Daniel 3:1-3

What do you think about euthanasia, abortion, legal drugs consumption, the "marriage" between two persons of the same gender, the existence of homosexual "ministers" in "churches", and all other "laws", both civil and religious, which have been established in defiance against the standards of the Word of God? Take a look to this story in old Babylonia:

Daniel 3:1-3

"King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, sixty cubits high and six cubits wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. He then summoned the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials to come to the dedication of the image he had set up. So the satraps, prefects, governors, advisers, treasurers, judges, magistrates and all the other provincial officials assembled for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up, and they stood before it"

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One of the most important reasons of the study of the original languages of the Word of God (Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek) is that the Scriptures are thousands years old, and in comparison, the languages change very fastly. To know what is it that God said, in a proper way, we need to know the meaning of the words by that time (there are many words which are no longer in use, and other ones mean something different now) This is a good exercise for translators when we talk about animals, plants, precious stones, geographical names or - as it is treated about here - professions and titles.

If you speak and read several languages then you'll note that biblical translations do not correspond exactly from a Bible in a language to other in another one. Even in the same language we have different Bible versions which translate the words in other way, sometimes meaning something different. Because of that, before we approach the main issue, let's take a look to a little table which shows us who were those persons who came before the king:

NIV ------------------------ ARAMAIC ---------------- POSSIBLE RENDERING
Satraps ------------------- Akhashdarpán ----------- Satrap, governor of a
------------------------------------------------------------"satrapy" or province
Prefects ------------------ Segán --------------------- Governor (a "ruler", the
----------------------------------------------------------- investment of Daniel in
----------------------------------------------------------- Dn 2:48, "rab signín", a
----------------------------------------------------------- "governor of governors")
Governors --------------- Pekhá ---------------------- Prefect ("governor" in
--------------------------------------------------------------- the book of Ezra)
Advisers --------------- Adargazár -------- Judge (lit. "honorable soothsayer",
----------------------------------------------------------- "adar + gezár" = "great diviner")
------------------------------------------------------------ A religious leader which judges
Treasurers -------------- Gedabár ------------------ Treasurer
Judges ------------------ Detabár ------------------- Counsellor                                                                                                                                     ------------------------------------------------------------- (interpreter of the law)
Magistrates ------------- Tiftáy ---------------------- Judge, magistrate
------------------------------------------------------------- (a functionary of justice)
Provincial officials ---- Shaltán medinát ---------- Oficial (a governor who is
----------------------------- (cmp. "sultan" --------- subordinate only to the king;
----------------------------- in Arabic) -------------- another investment of Daniel
------------------------------------------------------------ in Dn 2:48 over the province)

Going through the whole list we find persons in this dedication which are representing almost every sphere. We can see officials from politics, justice, military, administrative and religious. All of them were called before Nebuchadnezzar, and they came and stood there.

Maybe you are wondering, "and what's wrong with participating in the dedication of a statue or monument?" "what's the relationship between this and euthanasia, abortion or marriage of homosexuals?"

Well, let's try the first question first. The "statue" or "monument" of gold, which in modern language can be said to be 88 x 8,8 feet, is not so "innocent" as you could think. When we read the whole chapter we see that:

1) The functionaries of all spheres were called to "worship"
2) The Jews - who believe that the only "god" is the God of the Bible - refused to "worship"

Even when the text doesn't state it literally, we could with some grade of certainty infer that the statue should represent the king himself (who remembered his dream in chapter two) or the main deity of Babylonia (a way of turning back to their "god" after recognizing the God of Israel as the Highest among all gods, also in chapter two) Whatever the statue was representing, is wasn't "God". And if somebody "falls down and worships" anything which isn't God, he or she is practising "idolatry" (we'll try this concept from Scriptures, very important to know, in it's moment) On the whole, the king called all these functionaries to practise idolatry.

But, what's the connection between idolatry and the civil laws which are mentioned before?

