The Bible is a historical book as well as a spiritual one. As such, it contains many important historical leaders and describes their impact on the nation of Israel. These people are not often used as symbols in the Bibles, but their influence on the history of God’s people carries symbolic importance because of the particular interactions they had. The Jews look back on these leaders as people who operated under the sovereign will of God either to help them as an instrument of mercy or to test and punish them as an executor of his just wrath.
Continue reading SIGNS AND SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (XERXES THE GREAT “and Other Significant Rulers”)
The Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego runs parallel to that Daniel. Like the prophet of lions’ den fame, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were Jewish captives living in Babylon. Like Daniel, they earned positions as wise and trustworthy advisers of the king of Babylon. And like him, they inspired envy and enmity among their Babylonian counterparts in the king’s government. Continue reading MEN OF THE BIBLE (SHADRACH, MESHACH, AND ABEDNEGO: INTO THE FIRE)
Trust in God is not a bargain we offer in exchange for freedom from pain, persecution, or threat of natural disaster. Trusting God means we don’t waver when things are not turning out the way we planned. Daniel’s friends told the king they Continue reading DOES TRUSTING GOD MEAN NOTHING BAD WILL HAPPEN TO US?
Nothing humbles likes utter humiliation. Ever though Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with God’s power in the furnace incident, he did not come to terms with his own standing before God. His pride and position caused him to accept the worship of others as if he were a god. Continue reading WHY DID KING NEBUCHADNEZZAR LOSE HIS MENTAL HEALTH?
In a few places in the Bibles, the term beast is used in its modern descriptive sense of la menacing or mindless animal whose behavior is somewhat unpredictable. Jacob compared his son Issachar to a donkey or beast of burden (Gen 49:14), creating a picture of capacity and stubbornness as strong traits in his ninth born. Many biblical monsters seem to be mythical, or at least are symbolic of threats of God’s order and authority in the world. But unlike the monstrous beasts of surrounding cultures and religions, God retains power over all the beasts and chaos in the world, and will ultimately defeat them. Continue reading SIGNS SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (BEAST)
Learning new things can be hard work. Are you reading a hard book? Are you prepared for the challenge as well as the fun of learning? Do you attack your work in the same way a top athlete trains and practices? Daniel and his friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (also called Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were in an interesting “school.” They had been taken from their homes in Jerusalem to be trained to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. They were to be educated for three years and served the royal food. But the four young Israelites refused the rich food and wine, choosing Continue reading HOW TO TACKLE A TOUGH ASSIGNMENT
In the book of Daniel, written years before Rome burst on the world scene, a Jewish exile in Persia interpreted a dream for King Nebuchadnezzar. The dream featured a huge statue made of different layers of material: gold, silver, bronze, iron, and iron mixed with clay. Daniel’s interpretation revealed that each layer of the towering image represented a kingdom that would rise, with that golden section representing Babylon, the reigning superpower of that day. Comparing this sequence to history, we discover Continue reading SIGNS & SYMBOLS OF THE BIBLE (ROME)