What Did They Really Say?

Barry Bennett

In the book of Daniel we find the amazing story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. For their refusal to worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up, they were being threatened with death in a fiery furnace.

The traditional interpretation of the story has Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego responding to the threat in this way: “If it is true that you will throw us into the fiery furnace then our God will deliver us out of your hand, O King.” “But if He doesn’t, we still won’t serve you.” (Daniel 3:16-18)

This unfortunate interpretation gives rise to the exaltation of double mindedness. Think about it for a minute. Their first response is to declare that God will deliver them from the furnace and the edict of the King. Then they supposedly continue by saying that if God doesn’t come through, they still won’t bow to the image. Huh? Obviously if they are dead, they won’t be bowing to any image. Not only is the response nonsensical, it is double minded.

What did they really say? We must first understand that this passage was written in Aramaic. Words are important and it is very important that we understand their meanings apart from religious tradition. Here is the dialogue:

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 known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

”The phrase ‘if it be so’ is the Aramaic word ‘hen.’ If what be so? In verse 15 these men of God are threatened with being cast into the furnace. Their reply ‘if it be so’ is referring to the threat. ‘If it be so that you throw us into the furnace…”

They then continue: “But if not.” But if not what? The Aramaic words here are ‘hen la.’ The ‘la’ is the negative added to the original ‘hen.’ Hen = if it be so. Hen la = if it be not so. The original declaration was in regards to the threat. The following ‘hen la’ is with regards to the same threat!

This is what is being said: “If it be so that you throw us into the furnace, our God will deliver us. If it be not so (if you change your mind and don’t throw us in the furnace) be it known to you that we still won’t serve your gods…”Not only does this make perfect sense, it also delivers our heroes from the foolish double mindedness that has been attributed to them for so long. Their declaration is a declaration of faith. “God WILL deliver us. And if you change your mind, King, be sure that we still won’t worship your gods.

”This is what they really said. Don’t let tradition rob you of a powerful example of faith and deliverance!

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Abraham’s Legacy and Blessing

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD Deuteronomy 6:4

There are many blessings given to mankind through the faithfulness of Abraham, but the key blessing is to recognize the sovereignty of the One who is the source of all blessings.  Abraham gave that legacy not only to Israel, but to all of his children.  And as Paul wrote some years after Moses penned the above verse,  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. Rom 11:29   Abraham had different seed by Hagar, Sarah and Keturah and different blessings were given to these seeds.  The blessing that Christians are most interested in is the blessing through Isaac.  But, this does not nullify the blessings given to the other offspring.  For example, the angel blessed Ishmael and Isaac blessed Esau with their individual and unique blessings.   It goes without saying that some of  the blessings were greater than others. However,  all of Abraham’s children had the blessing of the knowledge of the true God and that “The LORD our God is one LORD:”

Once Abram had firmly established his own belief in one God, then there began an outworking of that belief to his family members – starting with his father, Terah.   Abram came to his father’s house and played along with the ritual of setting food and drink offerings before the twelve idols.  And Abram viewed them, and behold they had neither voice nor hearing, nor did one of them stretch forth his hand to the meat to eat.  And in the evening of that day in that house Abram was clothed with the spirit of God.  And called out and said, Woe unto my father and this wicked generation, whose hearts are all inclined to vanity, who serve these idols of wood and stone which can neither eat, smell, hear nor speak … And when Abram saw all these things his anger was kindled against his father, and he hastened and  took a hatchet in his hand, and came unto the chamber of the gods, and he broke all his father’s gods.  And when he done breaking the images, he placed the hatchet in the hand of the great god which was there before them and he went out;  … Jash 11:30-34

Naturally, when Terah came in and saw all the destruction, he called Abram on the carpet to explain how all this happened.  Abram told him that he had offered meat  before the gods and the small gods all reached forth there hands to eat before the great god could eat.  Then the great god saw this and took a hatchet and chopped up the small gods – and the hatchet was still in the hand of the great god.  And Terah’s anger was kindled against his son Abram, when he spoke this; and Terah said to Abram his son in anger, What is this tale that thou hast told? Thou speakest lies to me.  Is there in these gods spirit, soul or power to do all thou hast told me.  Are they not wood and stone, and have I not myself made them, and canst thou speak such lies, saying that the large god that was with them smote them?  It is thou that didst place the hatchet in his hands, and then sayest he smote them all.  And Abram answered his father and said to him, And how canst thou then serve these idols in whom there is no power to do any thing?  Can those idols in whom thou trustest deliver thee?  Can they hear thy prayers when thou callest upon them.  can they deliver thee from the hands of thy enemies, that thou shouldst serve wood and stone which can neither speak nor hear?  Jash 11:41-43