Well, nowadays almost every state recognizes the "freedom of conscience" or "freedom of religion", and because of that you should hardly be obliged under coercion to an act of flagrant idolatry as Nebuchadnezzar did. But those civil laws which defy the Word of God and "call evil good and good evil" are even more pernicious, because they are estabishing that "righteousness" is that which is defined by a civil state in these "laws", and not that which is defined by our righteous God in the Holy Scriptures. It is not only idolatry the only way to reject the Word of God (and God Himself)

We Christians are called to freedom, as the apostle Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:13, but he exhorts us also to use this freedom for good, and not for evil. The Word of God establishes, "thou shalt not kill", and the civil laws of the good governments have a well developed system to judge and condemn homicides and murderers. A "law" which should empower persons to kill their fellow human beings should be a rebellion against God's commandment. And it is the same thing with every law which sanctions sin as good.

In 1895 the Irish writer Oscar Wilde was condemned to two years of forced labor because of homosexual activity (have you wondered about the difference between "crime" and "sin"?) 109 years later, in 2004, the Swedish pentecostal pastor Åke Green was sentenced to prision because he defined homosexuality as "sin" (those functionaries could under the same reason send the Bible to jail, because that idea is certainly no invention of the pastor) Who was justly or unjustly send to prision, in your opinion?

"Freedom" is not the same thing to a Christian and to another person which do not has the Bible as the Word of God. The civil laws are supposed to protect "sinners" too, and even God doesn't send (yet) thunderlbolts from the sky in order to carbonize them, because His purpose is to save them. A civil state which should try to develop a system to put in jail - for instance - every adulterer, liar, hypocrite and slanderer, should be obliged to give up, because there are not enough prisons to accomplish this task. The Lord loves the sinners, and He sent His Son to the cross to save them, not to condemn them. The "freedom of conscience" and "freedom of religion" protect - or is suppose to - both of them, the one who believes that some action is a sin and the other one who thinks that it is OK. But salvation and eternal life is not for both of them, but for the ones who receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior and shuns evil.
We Christians live in a NON CHRISTIAN world, but a secular one. Disregarding our very best wishes, the societies and the governments become more and more secular. But it doesn't mean that we are supposed to go with the tide. The Bible says that "the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness" (Romans 1:18) "Those things that suppress the truth with wickedness" is clearly a perfect denomination for every thought or decision which make the Word of God "unjust". And to "suppress the truth" brings judgement upon the earth; because of "godlessness" and "wickedness", the "wrath of God" is manifested upon us. If you've been present in an earthquake, a war, a tsunami or epidemic, then you'll know that the "wrath of God" is not an abstract concept, but something terrible, tangible and very real. And this "wrath of God" will be poured on us more and more, as wickedness and apostasy grow more and more throughout the earth. The climax of these judgements will occur in the opening of the seven seals, the sound of the seven trumpets and the outpouring of the sevens bowls of the wrath of God, things that we will talk about if the Lord allows.

How can we Christians collate "obedience to civil authorities", ordered to us by God (Romans 13 and others) and "obedience to God", which could crash with the other one, as we read in Matthew 22:16-21 and Acts 5:27-29? Those young Hebrews which refused to sin together with king Nebuchadnezzar, even with a death menace upon them, they give us a good example. Keep reading and you will see. In the meantime, when you give thanks to God because of your gevernment, the order which it creates, the protection of your civil rights, the provision for the needy, and all the virtues which procede from the authorities in your nation, remember to pray to the God of Heaven so that He gives them wisdom to discern "good" and "evil", when they set up the civil laws by which the nations are ruled.

If you have not yet received Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, and you are instructed in "secular thinking", ignoring about the Bible and the things which God calls "good" and "evil", let me tell you that you are in great danger, both you and your children, which will be led by you and your way of thinking. Both you and your children have a "soul", which will give account before God of your acts, and which will go to heaven or to hell in the eternity. Receive Jesus, renounce the horrible sin of rebellion, and you'll know a God and Father who loves us, who pardons us all our rebellions and sins, takes them and castes them away to the bottom of the sea, and He treats with us as if we would never sinned (we become new creatures in Christ, cleansed and justified by the blood which he shed in the cross for us)

May the Lord bless you

In the love of Christ, your brother

Israel Leonard

PS. Jesus comes quickly!

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