Daniel 6: Unharmed by the lions

Last time, we went from King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign to King Belshazzar’s reign to the very beginning of King Darius’ reign.  A change has taken place in that Babylon has fallen and the Medo-Persian Empire was now in charge. Daniel would face the famous den of lions – and live in victory!

Captivity Continues

Daniel 6:1-3. Daniel and his friends were really still in captivity.

This period of time was known as the Babylonian captivity, but now Babylon had fallen and the Medo-Persian empire inherited the Judean captives.

But Daniel is still included as a resident of Babylon, so when King Darius demands that all of Babylon bow and worship, he was including all of the Hebrew captives.

So Daniel was a prisoner, but he was set above the rest to govern, one of 3 governors.

An Excellent spirit

Daniel 6:3 

Daniel was distinguished “because an excellent spirit was in him.”

This is the mark of person who loves God.

You should have an excellent spirit.  When you are at work, it should be so obvious that you are different.  My Bible has some commentary and it says Daniel had a “surpassing ability to do his job” and he probably had a “commendable attitude.”

Are there ever times when you don’t have a good attitude?

Ask the LORD to give you a positive outlook on life.

Daniel was so impressive that King Darius contemplated letting him run everything.

Being Blameless when those around you want to find fault

Daniel 6:4 How many of you know that when you finally start doing something great for God, the devil starts using people around you to discourage you?   

The other governors and satraps wanted to find some fault with Daniel.  This guy is just too talented, he is making us look bad. 

But they couldn’t find fault.

The Bible tells us to be blameless.

Philippians 2:14-16  “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”

Daniel is such a great example of that!  

Daniel 6:5 They plot against him.  We can only find a fault with Daniel if it relates to the law of his God.  The conspirators know that Daniel will refuse to break God’s law.  

Daniel was coming up against a whole host of demons.

These accusers had an angry, wickedly ambitious spirit about them, overly critical, jealous, compulsive, reactionary spirits.  Things of the enemy and things of the flesh.  

But Daniel’s faith was not in the things of the flesh, but rather in the truth of God’s Word.  He knew how to operate in victory.

When prayer is against the law

Daniel 6:7 King Darius’ advisors conspire against Daniel and decide to make a royal decree.

Royal decrees were handled very differently back then than they are now.

Once a royal decree was issued, it couldn’t be revoked, even by the king. The law could not be changed. Why not?  Because if the law was changeable that would be admitting that the law was imperfect.  And since they wanted everyone to obey their laws, they would essentially be saying their manmade laws were infallible.  

The royal decree stated that no one could worship anyone except King Darius for 30 days.  At least this law had an end date.  

But the king had to sign it.

Is it that he truly trusted his advisors?  That they had all the best interests of his kingdom in mind?

Or was he pressured into signing it for political reasons?

He signed the decree.   Prayer was banned! (Dan.6:9)

Why did King Darius sign it!?

Did he honestly believe he was a god?  He might’ve.  That was the culture back then just like it remains in North Korea.  These leaders want full submission including worship.

Daniel 6:10. Daniel knew King Darius signed it, but instead of confronting the king about it or cowering in fear in some cave someplace, he simply went home.

He knew only God could intervene.

He opened his windows, got down on his knees 3x/day and prayed.

The Bible says as was his custom.

Daniel didn’t let his circumstances change him.  He remained steadfast in His devotion and he had unwavering faith that “pasa lo que pasa” whatever happens happens.  It’s in God’s hands.

Nothing to hide

He not only prayed, but he prayed with his windows open.  He had nothing to hide.

But there are always the tattletales and the troublemakers.

If it were suddenly against the law here in the US to pray, would you be found guilty?

Daniel 6:11-13 Daniel has disobeyed the king’s decree.  He must be cast into the den of lions.

That Daniel.

That ________(fill in your name.)  Those children of God are at it again, praying to the God who hears. The God who saves.

Notice the accusers in verse 13 don’t call him governor.  They intentionally call him a captive from Judah.  They want to make their case that Daniel is treasonous.  He isn’t good enough for their clique.

King Darius realizes his error

Daniel 6:14 the king was mad at himself.  He realized the foolishness of having signed the law.  

He had sealed the fate – spoken death – over even his friend, Daniel whom he respected.

The king spent the whole afternoon trying to figure out how he could find a loophole in the decree so Daniel would be spared the lion’s den.

Daniel 6:15 but the accusers are back.  Hey, king, the law is the law.  Daniel’s going to be lion dinner.

Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den

Daniel 6:16-17 King Darius encourages Daniel and confesses with some faith here, that God who you serve so continually, He will deliver you.  

Daniel 6:18-20 The king didn’t eat all night.  He was fasting, he refused entertainment.  He couldn’t sleep.  And in the morning he faced his worst fear and called out to Daniel.

The king asked, “has your God been able?

Our God is Able!

Oh, let me tell you today, our God is able!  Of course, our God is able!

Daniel 6:21-23. And Daniel answered King Darius.  God sent His ministering angel to shut the mouth of the lion.

Daniel was unhurt, Hallelujah.

No injury whatsoever because Daniel believed in his God.

Servant of God, expect great things. If you believe in your God, He will deliver you.

Daniel 6:24-26   The enemies of God can expect destruction.

All of the accusers were cast into the lion den along with their wives and children and none of them survived.

Daniel 6:27-28. King Darius pronounces a new decree that God should be honored.

So what does this all mean for us now?

Does it mean we should tempt God and jump the enclosures at the zoo so we can prove that God will protect us? Absolutely not, the Bible says do not tempt the Lord thy God.

There’s a true story about that.  A guy in Taiwan

Intentionally jumped into a lion’s pen at the zoo holding his Bible and shouting at the lions that Jesus was going to save him.

Needless to say, the lions attacked him, he got severe bite wounds, and the zoo personnel had to tranquilize the lions and get him to safety.

This man put everyone danger.

Sometimes people (even Christians) get some crazy ideas and want to convince themselves or others that God told them to do something.  I had heard of another guy who did something similar in Africa. Speaking in tongues and everything and he said, if I can survive the lion’s den I will prove the power of God to everyone looking.

Make sure that you are legitimately hearing from God.  

Otherwise, Christians rightfully get a bad rap.  Y’all are crazy.  Y’all are jumping into lions dens. God doesn’t need our help in proving his power.

The serpent will not harm you Mark 16, but this is when the lion or the snake comes to you.  Don’t you go try finding it.  Don’t you go provoking the enemy.

It is entirely different if you were standing by the lion enclosure and an accident happened, and you found yourself in the midst of that den.  God could make those lions the tamest little cats around.  

So today I want to encourage you to:

  1. Be like Daniel.  Have an excellent reputation.  Go the extra mile for God.  Do something you might be uncomfortable with for the sake of the Gospel.  Pray even when the world tells you not to.  
  2. Don’t be like his accusers.  The enemy wants you on his side to cast blame, doubt, to even discourage your own self.  When those thoughts come to you that bring division, seek the Lord’s help.  The Lord will help you to develop a kind and generous spirit.  One that builds others up, and doesn’t tear them down.
  3. Have faith!  You’re going to find yourself in crazy situations you’ve never anticipated.  When you feel like your in a lion’s den with no escape and no plan, God can work His finest miracle in your life because you are powerless and hopeless without Him.  When you have no choice but to depend on your Heavenly Father, you will see that He will pull you through.