After Abram’s destruction of the idols, one event led to another so that it became known to King Nimrod that he had been deceived about Abram being killed as a child – and here he was stirring up trouble in Nimrod’s kingdom.  Nimrod confronted him and Abram replied:  O foolish, simple and ignorant king, woe unto thee forever.  I thought thou wouldst teach thy servants the upright way, but thou has not done this, but hast filled the whole earth with thy sins and the sins of thy people who have followed thy ways.  Dost thou not know, or has   thou not heard, that this evil which thou doest, our ancestors sinned therein days of old, and the eternal God brought the waters of the flood upon them and destroyed them all, and also destroyed the whole earth on their account?  …  Jash 11:56-58

Predictably, Nimrod was not pleased with this assault on his dignity and threw him in jail and sentenced him to be burned to death in a furnace – and so Abram was bound with linen cords and cast into the furnace.  And the Lord loved Abram and he had compassion over him, and the Lord came down and delivered Abram from the fire and he was not burned.  But all the cords which they bound him were burned, while Abram remained and walked about in the fire.  …  And Abram walked in the midst of the fire three days and three  nights, and all the servants of king saw him walking in the fire, and they came and told the king.  … And when the king heard their words, his heart fainted …  Jash 11:24-28 Eventually, we reach the point discussed in Genesis when Terah and Abram left Ur of Chaldees and departed for Canaan.  And Terah took his son Abram and his grandson Lot, the son of Haran, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, the wife of his son Abram, and all the souls of his household and went with them from Ur Casdim to go to the land of Canaan. … Jash 13:1                                                                                  

GEN 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there.

From the writings of Dayspring from on High.

Why Abraham

GEN 11:31 And Terah took Abram his son, and Lot the son of Haran his son’s son, and Sarai his daughter in law, his son Abram’s wife; and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto Haran, and dwelt there. And the days of Terah were two hundred and five years: and Terah died in Haran. 12:1  Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:  And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

The Old Testament does not really outline why Abraham was chosen.  Yes, it is true that the scriptures verify that Abraham was a great man of faith and he believed God.  Further, his faith was drastically tested and he passed the test.  However, what were the circumstances that led to God picking Abraham in the first place?  The account of Abram’s being called out is given in the Book of Jasher.  Some of you may remember the phrase, “written in the Book of Jasher” which is a direct quote from Joshua 10:13 and II Samuel 1:18.  When we understand why Abram was called out, we can then understand his legacy as a blessing to the earth and his seed.

The Book of Jasher gives us some general background about Abram.  Abram was born in the days of King Nimrod in the times before the tower of Babel fell.  His Father Terah was a chief military officer in Nimrod’s army.  All of the earth was of one tongue and words of union, but Nimrod did not go in the ways of the Lord, and he was more wicked than all the men that were before him, from the days of the flood until those days.  And he made gods of wood and stone, and he bowed down to them, and he rebelled against the Lord, and taught all his subjects and the people of the earth his wicked ways; and Mardon his son was more wicked than  his father. Jasher 7:46, 47.  Abram was also a contemporary of Noah and Shem and secretly visited them at times to receive instruction in the ways of the Lord.  So this sets the stage for the advent of the birth of Abram who the Lord called to turn away the earth from worship of many idolatrous gods.

The birth of Abram has many similarities to the birth of Jesus.  On the night that he was born, the wise men and conjurors saw a large star swallow up four other stars.  They were alarmed for King Nimrod and made this report to him.  And thy servants were astonished at the sight which we saw, and were greatly terrified, and we made our judgment upon the sight, and knew by our wisdom the proper interpretation thereof, that this thing applies to the child that is born to Terah, who will grow up and multiply greatly, become powerful, and kill all kings of the earth, and inherit all their lands, he and his seed forever.  … If it seemeth good to the king to give his father value for this child, we will slay him before he shall grow up and increase in the land … Jasher 8:11, 13  Much like the story of Herod and the child Jesus, it was thought that Abram was killed, but he was secretly taken to a cave for 10 years and then later to Noah and Shem.

Later Abram returned to Terah’s house.  And Terah had twelve gods of large size, made of wood and stone, after the twelve months of the year, and he served each one monthly, and every month Terah would bring his meat offering and drink offer to his gods; thus did Terah all the days. Jash 9:8  When Abram saw all this he pondered within his heart the meaning.  And Abram saw the sun shining upon the earth, and Abram said unto himself Surely now this sun that shines upon the earth is God, and him will I serve.  And Abram served the sun in that day and he prayed to him, and when even came the sun set as usual, and Abram said within himself, Surely this cannot be God.  …  And Abram saw the stars and moon before him, and he said, Surely this is the God who created the whole earth as well as man, and behold these his servants are gods around him, and Abram served the moon and prayed to it that night. And in the morning when it was light and sun shone upon the earth as usual, Abram saw all the things that the Lord God had made upon earth.  And Abram said unto himself  Surely these are not gods that made the earth and all mankind, but these are the servants of God; and Abram remained in the house of Noah and there knew the Lord and his ways, and he served the Lord all the days of his life, and all that generation [Nimrod’s] forgot the Lord, and served other gods of wood and stone, and rebelled all their days.  Jash 9:13-15, 17-19.

