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Israel in the Fires of Affliction

Source: Art Sadlier, Tuesday May 1st 2012

In Daniel chapter three we see the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace.

The whole world has been gathered together to worship the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar. The command is given that when the music sounds all are to bow down and worship at the pain of death for refusal.

In Revelation 13 we have a last day’s parallel in which an image of Antichrist is set up and the whole world is commanded to worship it, again at pain of death for refusal.

That is Babylonianism, it all started in Genesis 11 with Nimrod at the tower of Babel. It consists of four things, a world government, a world ruler, a world religion and a tower at which to worship. That has been the basic philosophy of every world empire. We see it true in Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, Media/Persia, Greece and Rome. And it will be the basic modus operandi of the final world empire of Antichrist.

As we compare Daniel 3:6 with Revelation 13:15 we see the parallel of Nebuchadnezzar’s Kingdom with the Kingdom of Antichrist. Worship Satan’s man at the pain of death, conform to the program or else.

Today in our world conformity is the issue. In our schools the issue is conformity. The powers that be have set up the religion of secular humanism. Everyone must conform to the rules. Diversity is one of the rules, failure to accept the homosexual agenda will not be tolerated.

At one time we had a free press, an institution that fought vigorously for individual freedom and initiative. Now that same press has conformed to the agenda of big brother. There used to be social evils that the press fought against. Today the only evil is lack of conformity to the system.

In Daniel 3:19 we have the response of the king to those who refused to conform, “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.” This is a prophetic picture of Antichrist in the last 3 ½ years of the tribulation period with his fury poured out upon all those who will not bow to him and take the mark of the beast.

The story of the three Hebrews who would not bow to the king is a familiar one. They are a prophetic picture of Israel, burning, burning in the fires of affliction but never consumed. God is with them in the fire preserving them.

We see Israel burning under the Egyptian taskmasters whip. We see her oppressed by Greece and by Rome, by Haman in Persia. We see her oppressed by a Hitler, by a Mussolini and a Stalin. Burning but never consumed.

Today we see Israel oppressed by the Palestinians and by Islam and by the Iranians. We watch in dismay as the whole world seeks to put Israel down.

Recently the UN voted 157-7 that Israel must give up Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. Burning, burning and yet never consumed. God has a program for Israel that no man, no nation or group of nations can stop.

We marvel at times as we see the incredible persecution that Israel endures, burning, burning, burning, and yet never consumed. Sadly as we study the scriptures we realize that Israel’s agony is only to increase as the last days unfold.

There will be one last great burning for Israel. After the church is caught away the nation will enter into the tribulation period. We read about it in Jeremiah 30:7, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it.” We also read about it in Matthew 24:21, “For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”

God will remember His covenant with them and will deliver them. The burning bush will become the fruitful tree of Jehovah, planted in the land filling the whole earth with her fruit.

The blessing of God on Israel did not depend on Israel’s faithfulness; they were dependant on God’s promise. Abraham would fail, Isaac would fail, Jacob would fail, Moses would fail and Israel would fail. God knew all of that beforehand but the promises of God were not dependant on Israel’s sinlessness. Does our salvation depend on our works or on God’s promises?

One of the promises of God to Israel has to do with the land God promised them. Amos 9:13-15, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.”

For those who are followers of Christ the days ahead look dark as the system seeks to force conformity on us. We are rapidly becoming public enemy no one for our failure to conform to the new agenda. We are standing in the way of the program for universal conformity. Set your heart deeper in the fountain of living waters; let the things of this world fade from your heart.