

The die was now cast. The young Hebrews admitted that they were guilty as charged. They felt no need to justify their position because they knew God would protect and defend them. But note one of the most amazing verses in this entire passage: "But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up” (3:18). Imagine the maturity and faith of three young men who could say, “King, even if our God does not deliver us from your fiery furnace, we still will not serve your gods or worship your desert statue. We just will not do it!”

Just One More Miracle, God

They knew their God was a God of miracles, and I’m confident that their minds quickly raced back to how Moses had led the children of Israel through the Red Sea, and how tens of thousands of the children of Israel walked through on dry ground, without one of them dying. If God could do that kind of miracle then, why not another miracle now!

Later, the apostle Paul would write in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” That was the courageous spirit of the three Hebrew teenagers. Each time I read this passage, I’m overwhelmed at the bold faith of Daniel’s friends. It’s my earnest prayer that you and I would trust our God enough to be just as faithful were we to find ourselves in a similar situation.

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

Just like a chameleon, Nebuchadnezzar changed his tune from the earlier conciliatory “let’s give them one more chance” to his usual uncontrollable rage as he sent the three Hebrew men to their death in the furnace, now heated seven times hotter than usual.

The king had perhaps expected that the determined, Hebrews would strike a deal. After all, what’s a little thing like bowing down to an image if the only alternative is burning to a crisp in a furnace? But the king was wrong. Again: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were in no mood for deal-making. I’m sure those who were eavesdropping on this tense palace discussion also may have expected some form of compromise to emerge, but there would be no compromise when it came to things of the living God.

Here was a king before whom the nations trembled, and to whom rulers of the known world willingly gave homage.. . and now three young Jewish upstarts had the audacity to just say no! The king probably wanted to save their lives from destruction, but he’d painted himself into a political corner with his incontrovertible decree, a manifesto that was as immutable as any law of the Medes or the Persians. The king found himself with no choice but to heat up the furnace.

More Than Just a Bible Story

Again, this is more than biblical history. This is a dramatic picture of Jewish people and Gentile converts. The Bible reminds us that millions will be saved during the Tribulation hour. Revelation 7:14 says,

These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”

They will be going through the seven years of Tribulation, which the body of Christ, the Church, escapes via the Rapture (Revelation 4:1). On the other hand, 144,000 Jewish evangelists will proclaim the message of the coming Kingdom, and millions of Jewish and Gentile converts will somehow survive, though rejecting the mark of the beast.

So just as Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace be made seven times hotter for the three Hebrew children, so the seven-year period of Tribulation will be a hot, volatile period in which millions of God’s newly born-again children will be placed in the fire of an anti-God atmosphere. But I repeat-multitudes of Jews and Christians will somehow miraculously survive, though rejecting the mark of the beast (Daniel 12:1; Matthew 25:31-34).


The Quest for Peace

I heard a story recently about a nagging wife who kept writing complaining letters to her serviceman husband who was on combat duty in another country. Finally, after receiving yet another hateful letter, the husband wrote back, “Will you please stop writing me vicious letters so I can fight this war in peace?”

We all want peace, don’t we? Personally and nationally we crave it. Yet, so few of us find it. I’ve read that over half the beds in our hospitals today are filled with people who have mental problems. These individuals have desperately sought for peace but haven’t found it. At last, they have reached the place where they can no longer cope with life, and they have become ill.

A noted doctor once said that if all the tranquilizers were taken away from the American people, we would have a national nervous breakdown so big there wouldn’t be enough well people to take care of the sick ones. People who take tranquilizers are trying to push the turbulence in their lives out of their minds. They have to resort to a little pill to put them in “peaceful” oblivion.

My heart goes out to those who do not know the meaning of peace. Each day is a repetition of the previous one, filled with hostility, despair, and loneliness. They are miserable, frustrated, and unhappy with themselves and everyone around them.

A picture of peace

Remember the story of the rich man who commissioned an artist to paint him a picture illustrating true peace. The artist painted a beautiful picture of a lake surrounded by trees. In the distance were majestic, snow-covered mountains.

When the rich man saw it, he shook his head. “It’s very beautiful,” he told the artist, “but it’s not a picture of true peace. Please try again.”

This time the artist thought a long time before he began to paint. On the canvas, he painted a huge, thundering waterfall. He showed the water churning over the falls and crashing onto rocks far below. Then, at one side of the waterfall, he painted a birch tree whose slender branches reached out over the roaring water. On one of the branches, he painted a little bird sitting quietly and contentedly on her nest, oblivious to the danger around her.

That is true peace — not an escape from the pressures and trials of life but the quiet repose of a heart at rest with God. Jesus said, These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Jesus’ life was anything but peaceful. Yet, His last legacy to His disciples and to all those who would follow Him was the promise of peace. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27).

I love the old hymn that goes:

Trust and rest when all around thee
Puts thy faith to sorest test;
Let no fear or foe confound thee,
Wait for God and trust and rest.
Trust and rest with heart abiding,
Like a birdling in its nest,
Underneath His feathers hiding,
Fold thy wings and trust and rest.

I don’t know the things in your life that cause you unrest and destroy your peace. But I want to remind you that there is a way to handle them. God has given us guidelines that can take us through these troublesome times.

Guidelines for troubled times

In His sermon on the mount, Jesus said, Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God (Matthew 5:9). What does that mean to you in your everyday life? It means that if you will turn your thoughts to God, He will take control. Then, regardless of the conditions around you, you have His abiding peace, joy, patience — whatever you need at the moment — to draw on.

The Apostle Paul tells us that He [Jesus] is our [way of] peace (Ephesians 2:14). It’s only when we follow after Him that the walls of hostility which surround us come tumbling down. He is our way of living at peace with others. Paul also speaks of those who do not seek after God, and he observes that they do not know the way of peace (see Romans 3:17).

A verse that has helped so many who were going through turbulent times is Isaiah 26:3, Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. When you keep your mind on the Lord and trust unwaveringly in Him, you can truly live in peace though the world around you be filled with turmoil and strife.

My prayer for you today is that… the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:7).

CHANGED LIVES-one at a time

Thank you for your heart for a lost and dying world. You gather the facts and leave no stone unturned for the sake of winning the lost. A perfect blend of the practical with the spiritual. You’ve been instrumental in helping me to memorize scripture to help pray for others. Seen many mighty answers from God as He watches over His Word to hasten it. {Jer. 1.12}.

God bless you,

Doug D.


Please stay safe Dr. Van Impe and Dr. Mrs. Van Impe I saw your show Saturday night and am concerned about the death threats you are getting, I am praying for you & your family. Some people just cannot handle the truth that Jesus’ return is imminent and Islam is basically Satan worship. I respect you very much for telling the truth no matter what. God bless you and God bless our Military who are flying in harm’s way attacking ISIS in Syria. I will continue praying for you, take care

Eric B.


Enemies of the Cross

Drs. Jack and Rexella Van Impe have prepared this powerful new video teaching to show you the Enemies of the Cross and how to defeat them. You will discover the answers to critical questions such as:

  • Who is calling the cross ‘useless’, and why?
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