From the writings of Dayspring. [To be continued].

You Have It All — In The Spirit

“Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41

The Bible presents salvation as a life transforming experience. Change is one of the distinguishing characteristics of a true believer. Yet, failure to understand that this change takes place in the spirit first, and then is reflected in our outward appearance through our thoughts and actions in direct proportion to the way we renew our minds, causes much confusion.

This change has to take place in our born-again spirit first. Why is that? If you were fat before you got saved, you will be fat after you get saved, unless you go on a weight loss program. Your body doesn’t instantly change and neither does your soul or mind.

It is your spirit that is instantly changed at salvation. It is perfect (Heb. 12:23). It cannot sin (1 Jn. 3:9). Everything that is true of Jesus is true of our born-again spirit. Your spiritual salvation is complete. At salvation, you receive the same spirit that you will have throughout all eternity. It will not have to be changed or cleansed again. It is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13) and therefore, is sanctified and perfected forever (Heb. 10:10, 14; 12:23).

For the remainder of our Christian life, we must not try to obtain faith, joy or love from God, but rather release what we already have in our spirits (Gal. 5:22-23) into our soul and body. Failure to understand this has caused some people to despair when they don’t see sufficient change in their life after coming to the Lord for salvation. It must be understood that the change is internal in our spirit and the outward change will take place as we renew our minds through God’s Word.

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The Parable of the Trees

This parable told in the book of Judges 9:7-16 is a personal favorite, and one I had to share in observation of current events and the demonstrated attitudes of some Christians.

Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I give up my fatness by which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I give up my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ And the vine replied, ‘Should I give up my new wine, which makes God and men happy, and go to wave over the trees?’

Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’  So the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’

How interesting! All the qualified/worthy trees declined the offer to rule, citing their duty to God and man! but the unworthy bramble agreed to reign as king over the trees.

Not only does it agree to reign, it states it’s caveat for reigning.

First, it promises what it cannot possibly deliver: “refuge in it’s shade”. For those who do not know: a bramble is a rough (usually wild) thorny shrub, that grows low and is incapable of offering shade to anyone.

The worst revelation came next. The bramble warns against dissent. It promises to be a ruthless, authoritative and oppressive ruler who will destroy those who disagree with it.

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.

Faith Is Like a Muscle

"But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet." Matthew 21:23-27

Proverbs 29:25 says, "The fear of man brings a snare: but whoso puts his trust in the Lord shall be safe." These men were seeking to snare Jesus in His words, but they couldn’t because He was safely trusting in the Lord. It was easy for Jesus to "turn the tables on them" and catch them because they feared man (Jn. 5:44).

Jesus had already shown that all of their works were done so that they could be seen of men (Mt. 6:5). They were not really seeking to please God, but were doing all their religious works for the praise of men. It is totally vain for a man who is bound by the fear of man to try to intimidate a man whose trust is totally in the Lord.

When David fought Goliath (1 Sam. 17), everyone mocked him because of his belief that he could win. Goliath was a giant and he was only a small boy. But David said something very important in his defense. In 1 Samuel 17:34-37, David revealed that this was not the first time he had depended on God for a victory against something bigger than himself. He had already killed a lion and a bear with his bare hands. He KNEW he could defeat Goliath with God’s help. Faith must be developed much like a muscle. Those who wait until the day of the contest to start training are going to lose. That’s not the way it works in the natural or the spiritual.

What is life all about? What is the purpose of one’s existence? What is to be gained in life? What do people live for? When we say "so and so" is my life, we mean that all of our attention, our focus, and our purpose for living, is directed towards and revolves around that person. In a similar way, we need to be totally consumed with Christ and His life. True life is only to be found in Christ. It is not to be found in prestige, fortune, fame, or things, but only in the one who is life – Jesus Christ.

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The Power to Live a Holy Life

"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." John 12:31

The only reason Satan ever had any right to become a prince or rule over us was because we yielded ourselves to him through sin (Rom. 6:16). Since Jesus "bore our sins in His own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24), Satan no longer has power or authority over those who accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. Satan has been "cast out" — stripped of any power he had. Now he can only deceive, and if we fall for his lies, we stop God’s blessings from flowing in our lives.

