Thursday, December 9, 2010

days of future passed

The Word for today:
Daniel 4

The Bible is full of prophecy.  Everyone knows that.

But sometimes prophecy can blend into the background, and we don't even know it's there.

Daniel chapter 3--the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego--is an example.  As we read of their heroic faith we may be unaware of the prophetic treasure buried just beneath the surface of the story.

So the next time you encounter the tale of our young heroes in the fiery furnace, stop to consider that the plot and characters of the story form a prophetic outline of a time, yet in the future, called the Great Tribulation:

Nebuchadnezzar = Antichrist, who decrees enforcement of universal idolatry.  The attempt to bring the peoples of the world under a "world religion" (as was the tower of Babel) will reappear the end of the age when the dragon, the beast, and the image of the beast will be worshiped under compulsion. (Revelation 13:4-15; 14:9-11; 19:20; 20:4; compare 2 Thessalonians 2:4.)

 Fiery furnace = suffering.

Image = abomination of desolation.  (See Daniel 11:31; 12:11; Matthew 24:15.)

3 Hebrew youths = the Jewish remnant miraculously preserved.

Daniel = the redeemed, the church, which is removed (at the Rapture) from the Great Tribulation. Daniel did not go through the fiery furnace with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; he was probably away on state business.

The characters and events of the Bible often reflect, with crystal clarity, into the future.  Indeed, prophecy is so certain, and so timeless, that events of the past can seem to have reflected "backward," from the future!