How the Critics Fare in the Fiery Furnace

Daniel

How the Critics Fare in the Fiery Furnace

September 24th, 1967 @ 10:50 AM

Daniel 3:19-27

Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: 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. Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God. Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.
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HOW CRITICS FARE IN THE FIERY FURNACE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Daniel 3:19-27

9-24-67    10:50 a.m.

 

On the radio and on television you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  And this is the pastor bringing the third in a series of messages, a long series of messages, on the Book of Daniel.  The first one, the second Sunday in September, was entitled Why the Critics Assail the Book of Daniel.  And the message last Sunday was Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  The message this morning is How the Critics Fare in the Fiery Furnace.  And the message next Sunday morning will be Will the Real Daniel Stand Up?  Who was he like?  What was he like?  When did he live?  How did he write?  Why did he write?  Will the Real Daniel Stand Up?  That’s next Sunday morning.  

Now, today How the Critics Fare in the Fiery Furnace.  In the third chapter in the Book of Daniel, as you know, they put the three Hebrew children, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,Meshach, Shadrach, Abednego,they put them in the fiery furnace [Daniel 3:23].  But they were children of the Lord.  They were faithful to God.  They believed in the marvelous presence of the holy Jehovah in life.  And God blessed them. 

Now, the critic and the modern rationalist, how will they fare in the white, burning heat of historical truth and spiritual fact?   Now, last Sunday morning, Daniel in the Critic’s Den, they ate him up alive.  Under four great categories does the rationalist and the liberal attack the Book of Daniel. 

They say, first, that it is filled with historical errors and inaccuracies, misguesses, misrepresentations, full of fiction and imagination.  Then second, they attack it, philologically; they say it is full of linguistic language irreconcilables.  Then they attack it prophetically; they say it’s full of prophetic impossibilities.  Then they attack it doctrinally;  they say it’s full of doctrinal aberrations. 

Now, I haven’t time even to begin to discuss these things by which we would see whether or not the critic is right.  Many of the things will appear in the sermons that are delivered in the future.  This morning, we shall take one.  We are going to look at it historically.  The rationalist, the critic, the liberal; and this is the attitude and the approach of every liberal in the world.  There is not a liberal in the world that believes in the integrity and the authenticity of the Book of Daniel.  Every one of them says that it’s a forgery, that it’s a fake, that it is a spurious writing.  They classify it in the pseudepigrapha, false writings, of the people who lived before Christ in the second century, mostly, who took assumed names and wrote history under the garb of prophecy.

So they say, "The Book of Daniel is a pseudepigraphic writing.  It was written four hundred years after it was supposed to have been written.  Not prophecy at all; it is a history in the garb of prophecy.  All those things had already come to pass that were supposed to have been prophesied in the Book of Daniel."  And not only that – and we haven’t time even to discuss that – not only that, but they say the book is filled with historical errors, inaccuracies, gross fiction. 

Now, we’re going to take one.  The reason for just one is lack of time, and second, because I have picked out the one historical error that these historical high critics say is a sure-fire water-tight attack.  There’s no possibility to deny it.  So we shall take one this morning; and that’s Belshazzar.  In the fifth chapter of the Book of Daniel, it opens: "Belshazzar the king."  "Belshazzar the king" [Daniel 5:1].  Then you have the story of the handwriting on the wall [Daniel 5:5-28], and the slaying of Belshazzar that night, and the taking of the kingdom by the Medes and Persians [Daniel 5:30-31]. 

All right, let’s start off.  The high critic says, the modern liberal says, the rationalist says, "There is never once any such person as Belshazzar.  He never lived.  He was not a king.  He didn’t die as the Book of Daniel says.  There was no history of him, that Belshazzar is pure fiction and imagination!" 