The reason why a believer must live a holy life, is to avoid Satan’s bondage. When we obey sin, we yield ourselves to Satan, the author of that sin.Yielding to sin is yielding to a person, Satan. God doesn’t impute the sin to us but the devil does. Our actions either release the power of Satan or the power of God in us.

Although God is not imputing our sins unto us, we cannot afford the luxury of sin because it allows Satan to have access to us. When a Christian does sin and gives the devil an opportunity to produce death in his life, the way to stop him is to confess the sin. God is faithful and just to take the forgiveness that is already present in our born-again spirit and release it in our flesh, thereby removing Satan and his strongholds.

A person who abandons himself to sin is actually becoming a slave to the devil while a person who obeys righteousness is yielding himself to the Lord. This is why a Christian should live a holy life.

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Jesus Paid Our Debt

"Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out." John 12:31

There is still a future judgment of the world coming, where the wicked will be separated from the righteous and cast into the lake of fire. This verse refers to the sins of the world that were about to be placed on Jesus and that He would suffer our punishment.

Jesus suffered the punishment for our sins, so there is no reason why we should suffer for them too. The price for sin has already been paid by the only one who could fully pay it and that is Jesus. All Jesus asks of us to make His redemption ours, is faith in Him as our Lord.

Sin has a wage it must pay and no one can avoid payday without faith in Jesus. Anyone who does not receive the new birth will be held liable for all the wrong they committed as a result of their sinful nature. However, those who receive the new birth through faith in Jesus, don’t have a sin nature and therefore, will not receive the payment of death.

Physical death as well as every result of the sin nature (i.e. sickness, depression, fear, etc.) is only a by-product of the spiritual death that was already inside of us. The Lord told Adam that in the day he ate of the forbidden tree, he would surely die (Gen. 2:17). Adam didn’t die physically that day but he did die spiritually. Physical death came 930 years later for Adam (Gen. 5:5) as a by-product of his spiritual death.

Eternal life is a gift. The dictionary defines a gift as "something that is bestowed voluntarily and without compensation; a present." We have nothing to do with earning this gift. All you have to do is receive it by faith.

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God’s Voice

"Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." John 12:28-30

This is the third time recorded in the gospels that the Father spoke in an audible voice to or about Jesus (First, at Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River and second, at the transfiguration of Jesus).

This verse makes it clear that it was a voice that the Father spoke in; however, there were different reports of the same event. Some people heard a voice and thought it was an angel who spoke. Others thought it was thunder.

This illustrates "the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Cor. 2:14). A carnal man with a hardened heart will always find some natural explanation for the supernatural even if he heard an audible voice from God.

A hard heart keeps us from perceiving spiritual truths and stops us from understanding. When a person doesn’t understand God’s Word, Satan finds no resistance when he comes to steal it away. A hard heart keeps us from remembering. This isn’t to say that facts or scriptures can’t be recalled, it’s the spiritual lessons learned that have been forgotten. Likewise, some people can quote scripture or remember what the sermon was about, but they can’t perceive the spiritual life in it or retain what they did perceive, because of a hardened heart.

Jesus didn’t need to hear this audible voice of God because he had a more sure word of prophecy than the audible voice of God from heaven (2 Pet. 1:18-20). Jesus knew the "voice" of the Old Testament scriptures that spoke of the Christ being glorified and He could also hear the Father’s voice in His heart as He had on so many other occasions. This audible voice didn’t come to reassure Jesus, but it came to those who had ears to hear, so that they might believe.

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The Power of Praise and Worship

"And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto Him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out." Luke 19:39-40

There is nothing wrong with praising God. It is encouraged and commanded thousands of times in the scriptures. The reason the Pharisees were so upset was because they didn’t accept Jesus as God. Indeed, it would be blasphemy for Jesus to accept worship if He wasn’t God. This is another confirmation of the deity of Christ.

Only Luke records this instance of the Pharisees’ objection and Jesus’ answer. This was the triumphant entry of Israel’s King that was prophesied and anticipated for centuries. The excitement could not be contained. If people refused to praise Him, the creation would have broken out in spontaneous praise. No rock should have to do what God created us to do.

By compiling all of the writers’ accounts of what the multitudes were saying, we have this record: "Hosanna to the Son of David" (Mt. only). "Blessed is He" ("the King"–Lk.; "the King of Israel"–Jn.) "that cometh in the name of the Lord. Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Mk. only). "Hosanna in the highest" (Mt. and Mk. only). "Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest" (Lk. only).

Pride was what caused Satan’s original sin according to Isaiah 14:12-14. He wanted to be like the most High. One thing reserved for God alone is worship, and the devil has always sought that. If he can’t be the one to receive worship, then he seeks to turn others away from giving true worship to the most High God. This is the reason why praise and worship to the Lord are such powerful tools against Satan. He can’t stand to see God worshiped. Worship Him with all of your heart today.

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