Review: KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible from Thomas Nelson

As part of the Thomas Nelson Bibles blogger program, I have received a copy of the KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible (Red Letter Edition) published by Thomas Nelson Bibles/Harper Collins Publishers at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review here on the Adonai Shalom USA blog.

Thomas Nelson KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible Description

The KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible uses the popular Authorized King James Version of the Bible.

This is an absolutely beautiful Bible. The cardboard book sleeve does an excellent job of protecting the Bible itself from shelfware, as evidence by the fact that in shipping, the front of the book sleeve did get slightly dented, but the Bible itself was entirely undamaged.

This Bible contains 53,000 (!!!!!!!!) center-column references! 53,000!? What a valuable resource for any Christian!

Thomas Nelson Publishing company never disappoints. The Bibles that they print are always high in quality and eye-catching.

This Bible is large print, meaning that the font size is a readable 10.5-point. This Bible includes Bible book introductions, a concordance, a 365-day reading plan, and a matching satin ribbon bookmarker. It is a Red Letter Edition, which is also a definite bonus because the reader can quickly identify the words of our Savior Jesus.

Thomas Nelson Life-Time Guarantee

The KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible also comes with the Thomas Nelson life-time guarantee. To register, visit www.thomasnelsonbibles.com/guarantee.

Color Options for the KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible

I absolutely LOVE the pink color on this Bible. I’ve always been pretty traditional in my book collecting; most of my copies of the Bible are black, a few brown, and a maroon one here and there. The soft pink offered as an option for this Bible makes this a beautiful and thoughtful gift for any female pastors in your life, mothers, grandmothers, and young women.

The  KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible is also available in the more traditional black or brown. All of these KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible have beautiful golden gilded edges on the pages, making this feel like the sacred Book it truly is.

Maps in the Thomas Nelson KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible

Thomas Nelson Bibles are renowned for their beautiful color maps included in so many editions of the Bibles they print. The KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible is no exception:

With all that is currently going on in the Middle East, being able to quickly turn to maps that express God’s story in His dealings with humanity is truly a blessing. I find that Bible history comes so much more alive with the use of colorful maps such as those included in this KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible.


This lovely Bible is readable, not only because of the 10.5-point Comfort Print (TM), but also because the layout is so well-crafted. The introduction does not draw attention to itself and likewise the center-column references do not cause confusion to the following of the actual Biblical text.

The King James Version Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible lays flat, which also aids in its readability because it won’t fold in on itself when the reader is trying to read it. Here is an example of this Bible laying flat, open to the book of Ecclesiastes:

KJV Lay flat Thomas Nelson Center column Reference Bible

My recommendation:


Rating: 5 out of 5.

I would give the Thomas Nelson KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible in pink Leathersoft TM a 5 out of 5.

Rev. Jennifer Mieliulis Fuentes, M.Div., Duke University

Book details

Title: KJV Large Print Center-Column Reference Bible
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Bibles
Release Date: 
March 2024
Genre: BIBLES/King James Version/Reference

ISBN-13: 978-1-4003-4188-7

PURCHASE LINKS:  Amazon | Christianbook

Daniel 5: King Belshazzar and a new King in charge

A New King in charge: King Belshazzar

In our study of Daniel, we have talked at length about King Nebuchadnezzar: from his rule over magnificent and wealthy Babylon to his humiliation when he lived in the manner of beasts. King Nebuchadnezzar’s wits had been restored to him, but meanwhile, kings rise up and fall . . . and at this point in the historical record, there was a new king in charge.

Daniel 5:1

Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. 


King Nebuchadnezzar to King Belshazzar

 Remember when we talked about the kingdoms that would come after Babylon? The Medo-Persian Empire, the Greek (Hellenistic) Empire, and the Roman Empire, followed by divided nations.

A historian named Berosus had chronicled what was happening in Babylon. He actually served as a Babylonian priest of Bel Marduk, but he was Hellenistic and actually wrote in Koiné Greek, a departure from Chaldean (an Aramaic dialect). We see a transitioning from the Babylon of King Nebuchadnezzar into a weakening empire that would be overtaken first by the Medo-Persians and then by the Greeks.

Berosus gives a timeline for some of these kings which helps us understand where King Belshazzar fits in.

King Nebuchadnezzar had a son. His name was Evil-Merodach. His Babylonian name would be transliterated more like Awil-Marduk, but I think as generations have passed, scribes left it as “Evil” because he was evil, licentious (lawless, crude, unrestrained), and served Marduk so the name fits and has stuck.

If you remember from Daniel 1, King Jehoiachin of Judah was the son of King Jehoiakim of Judah.

2 Chronicles 36:9 “Jehoiachin was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months and ten days. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD.” (He did evil, just like his father Jehoiakim)

Well, if we turn to 2 Kings 25:27-30, Evil-Merodach befriends the wicked Judean king:

27 Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-seventh day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, released Jehoiachin king of Judah from prison. 

28 He spoke kindly to him, and gave him a more prominent seat than those of the kings who were with him in Babylon. 29 So Jehoiachin changed from his prison garments, and he ate bread regularly before the king all the days of his life. 30 And as for his provisions, there was a regular ration given him by the king, a portion for each day, all the days of his life.

This is also reported in Jeremiah 52:31-34:

“Now it came to pass in the thirty-seventh year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, that Evil-Merodach king of Babylon, in the first year of his reign, lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison.” Jeremiah 52:31

ExtraBiblical sources such as Berosus and even Ptolemy record that Evil-Merodach ruled for only 2 years and then was assassinated by his brother-in-law. His brother-in-law was named Nergal-Sharezar.

Well, the Bible does at least mention Nergal-Sharezar in Jeremiah 39:3

“Then all the princes of the king of Babylon came in and sat in the Middle Gate: Nergal-Sharezer, Samgar-Nebo, Sarsechim, Rabsaris, Nergal-Sarezer, Rabmag, with the rest of the princes of the king of Babylon.” Jeremiah 39:3. He is also mentioned in Jeremiah 39:13.

It is said he ruled for 4 years and then he died of natural causes. The ancient historians say that he had a son, Laborosoarchod, who ruled as a child, but he had a mental disorder. He only ruled for 9 months when a gang of conspirators beat him to death.

The gang appointed one of their guys, Nabonidus, to be the new king.

Nabonidus had a son named Belshazzar, who became king. These were the final Babylonian kings.

Don’t confuse Daniel’s Babylonian name, “Belteshazzar” with this King Belshazzar. Very similar and even in meaning, their gods will “protect,” but Daniel is not the king, so don’t get confused by all these names.