Well, that ought to be plain enough.  So let’s see how the critic and the rationalist in his attack on the Bible and his attack on Daniel, let’s see how he substantiates what he says.  I tell you, listen to him, you would think he had an invincible and an impregnable argument.  Well, here’s what he says, "In plain history we have a list of all of the kings of Babylon, all of them.  First, there was Nebuchadnezzar, and he reigned over Babylon.  He built the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and he built the glorious city of Babylon.  There was first Nebuchadnezzar, and he reigned forty years, and he died 562 BC.  First, Nebuchadnezzar.  Second, Evil-Merodach, the son of Nebuchadnezzar.  He reigned two years from 562 until 560.  And in 560, after Evil-Merodach had reigned two years, he was slain by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar.  And Neriglissar reigned for four years, from 560 to 556.  And Neriglissar died after he had reigned four years.  Neriglissar died in 556 BC.  He was followed by his infant son, Labashi-Marduk.  And Labashi-Marduk, the infant son of Neriglissar, reigned nine months, and he was deposed by Nabonidus.  And Nabonidus, who began his reign in 556 BC, reigned seventeen years until 539 BC when Babylon was conquered, and Nabonidus was captured by the Medo-Persians.

            And that’s fact.  Well, that’s plain enough and simple enough.  All of the kings of Babylon are well-known: Nebuchadnezzar, Evil-Merodach, Neriglissar, Labashi-Marduk, and Nabonidus, then the Medes and the Persians.  Yet, Daniel says the last king of Babylon was Belshazzar.  There is not an ancient secular source that indicates there was any other king beside the last king, Nabonidus.  But Daniel says Belshazzar was the last king [Daniel 5:30-31].  There is not an ancient historian, not one, who names Belshazzar.  Everyone of them names Nabonidus as the last king of Babylon, but Daniel says Belshazzar is the last king of Babylon.  All of the chronicles of ancient history say that the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, was not killed, that he was captured, and that he was entreated friendly, graciously by Cyrus the Persian, and he was given a pension for the rest of his life, and that he died a normal death.  But Daniel says the last king of Babylon, Belshazzar, was slain the night that Babylon fell [Daniel 5:30-31]. 

Well, that’s plain enough.  So the critic comes and the rationalist comes, and he says, he thinks upon an invincible foundation, there was no such person who ever lived by the name of Belshazzar, and he was certainly not king of Babylon.  And he was certainly not killed the night that Babylon was taken.  Well, that’s very plain, I say.  Do you understand that? 

All right, that’s what the critic says.  And it looks like a sure-fire, watertight argument as he says.  And that’s why I have chosen it.  The critic says, the rationalist says, that this story of Belshazzar, like all the rest of the stories and all the rest of the people in the Book of Daniel, are sheer unadulterated fiction, pure imagination.  Good! 

Now, let’s see how the critic fares in the fiery furnace of truth, and light, and historical revelation.  You see, the spade has done a great deal to Daniel.  And the archeologist went over there to those vast and extensive mounds under which are buried the ruins of ancient Babylon.  And the archeologist began to dig and turn the spade.  And as they dug down in those vast and extensive ruins, and they have barely begun, for every place they have excavated, there are ten thousand others they haven’t touched.  But as the archeologist began to dig with his spade, he unearthed thousands and thousands of cuneiforms, that’s the ancient way of Chaldea writing, Babylonian writing, he unearthed thousands of tablets of pottery pieces inscribed of clay, baked clay, on which they wrote their contracts, and their letters, and their histories.  They unearthed thousands of those!  And they sent them all to the British Museum in London.  And the Assyriologist studied them.  A man who is learned in the ancient civilizations and languages of Mesopotamia, that Tigris-Euphrates River district, ancient Assyria, Babylon, he’s called an Assyriologist. 

So the Assyriologists began to study those cuneiform inscriptions recording the ancient life of Babylon.  And one: they found a cuneiform tablet in which was the name of Belshazzar.  First time his name had ever come to light.  So there was somebody at that time who lived by the name of Belshazzar: first. 

