In the midst of the fiery furnace Jesus shows up!
In the midst of the fiery furnace Jesus shows up. This is not just a lesson for a Sunday School class but is a foreshadowing or “type” of what will happen at the end of this present age, as God the Father transitions human history into the age to come.
Well, dear friends, Jesus will show up for us in the future just as He did in the days of Daniel. When the “little horn” (Dan 7) has become great in the earth and demands that the whole world worship him, Jesus will be with us! Rather than imagine that we are safely “raptured to heaven” before the Great Tribulation (which is a commonly held belief in the church), I believe we are better served to read the many Old and New Testament examples of men and women being saved “in the midst” of persecution and tribulation!
From Daniel to Revelation
Can anyone miss the obvious typology from the image that King Nebuchadnezzar set up in Babylon to the future image that the Antichrist will set up in the temple in Jerusalem before the Last Battle? Nebuchadnezzar erected a 90 foot tall statue of gold on the plains of Dura in Babylon to reaffirm his position in the world as “king of kings” (Dan 2:37) and demanded the whole world worship it!
• King Nebuchadnezzar
Dan 3: 4-6 To you the command is given, O peoples, nations and men of every language…. you are to fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king has set up. But whoever does not fall down and worship shall immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire.
Rev 13: 15 And it was given to him [false prophet] 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.
Of course, those who love God cannot bow and fall down at the feet of a golden statue. Not in the past, not today, not in the future! When King Nebuchadnezzar heard that the the three Hebrew youths, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, would not worship his golden image he angrily ordered that the fiery furnace be heated up 7 times hotter than it ever was and threw in the three boys fully clothed (coats and hats!) and fully alive. They did not know their fate but they knew their God!!
Such a time is coming again for God’s chosen people!
The Fiery Furnace That Will Come at the End of This Age
Can we for a moment flash forward to the Last Days or the end of this age: one will come whose name is synonymous with Babylon and will arise from within the borders of the old Roman Empire, which stretches from London to Babylon. He will arise suddenly and without fanfare for Daniel (7: 8; 8:9) tells us that at the beginning he is a “little horn”.
Nimrod, the founder of Babylon —“The beginning of his kingdom was Babylon…” (Gen 10:10)—is the earliest expression or type in the Bible of the antichrist. All the true forerunners of antichrist have a special connection to Babylon: Nimrod, Nebuchadnezzar, Antiochus IV, Alexander the Great. Let’s be clear about the antichrist and his many types seen throughout history. Antichrist is not someone who is against Christ rather he seeks to exalt himself to be in the place of Christ!
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God. (2 Thess 2:3-4)
Then the king will do as he pleases, and he will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will speak monstrous things against the God of gods… nor will he show regard for any other god; for he will magnify himself above them all. Dan 11: 36-37
Anyways, back to King Nebuchadnezzar. In the midst of the fiery furnace Jesus shows up:
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!” (Dan 3:25)
The brave example in the midst of a terrible tyrant of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, who “yielded up their bodies so as not to serve or worship any god except their own God” (Dan 3: 28), mightily impacted King Nebuchadnezzar’s heart and allowed him to bless the one true God! It also brought great blessing and prosperity to the three youths.
“Then the king caused Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego to prosper in the province of Babylon.” (Dan 3:30)
What Bible scholars and popular authors are trying to defend as the “Pre-Tribulation rapture position”, I believe will run its course and run aground in the next decade. Many believers will need to rethink and change their beliefs. However the scriptures, as always, are our guide and they will lead us into all the truth. We must do our part, however, and be open to being led and guided by the Holy Spirit.
Yours for the Coming King,