Daniel 5:2-4

Belshazzar’s desecration of the temple utensils

“While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.” (Daniel 5:2-4)

It has been years since the holy items had been taken from the Jerusalem temple.

But Belshazzar wanted to make a point of how mighty his empire was and commanded that the gold and silver cups and utensils be brought to be used at his pagan feast and all those people drank from them with no shame.

Verse 4 should catch our attention. They drank their wine and “praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.”

Remember King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue dream? It was constructed of each of those items. Their worship was severely misguided and would result in the fulfillment of that dream.

Daniel 5:5-12

In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other. 

The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck; and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.” Now all the king’s wise men came, but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.

10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. 11 There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God. And in the days of your father, light and understanding and wisdom, like the wisdom of the gods, were found in him; and King Nebuchadnezzar your father—your father the king—made him chief of the magicians, astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers. 

12 Inasmuch as an excellent spirit, knowledge, understanding, interpreting dreams, solving riddles, and explaining enigmas were found in this Daniel, whom the king named Belteshazzar, now let Daniel be called, and he will give the interpretation.” Daniel 5:1-12

Daniel and Belshazzar

The handwriting on the wall

If you’ve ever heard that phrase, “the handwriting’s on the wall,” everything’s going down from here . . . it comes from this.

King Belshazzar watched as he experienced a vision. He saw a man’s hand writing on the wall. Like King Nebuchadnezzar’s before him, King Belshazzar’s countenance changed . . . and his knees buckled!

Like King Nebuchadnezzar (these kings never learn!) he called for his astrologer and sorcery team. But, as usual, they were useless for the task (verse 8).

The Queen’s wisdom

According to commentaries, the queen mentioned in Daniel 5:10 is not King Belshazzar’s wife, but rather the queen mother. The Queen was either versed in their national history, had a good memory, or feared God. She knew about Daniel and counseled Belshazzar to call for Daniel. She was certain Daniel could give Belshazzar the interpretation of the writing on the wall.

Daniel 5:13-16

13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 

15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”

Daniel had been governor, but with all the different kings rising to power, he had essentially been demoted and forgotten about. Now King Belshazzar offers to make him third in command.

But Daniel wants no part of that:

Daniel 5:17-24

17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 

20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.

22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.”

Daniel is very confident in who he is as a prophet. He knew he would be able to interpret the writing.

When you serve God and you know who you are in Christ, you can have that same conviction. Learn to operate in the gifts of the Spirit and allow God to use you to bless others. Daniel had a prophetic gifting and He cultivated that as He sought God.

Daniel reminds King Belshazzar about all that happened to his predecessor King Nebuchadnezzar.

Verse 22 is very convicting because Daniel tells Belshazzar, “you knew all [of] this.”

This isn’t news to you, king.

Daniel describes 5 sins of Belshazzar:

  1. Belshazzar hasn’t humbled his heart
  2. Belshazzar has lifted himself up against the Lord of heaven. Daniel uses the term, “Lord.” In those earlier chapters, the term “God” was often used. But it has been established which God we are talking about, and not only is the God of Israel Supreme, but He is LORD of heaven. Lord over all of Belshazzar’s gods.
  3. Belshazzar used the LORD’s holy vessels to drink wine at his pagan feast.
  4. Belshazzar has given praise to idols who cannot see, hear, or know.
  5. Belshazzar refuses to glorify the God who has given him life, and who owns everything

Daniel 5:25-31

25 “And this is the inscription that was written:


26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom.

30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

Daniel gives the interpretation, Belshazzar receives it by promoting Daniel again, but that very night, Belshazzar was killed.

And Darius, the Mede received the kingdom.

Babylon has fallen.

A new King in charge

The Babylonian king didn’t measure up.

The world’s systems will bring to power all sorts of kings and leaders. But God wants to be the King in charge.

If you’ve placed your trust in Jesus, He is the new King in charge of your life.

Let Him rule and reign in Your life!

The Medo-Persian Empire and the situation in the Middle East today

This weekend, Iran launched an aggressive attack against Israel.

In the Bible, Iran is also known as Persia, as well as Elam.

Jeremiah 49:35-39

“Thus says the Lord of hosts:

Behold, I will break the bow of Elam,
The foremost of their might.
Against Elam I will bring the four winds
From the four quarters of heaven,
And scatter them toward all those winds;
There shall be no nations where the outcasts of Elam will not go.
For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies
And before those who seek their life.
I will bring disaster upon them,
My fierce anger,’ says the Lord;
‘And I will send the sword after them
Until I have consumed them.
I will set My throne in Elam,
And will destroy from there the king and the princes,’ says the Lord.

‘But it shall come to pass in the latter days:
I will bring back the captives of Elam,’ says the Lord.”

The Elamites and the Medes became part of the Persian Empire, and we just saw in Daniel 5 that the Medo-Persian Empire conquered Babylon in 539BC.

The fall of Babylon was prophesied in Isaiah 21:1-2:

The burden against the Wilderness of the Sea.

As whirlwinds in the South pass through,
So it comes from the desert, from a terrible land.
A distressing vision is declared to me;
The treacherous dealer deals treacherously,
And the plunderer plunders.
Go up, O Elam!
Besiege, O Media!
All its sighing I have made to cease.

The area in southern Babylon near the Persian Gulf was known as the “Land of the sea.” I imagine it would have been seen as a tourist destination, a beautiful place.

Well, God mocks their view of beauty. He calls it the Wilderness – in other words, the Wasteland desert of the sea. Babylon would be made desolate.

Daniel actually lived in Elam according to Daniel 8:2.

We know that ultimately Elam (Persia) will ally with Magog, which is believed to be Russia. (Ez.38:5)

“You will say, ‘I will go up against a land of unwalled villages; I will go to a peaceful people, who dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates’—  to take plunder and to take booty, to stretch out your hand against the waste places that are again inhabited, and against a people gathered from the nations, who have acquired livestock and goods, who dwell in the midst of the land.” Ezekiel 38:11-12

There are differing views as to when the Gog/Magog war will begin, so you would have to really study this out to come up with what you think best aligns with the Scriptures.

Some believe the Gog/Magog War will occur pre-Tribulation while others believe it would occur during the first half of the tribulation. In any case, we know that Iran will fall on the mountains of Israel (Ez.39:4-5). While Iran and Russia plot and plan for a total victory, Ezekiel 39:7 assures us that God will make His Holy Name known.

Hope for Iranians?

It is so very difficult to live in a nation that does its best to work against God.

Even the United States is becoming more and more secularized and anti-God.

The people of Iran have faced so much oppression, yet God has been working and there have been many conversions to Christianity despite the very real risks.

God can still bless you, even if you find yourself alone.

Parthians, Medes, and Elamites

“And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia . . . ” Acts 2:8-9

Who was present on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2?

Medes and Elamites!

Persians! Iranians!

Jesus told His disciples to wait on Him, to wait on the Promise of the Father. And they did: from every nation, tribe, and tongue.