Second: then they discovered a cuneiform inscription, one of those tablets, and it put together the names of Nabonidus, the last king, and Belshazzar.  So there was some connection between Nabonidus, the last king, and Belshazzar.  Interesting! 

Three: then they found a cuneiform tablet, one of those ancient Babylonian inscriptions, and it said that Belshazzar was the king’s eldest son.  Well, it is getting interesting.  So Nabonidus had a son.  And his eldest son was called Belshazzar. 

Four: then they discovered one of those cuneiform tablets, and it was a contract, a business contract.  And the men were taking an oath.  And the oath was made in the names of Belshazzar and Nabonidus.  Now, in ancient Babylonia, oaths were taken in the name of the reigning king.  So when that business contract was recorded, and the men who recorded it took their oath in the name of Nabonidus and Belshazzar, it showed that Belshazzar, the eldest son of Nabonidus was co-king, and co-regent, and co-sovereign with his father, Nabonidus. 

Then as they dug, and as they continued to dig, my, my, the things we are learning about Belshazzar.  He has come to stand before us not only as a great personality, but as one of the leading spirits of his age.  He was born in 575 BC.  When he was fourteen years old, Nebuchadnezzar died.  When he was twenty years old, his father ascended the throne.  When he was twenty years old, we know that he had a house of his own in the city of Babylon.  When he was twenty-five years old, one of his secretaries is referred to.  When he was twenty-seven years old, the steward of his house is referred to and several other secretaries.  When he was thirty years old, he was commander-in-chief of the armies of northern Babylonia.  And when he was thirty years old, he sent a gift to the temple of Shamash at Sippar, up the Euphrates River.  And about the same time, he built a house for another sister at Ur, which is down the Euphrates River in the women’s compound, so she would have a place to live by herself.  And another thing about him, among a multitude of others, when he was twenty-six years old, his grandpap died at the old age of one hundred four years.  Well, we just know a whole lot of things about Belshazzar.  Isn’t that amazing?  Isn’t that astonishing? 

Now, why was it that he was left king in Babylon?  Well, that’s very apparent.  His father, Nabonidus, was one of the most unusual men of ancient history.  Nabonidus was an archeologist.  Isn’t that astonishing?  The king of Babylon, he’s an archeologist.  And he is highly sensitive to cultural and religious interests.  He loved to go around and to rebuild old temples and to worship their gods.  And he would dig in the foundations and in the cornerstones, and he would find ancient documents, and he’d copy off the list of the names.  He was interested in archeology, and in culture, and in religion.  And he was not interested in affairs of state.  So he left the affairs of state to his eldest son, Belshazzar. 

All right, a second thing about Nabonidus: he did not live in Babylon.  He was king there seventeen years, but for ten of those seventeen years, he lived in Tema, an oasis in northern Arabia.  And an inscription has been found which says that when Nabonidus left Babylon, he left the kingship in charge of his eldest son, Belshazzar.  So all of those years when Nabonidus was king of Babylon he lived for the most part in Tema, and his son was the actual titular king of the empire. 

Now, that explains this unusual and strange reference in the fifth chapter of Daniel and in the sixteenth verse, in the fifth chapter of Daniel and the twenty-ninth verse: Belshazzar says that he is going to make Daniel third ruler in the kingdom [Daniel 5:29].  Well, that’s a strange thing.  Why not the second?  Because the first ruler in the kingdom was Nabonidus, and the second ruler in the kingdom was Belshazzar, and the third ruler in the kingdom is to be Daniel. 

Now, we have found out how the empire ended.  As the archeologists dug up, they found the Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus.  This is Cyrus, the Persian’s personal description of the fall of Babylon.  And we learn from that Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus that Nabonidus was captured four months before Babylon fell, which left the entire government in the hands of Belshazzar, the king of Babylon.  And it says that when Cyrus took Babylon, he did it easily.  It fell quickly and easily, which agrees exactly with what Daniel says in the last verses of the fifth chapter [Daniel 5:31].  And then the Annalistic Tablet of Cyrus also says that, that night the king’s son died, which agrees exactly with what Daniel writes: "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain" [Daniel 5:30]. 