Similarly today, we await the Blessed Hope! He will return for all of us who believe and have placed our trust in Messiah Jesus!

“For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,  teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,  looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ . . .” Titus 2:11-13

Place your trust in Him today! The fulfillment of so many Biblical prophecies in Isaiah, Daniel and Ezekiel prove that He will soon return! Are you ready for His return? Are you ready to meet Him in the air? If you would like to know more about Messiah Yeshua (Jesus Christ), please send us a message. We would love to hear from you!

Review: Amplified Journal the Word Bible from Zondervan

As part of the Zondervan blogger program, I have received a copy of the Zondervan Amplified “Journal the Word” Bible published by Zondervan Bibles/Harper Collins Publishers at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review here on the Adonai Shalom USA blog. #zondervanpartner

Amplified Journal the Word Bible Book Review & Description

The Zondervan Amplified Journal the Word Bible uses the popular Amplified translation of the Biblical text. This particular edition allows ample space so that those who enjoy taking notes in the margins or even drawing and doodling can have room to truly personalize their copy of the Holy Scriptures.

Amplified Journal the Word Bible

The Amplified version is nice because this translation inserts notes to help define key words and phrases in Scripture that are otherwise misunderstood or overlooked due to difficulties in transition from the original Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew. The brackets and parentheses help to ensure that none of these notes are mistaken as actual Scripture, which is critical because Revelation 22:18 sternly warns us to never add to the actual Scriptures. The purpose of the Amplified Bible is to add understanding, not to add erroneous text, and I believe it fulfills its mission in a helpful way for those wanting to delve deeper into the original meaning of the text.

From the back cover book jacket: “The Amplified Bible translation delivers enhanced understanding of the rich nuances and shades of meaning of the original Greek and Hebrew words in Scripture. Using a unique system of brackets, parentheses, and italics, the Amplified Bible defines and expands key words and phrases within the text of Scripture. In this way, the fuller meaning of God’s Word unfolds, verse by verse, as you read.”

I immediately noticed the beautiful Leathersoft (TM) cover. The size of this Bible is perfect for personal devotionals.

It features two satin ribbon bookmarks and it lays flat when open, which is ideal for serious notetakers!

Zondervan Bibles

The Zondervan Amplified Journal the Word Bible uses 9.5-point font which is very readable. Zondervan Bibles are always of the highest quality and you will not be disappointed with this Bible.

A Bible for Personal Study

The Zondervan Amplified Journal the Word Bible is excellent for personal study. It is not; however, a “study Bible” in that this Bible does not contain notes, commentary, concordances, nor maps. The Amplified translation intends for the reader to gather insights from the amplified text which does contain elements that could be considered commentary. Immediately following the ending of the New Testament in Revelation, there are additional pages for personal notes.

The Zondervan Amplified Journal the Word Bible does contain an “Explanation of General Format” to help those unfamiliar with the Amplified version to understand how the features work within the text:

I personally enjoy anything that helps to further explain the original meanings, so I like the Amplified Version. The only thing I could suggest to make this particular Journal the Word Bible even better would be if there were further textual commentary included on each page.

My recommendation:


Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Zondervan Amplified Journal the Word Bible deserves a 5 out of 5.

This high-quality Amplified version of the Bible is suitable for anyone who enjoys writing notes or drawing in the margins of their personal devotional Bible. It would make a wonderful gift for the artists and creative people in your life who love God’s Word!

Rev. Jennifer Mieliulis Fuentes, M.Div., Duke University

Book details

Title: Amplified Journal the Word Bible
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: 
February 2024
Genre: BIBLES/The Amplified Bible/Journaling

ISBN-13: 978-0-310-46362-7

Daniel 4: Nebuchadnezzar is humbled before the True King

In the previous chapter, King Nebuchadnezzar witnessed the miracle of the 3 Judean youth unharmed despite being thrown into Babylon’s fiery furnace.

King Nebuchadnezzar now addresses everyone and decides to acknowledge God’s wondrous works:

Daniel 4:1-9

“Nebuchadnezzar the king,

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

Peace be multiplied to you.

I thought it good to declare the signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me.

How great are His signs,
And how mighty His wonders!
His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,
And His dominion is from generation to generation.

I, Nebuchadnezzar, was at rest in my house, and flourishing in my palace. I saw a dream which made me afraid, and the thoughts on my bed and the visions of my head troubled me. Therefore I issued a decree to bring in all the wise men of Babylon before me, that they might make known to me the interpretation of the dream. Then the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers came in, and I told them the dream; but they did not make known to me its interpretation. But at last Daniel came before me (his name is Belteshazzar, according to the name of my god; in him is the Spirit of the Holy God), and I told the dream before him, saying: “Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the Spirit of the Holy God is in you, and no secret troubles you, explain to me the visions of my dream that I have seen, and its interpretation.” (Daniel 4:1-9, emphases added)

King Nebuchadnezzar acknowledges a difference between his god and Daniel’s “Holy” God.

Verse 2: “I thought it good…” In the NIV, “It is my pleasure to tell you about the miraculous signs and wonders that the Most High God has performed for me.”, (emphasis added). Daniel attributes the miraculous signs and wonders to the Most High God – hierarchically using terminology that makes the claim that his God is above all other gods.

King Nebuchadnezzar describes another dream

Daniel 4:10-12

10 “These were the visions of my head while on my bed:

I was looking, and behold,
A tree in the midst of the earth,
And its height was great.
11 The tree grew and became strong;
Its height reached to the heavens,
And it could be seen to the ends of all the earth.
12 Its leaves were lovely,
Its fruit abundant,
And in it was food for all.
The beasts of the field found shade under it,
The birds of the heavens dwelt in its branches,
And all flesh was fed from it.”
(Daniel 4:10-12)

Daniel 4:4 describes how Nebuchadnezzar was flourishing. This dream appears to be describing King Nebuchadnezzar’s current situation at the height of his reign – he is like a tall, strong tree that provides for the kingdom in abundance.

Daniel 4:13

A message from above:

13 “I saw in the visions of my head while on my bed, and there was a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven.  (Daniel 4:13)

In Deuteronomy, the Bible describes another time when holy ones came down:

He said,

“The LORD came from Sinai
    and dawned from Seir upon us;
    he shone forth from Mount Paran;
He came from the ten thousands of holy ones,
    with flaming fire at His right hand.” (Deuteronomy 33:2, ESV)

Daniel 4:14-15

The tree will be chopped down

14 He cried aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and cut off its branches,
Strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit.
Let the beasts get out from under it,
And the birds from its branches.
15 Nevertheless leave the stump and roots in the earth,
Bound with a band of iron and bronze,
In the tender grass of the field.
Let it be wet with the dew of heaven,
And let him graze with the beasts
On the grass of the earth.” (Daniel 4:14-15)
, emphasis added

Verse 15 reveals and confirms that the tree does indeed represent King Nebuchadnezzar with the verse saying, let “him.”

Daniel 4:16-17

Man to Beast

Let his heart be changed from that of a man,
Let him be given the heart of a beast,
And let seven times pass over him.

‘This decision is by the decree of the watchers,
And the sentence by the word of the holy ones,
In order that the living may know
That the Most High rules in the kingdom of men,
Gives it to whomever He will,
And sets over it the lowest of men.’
(Daniel 4:16-17)

The watchers from the heavenly court have made a very strong decree so that “the living may know that the Most High rules . . . “: King Nebuchadnezzar’s heart will be transformed from that of a man to an animal.

And 7 times will pass.

Most interpret these 7 to be a literal 7 years. 7, again, symbolizes “completion.” In the completion of time, the fullness of time.

Daniel 4:18

18 “This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, have seen. Now you, Belteshazzar, declare its interpretation, since all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation; but you are able, for the Spirit of the Holy God is in you.” (Daniel 4:18)

King Nebuchadnezzar now expects Daniel to give the interpretation! He recognizes that the Spirit of the Holy God is in Daniel.

Daniel 4:19-26

Daniel did indeed receive the interpretation of the dream, but he was very startled by it:

19 “Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the king spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.”

Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies!

20 “The tree that you saw, which grew and became strong, whose height reached to the heavens and which could be seen by all the earth, 21 whose leaves were lovely and its fruit abundant, in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt, and in whose branches the birds of the heaven had their home— 22 it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong; for your greatness has grown and reaches to the heavens, and your dominion to the end of the earth.

23 “And inasmuch as the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave its stump and roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze in the tender grass of the field; let it be wet with the dew of heaven, and let him graze with the beasts of the field, till seven times pass over him’; 24 this is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king: 25 They shall drive you from men, your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make you eat grass like oxen. They shall wet you with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.

26 “And inasmuch as they gave the command to leave the stump and roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be assured to you, after you come to know that Heaven rules.

The purpose of the coming trial for King Nebuchadnezzar is for him to “come to know that Heaven rules.” King Nebuchadnezzar had a court, but the court of heaven is far superior to that of Babylon.

In Daniel 4:20, the tree is described similarly to the Tower of Babel: having height reaching to the heavens:

Genesis 11:1-4 Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”

King Nebuchadnezzar had the same ambitious spirit.

The tree is to be chopped down, but the stump left in tact and bound up with iron and bronze.

In Daniel 2, iron and bronze represented Rome and Greece, respectively. The Babylonian Empire would remain intertwined – rooted – and even so much as bound up – together with the empires that would follow. Rather than displaying its power and might freely, Babylon would be confined.

Daniel 4:27

27 “Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity.”

Daniel gives King Nebuchadnezzar some valuable advice: seek righteousness and mercy to break the power of sin in his life. Looking ahead to Daniel 4:29, we see that God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a full year to repent!

Daniel 4:28-33

28 “All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of the twelve months he was walking about the royal palace of Babylon. 30 The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”

31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.”

33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.”

King Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted with what modern psychologists call “boanthropy.” This is a mental disorder that causes its victim to believe he is an ox or a cow. But I think King Nebuchadnezzar had it even worse. I haven’t seen anybody have hair like eagle’s feathers and nails like claws. God allowed him to experience a pit of shame. Sometimes that’s what it takes to get us to not think so highly of ourselves. His pride as Babylon’s leader had to be stripped away.

From 1 Peter 5:5; . . . “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

We must pray for God’s mercy, that we will always remain humble no matter what position we find ourselves in whether it is in ministry or a secular job or any type of leadership.

Daniel 4:34-37

34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:

For His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
And His kingdom is from generation to generation.
35 All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing;
He does according to His will in the army of heaven
And among the inhabitants of the earth.
No one can restrain His hand
Or say to Him, “What have You done?”

36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.”

Once the set time had been fulfilled, Nebuchadnezzar looked up to heaven and his understanding and reason was given back to him.

Notice he acknowledged Daniel’s God. Nebuchadnezzar “blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever . . . “ (Daniel 4:34). He continued on, in a prayerful manner, confessing God’s dominion and power.

Daniel 4:36 tells us that for the glory of King Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom, God allowed his honor and splendor to return to him. King Nebuchadnezzar extolled and honored God as the true King.

A lesson for us today

Pride sets itself up so very quickly, and when a person has access to privilege and material possessions, it can be a challenge to remain humble.

Our King Jesus demonstrated humility, as we talked about on Palm Sunday. May the Lord help each of us to always remain humble and give God all the glory in our lives!

The Resurrection: Where is Jesus?!

The Empty Tomb: Jesus rose from the dead!

John’s Resurrection Account:

“Now the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

Peter therefore went out, and the other disciple, and were going to the tomb. So they both ran together, and the other disciple outran Peter and came to the tomb first. And he, stooping down and looking in, saw the linen cloths lying there; yet he did not go in. 

Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; and he saw the linen cloths lying there, and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who came to the tomb first, went in also; and he saw and believed. For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.” John 20:1-10

We’ve been talking a bit about Lazarus. Lazarus needed someone to pray for him and he ended up being resurrected, but Jesus – He could resurrect Himself!

Now today, we see that the Bible says (John 20:9) that the disciples “as yet did not know the Scripture that He must rise again…” The lesson in that for us is, let’s make sure we know the Scriptures so we are never caught off guard and we can attest to the reality that Jesus did in fact rise from the dead!

Conquering Fear

The resurrection is as much about new life as it is about conquering fear.

It is because of the resurrection that Paul could say:

“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?” 1 Cor.15:55

When I served as a chaplain, I saw death every day.

Some people were ready to confront that reality while others were definitely not.

Those who had lived for Jesus and had professed a consistent faith in Christ were ready. Even when pain would come, believers have a peace and a preparedness, knowing that death is no longer final and that

Psalm 116:15 “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints.”

But fear grips that heart of so many.

One night at the hospital, there was a man there who essentially refused to repent. From what I could tell, he didn’t believe in Jesus, heaven, or hell and he was experiencing genuine agony. Excruciating pain coupled with absolute fear.

When a person has never experienced a life-changing encounter with Jesus, they will fear death in an often terrifying way.

The disciples would have been terrified, too.

They were targets after the crucifixion. Peter denied Jesus for a reason. These people were scared out of their minds!

Their hopes that somehow Jesus would miraculously escape being put to death had been crushed.

They didn’t know that death could be defeated with finality. Yes, Lazarus had been raised up, but a lasting, victorious eternal resurrection . . . they didn’t know that was possible.

The disciples were in hiding. It was probably actually safer for the women to go to the tomb!

But Mary went to the tomb while it was still dark. She was eager and probably couldn’t sleep, but she, like Nicodemus going to visit Jesus under cover of darkness, took advantage of the darkness to go out.

Mary Magdalene’s discovery at the tomb

John 20:2 “Then she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.”

They have taken away the Lord!

At first glance, it seems Mary immediately blames Rome.

Could it be? The empire has done this.

Those wicked soldiers have taken away her dearest Jesus.

After all, it is easy to cast blame when we are upset.