There is no syllable, there is no part, that Daniel writes of Belshazzar but has been confirmed by the cuneiform inscriptions dug up by the archeologist.  And yet, the most amazing thing they I know in historical literature is this: that the name of Belshazzar fell out of history.  There is not an ancient historian, Berossus, Alexander Polyhistor, there is not an ancient historian that ever mentions him or ever heard of him.  

Look at this: Herodotus, who wrote literature, oh, how Herodotus could write.  I took a course one time in Herodotus and read his history in Greek.  How he could write and how interestingly!  Herodotus, the father of history, born at Halicarnassus, there on the Greek coast, Herodotus visited Babylonia in 560 BC.  That’s within eighty years after Babylon fell.  Herodotus visited Babylon in 560 BC, and he wrote of her kings and he wrote of her queens.  And he wrote of her great palaces and described the magnificent city and the hanging gardens and the ziggurats and all of the rest.  Yet, Herodotus never heard of Belshazzar, nor was he ever mentioned by any other ancient historian.  His name literally and completely fell out of history.  And the only place he was ever mentioned was in Daniel, the Book of Daniel. 

How did Daniel know him?  The critic says that Daniel was written four hundred years later.  How did Daniel know Belshazzar?  For thevery simple reason, the critic is a misrepresenter.  Daniel lived in that day.  Daniel was a contemporary.  And when Daniel wrote, Belshazzar was still alive.  And when Daniel wrote, Belshazzar was the king in Babylon.  And Daniel was there when Belshazzar was slain.  Outside of Daniel, his name had fallen out of human history. 

How does the critic fare in the fiery furnace?  Look at him.  Look at him.  Who is right: the impregnable, invincible attack of the modernist and the rationalist, or the enduring Word of God?  Now, we have spoken of history in the Book of Daniel, and we’ve taken one typical incident of it.  And there will be many others that will appear as the days go on by. 

Now, for a moment, let’s take the Book of Daniel in history.  For the higher critic, and the rationalist, and the modernist, and I repeat, the entire liberal world, which is practically all of modern Christianity in its academic form, the entire liberal world follows this belief that Daniel is a forgery, a spurious pseudepigraphic writing.  Now, they say that the Book of Daniel was a forgery, written in 165 BC, upon the death of Antiochus Epiphanes, in the days of the Maccabees.  Now, that’s what they say.  And they all believe it. 

Now, we’re going to follow the Book of Daniel in history.  Where does it appear?  All right, first, first, and above all: it’s in the canon.  It’s in the Bible.  It’s in the Jewish Old Testament sacred writings.  It is there.  Open your Bible and look and you’ll find Daniel in it.  Open your Bible and look, you will find Daniel there.  Open your Hebrew Bible and you’ll find Daniel there.  They divided their Bible into three parts: the Torah, the Law; the Nevi’im, the Prophets; and the Ketuvim, the Writings, the Hagiographa, the sacred writings.  And there you will find Daniel in the canon of the Old Testament. 

Now, you look at that for a minute.  There were a hundred marvelous writings, glorious writings that were refused canonicity, refused a place in the Hebrew Old Testament.  First Maccabees is one.  First Maccabees is one of the most glorious pieces of literature in the world.  First Maccabees is one of the finest writings ever from the pen of man.  Martin Luther said that 1 Maccabees deserved to be among the Holy Scriptures, and I agree with him.  I would love to see 1 Maccabees in the Bible.  But the ancient synagogue refused 1 Maccabees because it was not old enough.  It was written about 100 BC. 