But Luke’s Gospel fills in more details about the Resurrection. Let’s turn to Luke 24.

Luke’s Resurrection Account

Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them, came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 

And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ”

And they remembered His words. Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.” (Luke 24:1-10).

Mary was with Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and other women. They had brought prepared spices for the body of Jesus.

They’ve taken the body?


The angels?

Mary and her friends were “greatly perplexed” (verse 4) about where the body could be.

And then the 2 angels appear and ask the perfect question:

“Why do you seek the living among the dead? And they reminded the women of Jesus’ words.

But the women still don’t grasp this fully because John says they came back saying that they didn’t know where the body was lain.

Between the shock of it all and having just received an angelic visitation, the women’s story when they came back sounded like gibberish to the men. They have all been traumatized.

Jesus was killed in the most excruciating way possible, crucified on that cross, then He was buried, and now nobody knows where He is.

He’s wanted dead or alive.

Where is Jesus?

Where is the body?


But Peter, he had been through enough in the past few hours, he knew he should go to that tomb. See what is going on.

He sees the folded handkerchief (John 20:7).

John 20:9 Peter and the women and the other disciples did not yet know the meaning of the Scriptures.

Luke 24:12 Peter marveled to himself about what happened.

Jesus appears to Mary

Overtaken by the emotion of the moment, Mary was weeping. She is just so worried about where this body is at.

Do you ever get so focused on something and people around you or the Holy Spirit is telling you – the answer is before you, but you are so distracted that you don’t see it?

God sent angels to Mary and even Jesus Himself and she was still struggling!

John 20:11-18

11 But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. 13 Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”

14 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”

16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher).

17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ”

18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord, and that He had spoken these things to her.

When Mary thought she was talking to a gardener, she still asked Him, “where did you lay the body?” She is willing to take Jesus’ body anywhere else if they would just tell her where it is.

So Jesus meets her where she is at and calls her by name.

And she recognized His voice.

“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” John 10:27

Later that day . . .

The disciples gathered together behind closed and locked doors, “for fear of the Jews.” John 20:19

See, this confirms that they were very fearful.

But Jesus appears.

When you find yourself facing a fear or very anxious, turn to Jesus.

The Resurrected Risen Jesus appeared and said, Shalom. “Peace be with you.”

He showed them his wounds because He knew they were incapable of having peace until they had seen some physical evidence.

Jesus repeats His blessing – trying to reassure these panicked, fearful disciples.

And then He immediately commissions them.

He didn’t give them a day to reflect on what had happened. He immediately sends them out to make more disciples. There is no time to waste. Souls need to be saved.

John 20:21 “As the Father has sent Me, I also send you . . . “

And Jesus doesn’t leave them comfortless.

He doesn’t send them out with just a simple Gospel message.

He breathed His very Spirit upon them: “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:22)

He sends them out with power.

You need the Holy Spirit. The same power that raised up Jesus from the grave.

John 20:23 has been taken out of context at times because it seems a little confusing. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. This has to do with the responsibility that Jesus’ disciples have to preach the Gospel to the world. A person who has never heard the Gospel cannot receive life-saving forgiveness. Only God has the power to forgive.

John 2:24-25 “Now Thomas, called the Twin, one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.”

So he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”

When Jesus was in the room, and showed them His hands and His side, Thomas wasn’t there.

Don’t miss God.

Why wasn’t Thomas around?

Sometimes people stop going to church, they are no longer accountable, or for various reasons whether it’s past hurts or fears or judgmentalism, they just stop attending. They don’t gather with believers, even though Hebrews 10:25 tells us to never neglect the assembling together because we are encouraged when we are together.

Was Thomas too afraid to be there?

Did Thomas already lose his faith, just completely devastated that Jesus was dead?

That was fast. Some people don’t have unshakable faith. You gotta get to a place where you have unshakable faith.

Doubting Thomas wants to see a sign – and ironically he requests to see the print of the nails and feel the wounds of his hand and side. But Jesus already showed that. Thomas missed the mark.

Thomas wasn’t there to receive the Holy Spirit. His missed out.

Don’t be the one who misses out.

The Resurrection changed everything

Had Jesus never risen from the dead, we would be without hope.

The resurrection changed everything!

Let the reality of the resurrection breathe new life into you today. Meditate on the awesomeness that Jesus has power over the grave, and you, too, will one day rise to be with the Lord!

We know something that not everyone knows.

Like the disciples who encounter the Risen Jesus, we have a testimony that people need to hear.

It’s that age-old question. Where is Jesus? Who is Jesus?

Maybe you are someone who has heard the Gospel many times, but you need to regroup and regain the sense of awe and power that the Gospel should have over your life.

1 Corinthians 1:18: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

Before Lazarus was raised from the dead, Martha was unsure that Jesus could do anything.


John 11:25-26: “Jesus said to [Martha], ‘I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ 

Martha believed in a resurrection, on the last day. But Jesus said, we don’t need to wait for the last day.  If you know me and if you believe my Words, lives can be resurrected right here right now. 

So today, let it be our prayer: Lord, increase our faith!

Lord, make your Gospel real to me!

Lord, let me know the power of the Good News! That I would be motivated by the Gospel to share with others this glorious news!

Lord, make known to me – in a tangible way – who You are.

So that when the question is asked, Who is Jesus and where is He? He is here and His Spirit dwells within you and me and

Jesus is very much alive! He is risen, He is risen indeed!


Palm Sunday: the Hour has Come

Zechariah’s Shabbat HaGadol/Palm Sunday Prophecy

Every year, I enjoy reading Zechariah’s prophecy in Zechariah 9:9-10 that was fulfilled on Shabbat haGadol, Palm Sunday:

“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King is coming to you;
He is just and having salvation,
Lowly and riding on a donkey,
A colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
The battle bow shall be cut off.
He shall speak peace to the nations;
His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.’’ Zechariah 9:9-10

“From the River to the Sea . . . to the ends of the earth”

You may have heard the Palestinian chant back when Hamas’ Gaza still stood strong, “From the River to the sea, Palestine shall be free.”

The problem with the chant is that it (either inadvertently or purposefully) calls for the annihilation of Israel. Palestine wanted to claim the land from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

So when I read this portion of Zechariah’s prophecy in preparation for today’s message, I was struck by the ending of verse 10:

His dominion shall be ‘from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.’’ Zechariah 9:9-10

Jesus’ dominion shall be from the River to the sea to the ends of the earth. Glory Hallelujah!

And so much was set in motion on Palm Sunday.

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem

Let’s read John 12:12-22:

12 The next day a great multitude that had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, 13 took branches of palm trees and went out to meet Him, and cried out:

‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’
The King of Israel!”

14 Then Jesus, when He had found a young donkey, sat on it; as it is written:

15 “Fear not, daughter of Zion;
Behold, your King is coming,
Sitting on a donkey’s colt.”

16 His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.

17 Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. 18 For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign. 19 The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast. 21 Then they came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida of Galilee, and asked him, saying, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.”