Another, Ecclesiasticus:  Ecclesiasticus was written 300 BC, and it represented Jewish thought at that time.  And it is one of the finest writings in all literature.  But it was refused canonicity because it was not old enough.  The ancient synagogue had a severe test, and that’s the word "canon."  "Canon" in Hebrew, "canon" in Greek, "canon" in English, spelled alike, pronounced alike.  Canon, it means a measure; it means a test.  And for a book to be in the Bible, it has to meet the canon.  It has to meet the measure and the test. 

Now, the ancient synagogue, those old Jews back there in the hundreds of years before Christ, had a severe, and pious, and holy idea about inspiration and about canonicity.  And their canon was this: that a book to be in the Bible had to be inspired.  But no book was inspired since the days of Nehemiah and Malachi because there were no prophets.  And they believed there were no prophets inspired that had arisen since Nehemiah and Malachi.  In order, therefore, for a book to meet the canon, it had to be inspired, it had to be written before Nehemiah and Malachi. 

Now, when you study this, and if any of you are interested, you get Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, and you will find it meticulously discussed.  That old synagogue challenged, those old pious Jews, learned, erudite, they challenged whether the Proverbs should be in the Bible or not.  They challenged the canonicity of Ecclesiastes, whether it be in the Bible or not.  And some of them challenged Ezekiel, whether the prophet Ezekiel should be in the Bible or not.  But there never was a time then, today, or any other time, when that old ancient synagogue challenged the canonicity of Daniel.  Never!  Never!  It’s in the Bible.  And those old ancient synagogues accepted the inspiration and the canonicity of the Book of Daniel, which meant they believed it was written in 550 BC. 

Now, the critic says that in 165 BC, those same pious and learned Jews, those great rabbis back there, that they taught a fraud written in their own day, in their own age, in their own time, and added it to the Word of God.  And they want us to believe that!  It is the same grotesque ridiculous idea as if we had a convocation of theologians today and decided we were going to put Giovanni Papini’s Life of Christ in the Bible.  The same kind of an idea as if we tried to put Papini’s Life of Christ in the Bible along with the four Gospels, the same idea is as if those old ancient rabbis in 165 BC took a romance, a fiction written in their own day and own time and added it, smuggled it into the Word of God.  That’s what the critic wants us to believe.  I say he stretches my credulity beyond what it is stretchable!  It just doesn’t give that much.  Now, I don’t see how he believes it; but he does.  And all of them believe it.  And it’s the academic presentation of Daniel in practically every school in the world today. 

Now, we got to go on.  We’re following the history of the Book of Daniel.  First: it’s in the canon, it’s in the Bible, which meant those old and ancient rabbis believed that it was written before Nehemiah, and in the days of the sixth century BC. 

All right, second: it is in the Septuagint, LXX, "seventy."  The Septuagint, the most famous and most influential of all of the translations in the world is the Greek Septuagint.  In Alexandria, in the days of the colonies, some Jewish scholars gathered together, that’s where it gets its name, Septuagint, seventy, there were supposed to be seventy of them, and they translated the Hebrew Scriptures into Greek.  And the Septuagint translation of the Holy Bible is the one that the apostles used when they preached the gospel of the Son of God. 

When it says in the Bible, "At the beginning of the same Scripture, he preached unto him Jesus" [Acts 8:35], he was preaching out of the Septuagint.  And when it says that Apollos, that eloquent preacher from Alexandria, who was over in Ephesus, that he took the Scriptures and mightily convinced the Jews out of the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ [Acts 18:28], he had in his hand the Septuagint.  The Book of Hebrews in the New Testament is based upon the Septuagint.  The Septuagint is the most famous and significant of all of the translations in the history of the world. 

Now the Septuagint was translated in Alexandria about 300 BC.  And many scholars say that by 275 BC, that the translation was complete.  Yet, these critics say that the Book of Daniel was written in 165 BC, when the Book of Daniel is in the Septuagint, which was supposed to have been translated 300 BC.  

All right, let’s go on.  First Maccabees, that I have just said, 1 Maccabees, one of the noblest, one of the noblest pieces of literature in the world: in the first chapter of 1 Maccabees the author quotes the Book of Daniel [1 Maccabees 1:54].  And this is the time when Daniel was supposed to have been born.  He quotes the Book of Daniel as being inspired Scripture. 

And, in the second chapter of the Book of Maccabees, old, venerable, dying Mattathias, the priest who moved in, who challenged the Greeks under Antiochus Epiphanes – who was trying to make the temple of Jerusalem a part of Jupiter’s temple and offered a pig, a sow, on the altar and spread its juice, took its juice, carried it all over the temple and spread it around to defile it all – old Mattathias, an aged venerable father, dying, in the second chapter of the Book of Maccabees calls his boys around him, and he addresses Judas Maccabaeus, from whence it gets its name, the Maccabees, "the hammer"; he addresses his son Judas Maccabaeus, and Simon and the rest of his brethren, and he urges them to be true to the faith.  And he cites, as an instance of loyalty unto God unto death the three Hebrew boys named in the Book of Daniel [1 Maccabees 2:59-60].  He cites Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah [Daniel 3:16-18], and he tells the story of Daniel in the lion’s den [Daniel 6:14-28].  That’s in 1 Maccabees, written about the time they say the forgery of Daniel was composed and pawned off. 

All right, we’re following down through the years, Josephus.  Josephus was a contemporary of the apostle Paul and of the apostle John.  And about 80 AD, he wrote a history of the Jews from the time of Abraham to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.  And one of the most beautiful stories in the world is the story of Alexander and his proposed destruction of Jerusalem and how Jerusalem was saved.  I wish I had time to tell that story.  When Alexander, who was infuriated against the Jews because they wouldn’t send him provisions when he was besieging Tyre, when Alexander the Great had burned Tyre to the ground, and when Alexander the Great had burned Gaza to the ground, he took his army to go to Jerusalem to destroy Jerusalem and to make an ash heap out of it.  

And Jaddua the high priest took it to God.  God revealed to him how to do.  And the people were dressed in white.  Every citizen in the old Jerusalem was dressed in white.  And Jaddua, the high priest, put on his high priestly garments, the scarlet and the purple and the golden miter and the breastplate, and followed by his fellow priest.  When Alexander the Great approached with his great army to destroy the city, he was met with a glorious procession of Jaddua the high priest and his fellow priests; and then all of the people of the city dressed in pure white.  And when Jaddua met Alexander the Great, he had in his hand a copy of the Word of God.  And Jaddua opened it at the Book of Daniel and showed Alexander the Great, out of the Book of Daniel, how Daniel had prophesied his coming and his great victories. 

Then Josephus tells how Alexander the Great bowed and then went up into the temple and called on the name of Jehovah God and offered sacrifices in His name.  And when was that?  Three hundred thirty BC.  Yet the critic said the book was written in 165 BC, as a forgery.  Just following the history of the Book of Daniel.  Of course, they say Josephus is a liar.  And that this is fiction, too.  But this fact remains that can’t be denied, Alexander the Great burned to the ground every city in Syria that was friendly to Darius the king of the Persians.  But he spared Jerusalem and favored honors upon it.  Why?  There has to be some answer.  And the answer is found in Josephus and the story that Josephus told. 

We must hasten.  Qumran, just a few years ago, they discovered the scrolls in those caves at the north end of the Dead Sea.  And the oldest copies that we had of the old Bible were written about 900 AD; and they found there scrolls of the Bible that were written before Christ, which took back the Old Testament Scriptures more than a thousand years.  And in the Qumran Scrolls, they found Isaiah.  And in the Qumran Scrolls, they found Daniel.  Those scrolls date back in their writing, in their copies, you know, when they were copying, those scrolls date back to the time when they say the forgery of Daniel was composed.  There it is, a part of the Word of God. 