22 Philip came and told Andrew, and in turn Andrew and Philip told Jesus. (emphasis added)

The disciples and crowd rejoice

Last week we talked about Philip. He was the eager one. We’ve found Him! We have identified who the Messiah is and He is alive in our time today! On that first Palm Sunday, Philip would have been among those who were crying out “Hoshia-na!” Lord, save us!

That same excitement and enthusiasm is what we need. We know who the Savior is. He is alive in our time and He is coming back. We need to share with others that He is indeed the only One who can save us!

John 1:45 “Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote – Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

Philip and Andrew were long-time friends. People were coming far and wide to celebrate the Passover feast. It is very interesting that the Scriptures tell us that some Greek travelers were in town and wanted to see Jesus. The message of Jesus was reaching beyond the Jewish enclave. The message was for Jew and Greek, Jew and Gentile.

Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

Philip, Andrew, Mary, Martha, the Risen Lazarus, and a whole multitude were waving palm branches and doing their best to get as close to Jesus as they could.

Enough had transpired that they loved Him. They waved the Palm Sunday branches just like they would have done with the lulav during the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of Tabernacles was like a divine dress rehearsal for the receiving of the Word who dwelt among us:

“And you shall take for yourselves on the first day the fruit of beautiful trees, branches of palm trees, the boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days.” Leviticus 23:40, (emphasis added)

Notice, the people were commanded to rejoice. Now, the crowds in Jerusalem freely rejoiced and they heard testimony of witnessing Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead!

John 12:17-18 “Therefore the people, who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of his tomb and raised him from the dead, bore witness. For this reason the people also met Him, because they heard that He had done this sign.”

His fame was spreading and eyewitnesses to Lazarus’ resurrection were now willing to speak up and testify.

The Bible tells us the disciples didn’t understand at first (John 12:16). It took many of them until after the ascension to reflect back and see that Jesus had fulfilled the prophetic Scriptures.

The Hour has come

At the wedding in Cana, Jesus told his mother His hour had not yet come (John 2:4).

In John 7:6, same thing: “Then Jesus said to them, My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.”

John 7:30 “Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.”

John 8:20 “These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.”

But now in John 12:23, “[And] Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.” (emphasis added)

The Greek word, δὲ, should be translated “and” in John 12:23. The “but” used in the NKJV should be “and.” KJV, ESV, and NIV got this right here.

Victory Proven

Jesus is fully triumphant. He is the One the Scriptures have foretold, He is revealing Himself to His disciples on that Palm Sunday and even the crowds around Him, and has announced that the hour has come for Him to be glorified.

He didn’t say, the hour of terror has come. It will be an excruciating hour, but Jesus is focused on the victory.

Meanwhile the Pharisees are wallowing in their ineffectual campaign against the Lord.

John 12:19 “The Pharisees therefore said among themselves, “You see that you are accomplishing nothing. Look, the world has gone after Him!”

They are pointing fingers at each other. You’ve done nothing to stop this! The whole world is following this donkey-riding “king.” Their strategy to bring Him down is imploding because of their own disunity.

Unity is so very important. If we want to see a genuine move of God in this city, we need to be of united purpose. Division and finger-pointing are the enemy’s tactics to destroy such a movement.

“We wish to see Jesus”

On the first Palm Sunday, the Greek men expressed that they wanted to see Jesus. They didn’t care about the Pharisee’s religious constructs. Judaism was fairly foreign to them. They wanted to meet the miracle-working, salvation-bringing Son of God.

Similarly, there’s a hunger in hearts today.

Our culture here in North Central Wisconsin is also longing to see Jesus. They see a glimpse,

“For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.” 1 Corinthians 13:12

But lost souls here need to see Jesus in you. They need to know more than religion.

The Father glorified

John 12:27-36 27 “Now My soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour. 28 Father, glorify Your name.”

Then a voice came from heaven, saying, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.”

29 Therefore the people who stood by and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to Him.”

30 Jesus answered and said, “This voice did not come because of Me, but for your sake. 31 Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. 32 And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.” 33 This He said, signifying by what death He would die.

34 The people answered Him, “We have heard from the law that the Christ remains forever; and how can You say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up’? Who is this Son of Man?”

35 Then Jesus said to them, “A little while longer the light is with you. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you; he who walks in darkness does not know where he is going.36 While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.” These things Jesus spoke, and departed, and was hidden from them.

Here Jesus expresses His emotions. His soul was troubled. He expresses the sentiment found in Psalm 6:

Psalm 6:2-5

Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am weak;
O Lord, heal me, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O Lord—how long?

Return, O Lord, deliver me!
Oh, save me for Your mercies’ sake!
For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?

The human part of Jesus would really feel strongly about verse 5, don’t you think?

The divine part of Him knows He can’t ask the Father to detain this. He came to earth for this very moment.

And the Father’s voice was heard audibly. This gets glossed over a lot. A voice thundered. It’s unclear whether or not the people heard what was said to Jesus, but they knew a voice from above had spoken.

If any around had doubts, there could be no doubt now.

Who is the Son of Man?

The Palm Sunday crowd asked the essential question: who is this Son of Man? The Messiah we know about will live forever, but you talk of your death. Where do you fit into the story, Jesus? We don’t understand who is a “Son of Man.”

He spoke cryptically: be sons of light.

And then He left from that place and was hidden to them (v.36).

“Behold, our King is coming to you”

“Behold, our King is coming. He is just and having salvation.” Zechariah’s words that were fulfilled on Palm Sunday are still true to this day and they have a two-part meaning. The LORD rode in on a colt, but His dominion will extend to the ends of the earth. Maranatha!

Review: The NKJV Breathe Life Bible

As part of the Thomas Nelson Bibles blogger program, I have received a copy of the NKJV Breath Life Bible published by Thomas Nelson Bibles/Harper Collins Publishers at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review here on the Adonai Shalom USA blog.

Thomas Nelson NKJV The Breathe Life Bible Book Description

The NKJV Breathe Life Bible is a Christian response to the social unrest in Minneapolis and around the country following the tragic death of George Floyd in 2020.

This edition of the Bible contains the full text of the reliable NKJV translation with articles throughout that relate to racial reconciliation and social justice.

The contributors have come up with an acronym: BREATHE: Believe, Reconcile, Exalt, Act, Trust, Hope, and Elevate to help the reader find peace in God’s Word in a broken world.

Maps in the Thomas Nelson NKJV Breathe Life Bible

I received a paperback edition of this Bible. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the softcover edition contains the same high-quality, colorful maps that are found in so many Thomas Nelson Bibles such as the NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible.

The maps included feature the “World of the Patriarchs,” “Exodus and Conquest of Canaan,” “Land of the Twelve Tribes,” “Kingdom of David and Solomon,” “Jesus’ Ministry,” “Paul’s Missionary Journeys,” and “Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus.”

The binding showed a bit of wear from shipping, but all in all it is a high quality, economical edition of the Bible.

Here is an excerpt from the overview page on the Gospel According to Mark:

This Bible features articles focusing on “faith in action:”

This NKJV Bible uses a very readable “Comfort Print” font exclusive to Thomas Nelson Bibles.