Allow me one other word by summary.  We have had thousands, and we have had thousands of years, to see for ourselves whether or not the prophecies of Daniel are true.  We’re not shut up to what a critic says.  We have thousands and thousands of years to test whether or not the prophecies of Daniel are true or not.  Are they true?  Daniel said the head of gold is Babylon.  And the arms and the breast are Media and Persia; and the thigh is Greece, Alexander and his kingdom; and the legs of iron are Rome, east and west.  And thereafter Daniel says, there’ll never be another world empire.  It is broken up into clay and iron in the toes of the image [Daniel 2:31-45].  Is it true?  Or is it not?  We have had thousands of years to test it.  Is it of God and only God could know the future?  Is it or is it not? 

One other thing and I must quit.  Daniel says in the ninth chapter that wars and desolations are determined to the end [Daniel 9:26].  Wars and desolations are determined to the end.  And there have been periods of scores of years when the whole academic world has scoffed at such an idea.  Daniel said that wars and desolations are determined to the end.  Is it true?  In February of 1914, there was a prophetic conference that was called: "The Prophetic Conference."  There was a prophetic conference held in Los Angeles, California.  And in that prophetic conference, those men of God pointed out that Daniel, and Jesus, and John, and Paul described for us that nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be wars and famine and pestilence [Matthew 24:7].  And when the editor of the Christian Advocate got hold of what those men in that prophetic conference had said, he scornfully said: "It ought to be called a "pathetic conference" not a "prophetic conference."  Such an idea that war will continue! 

That was in February of 1914; within six months, the archduke of [Austria] had been assassinated, and the entire civilized world was in the grip of war!  I can remember as a boy when the headline came out: President Woodrow Wilson says we’re entering the war to end all war.  There will never be another war when we win this war. 

And after World War I, away went those flights of fancy.  And then Hitler, and Stalin, and Tojo, and the Second World War, and the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and Daniel says: "And wars and desolations are determined to the end" [Daniel 9:26].  Is he right, or is the mouthing critic right?  Which one?  Just look for yourself, that is all.  Just see for yourself.  Is this the Word of God or is it pure fiction, as the rationalist would have us believe?  "The flower fadeth, the grass withereth: but the word of God shall endure forever" [Isaiah 40:8].  And a part of that word is the revelation of the Lord God to the prophet Daniel. 

Now we must sing our song, and as we do a family you, a couple you, to come into the fellowship of the church, somebody you to give himself to Jesus.  While we sing our song, on the first note of the first stanza, would you come?  In this lower floor, into the aisle and down here to the front, "Here I am, preacher, and here I come. I give you my hand.  See, I have given my heart to God, and here I stand."  In the balcony around there is a stairway at the front and the back and on either side, and time and to spare,   come.  "Pastor, this is my wife, these are our children, all of us are coming."  Or just one somebody you; decide now, decide now, and when you stand up in a moment, stand up coming.  Make it now.  Come now, and God bless you in the way as you come.  Do so, as we stand and sing.

IN THE FIERY FURNACE

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Daniel 3:19-27

6-14-67

 

Daniel is a book of prophecy

 

I.              Inescapable fire of trial, suffering awaits the believer, be ready

A.   Satan afflicts us

B.   The world afflicts us

C.   God tries us

II.            Purpose for God’s tests are for our health and not our hurt

A.   Tried to be fit for service

B.   Refined for purification

C.   Separation of the believer from the pretender

D.   Bonds and fetters of sin loosened

III.           Complete deliverance of God

 

How the critics fair in the fiery furnace

 

I.              Alleged historical errors – Belshazzar

II.            Book of history

A.   Canon of Hebrew Bible

B.   Septuagint

C.   1 Maccabees

D.   Josephus

E.   Qumran, Dead Sea Scrolls

F.    The actual course of human history

G.   Wars of Daniel 9:26