My recommendation:


Rating: 4 out of 5.

I would give the Thomas Nelson NKJV Breathe Life Bible a 4 out of 5.

Rev. Jennifer Mieliulis Fuentes, M.Div., Duke University

Book details

Title: The Breathe Life Bible
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Bibles
Release Date: 
Genre: BIBLES/New King James Version/Study

ISBN-13: 978-0-7852-6305-0

PURCHASE LINKS:  Amazon | Christianbook

Daniel 3: Four in the Fire

Recap of Daniel 2: Interpretation of Dreams

Daniel was given the interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream because He relied on God’s promises. He prayed together with his friends and sought God, and the interpretation of the dream was given.

Daniel, like Joseph

This week I was reminded that Pharaoh, King of Egypt, also had mysterious and troubling dreams. God used Joseph to give him the interpretation. Like Daniel in Babylon, Joseph in Egypt was given favor by the pagan king and promoted to rule alongside the Pharaoh.

Genesis 41:37-41

37 So the advice was good in the eyes of Pharaoh and in the eyes of all his servants. 38 And Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?”

39 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Inasmuch as God has shown you all this, there is no one as discerning and wise as you. 40 You shall be over my house, and all my people shall be ruled according to your word; only in regard to the throne will I be greater than you.” 41 And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “See, I have set you over all the land of Egypt.” (Gen.41:37-41, emphasis added)

Daniel 3:1-7

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was sixty cubits and its width six cubits. He set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. 

And King Nebuchadnezzar sent word to gather together the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

So the satraps, the administrators, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates, and all the officials of the provinces gathered together for the dedication of the image that King Nebuchadnezzar had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. 

Then a herald cried aloud: “To you it is commanded, O peoples, nations, and languages, 

that at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, you shall fall down and worship the gold image that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up; 

and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

So at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the horn, flute, harp, and lyre, in symphony with all kinds of music, all the people, nations, and languages fell down and worshiped the gold image which King Nebuchadnezzar had set up.” Daniel 3:1-7

King Nebuchadnezzar’s Image of Gold

Remember the statue-like image of King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream? (Daniel 2:32, 38)

He was the head of gold (Daniel 2:38). Babylon was extremely wealthy and prosperous.

So it is very fitting that King Nebuchadnezzar decides to build himself an image of gold.

A huge statue.

He clearly missed the point of the dream. The dream wasn’t so that he would go out and build himself a golden image, it was to alert him about the future of his kingdom and the kingdoms after him, but he fixates on the gold.

See Babylon was like Texas. Everything had to be bigger there.

An Israeli cubit was about 18″ while in Babylon a cubit was measured as about 20.”

This would make King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue the size of a 10 story building, which for ancient Babylon lacking modern construction machines, was a good size.

It was 60 by 6 cubits. Not 70 by 7. It was a mere imitation of greatness. Symbolically, the number 6 means incompletion in the Bible, sinfulness of mankind, human weakness, and the evil devil.

What was the image?

The Bible doesn’t tell us what the image actually was.

Was it a statue of one of the Babylonian deities? Or more likely: was it an image of King Nebuchadnezzar himself? Babylonian kings were worshipped as divine. Receiving a divinely-inspired dream, then, King Nebuchadnezzar may have felt very entitled to being worshipped, considering himself one amidst a pantheon of gods.

Dedication of the image

King Nebuchadnezzar decrees that all of his government officials have to come to the dedication of the idolatrous statue. What’s more, all of these people would be required to bow down and worship the gold idol when his pagan worship band starts playing.

Worship: or else . . .

The spirit of Babylon always forces a pluralistic and polytheistic agenda. Pluralism is the accepting of all religions as equally valid. Polytheism is the belief in multiple gods. Babylon claims to promote religious tolerance. We see evidence of that in their worship because the names of the instruments are actually written in Greek. The rest of this chapter is written in Aramaic, but the uniting of pagan practices and musical influences was occurring in Babylon. The empire wanted to put on a show of inclusivity and universalist worship!

But King Nebuchadnezzar’s herald (or spokesman) warned all of his colleagues: “whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.” (Daniel 3:6)

So much for tolerance.

It is the spirit of the antichrist.

Daniel 3:8-18

“Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! 10 You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; 

11 and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 12 There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up.”

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in rage and fury, gave the command to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. So they brought these men before the king. 14 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? 

15 Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” (Daniel 3:8-18)

Accuser of the brethren

Some of the Chaldeans (remember, this is just another name for Babylonians) decide to accuse the Jews. (Daniel 3:12). The Aramaic term there in Daniel 3:8  קְרַץ “qerets” translated as simply “charges” has a deeper connotation of “maliciously accused” and more literally, “to eat the pieces of, to devour piece by piece” (NKJV Study Bible).

So the Chaldeans came forward to maliciously accuse Daniel’s friends “to devour them a bit at a time, piece by piece.” It’s interesting that Daniel is not accused at this point, only his friends.

1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Here we have the same description. And recall from last week that the military commander’s name Arioch is related to the word for lion. Babylonian art was full of lion depictions that represented the king’s power and one of their goddesses. The devil is an imitator. Roaring but always lacking. We serve the Lion of the Tribe of Judah:

“But one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep. Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

200 years later, we see the same accusatory spirit of Haman in the Medo-Persian Empire:

Esther 3:6

6 “But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.” (Esther 3:6)

The devil is the Accuser:

Revelation 12:10

“Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.” (Revelation 12:10)

In Daniel 3:12, Daniel’s friends are listed by name. Their accusers are trying to really make a point. An “us” vs. “them” point.

They want to remind King Nebuchadnezzar that these Jews, who serve in the government refuse to assimilate into the pagan culture.

And King Nebuchadnezzar follows the antiSemitic lead of his advisors, but to his credit, (Daniel 3:14) he does ask the Hebrews directly if the accusations are true.

Refusal to Worship Pagan Deities

Daniel 3:13 describes King Nebuchadnezzar as being in a “rage and fury!”

He addresses Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by their Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego and asks them directly: is this true? Do you not worship my golden image?

He gives them a second chance. “Next time you hear my worship team leading idol worship, make sure you fall down and worship.” He even says that would be “good!”

And then he threatens them. Worship or else you’re being thrown into an oven.

King Nebuchadnezzar’s pride becomes very glaring.

Daniel 3:15c “who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?”

Back in Daniel 2:47, King Nebuchadnezzar had acknowledged that Daniel’s God is Lord of kings and able to reveal secrets. Did he forget already? Or did he not realize that Daniel’s friends also shared strong faith in the God of Israel? King Nebuchadnezzar viewed himself as a god and because our God cannot be seen with human eyes, he didn’t think there would be any intervention.

In Daniel 3:16, the three Judean young men don’t challenge Nebuchadnezzar. It kind of reads that way, like “we don’t need to answer you!” But it’s not that so much as they were admitting they had nothing to say, no answer for the king because their refusal to worship was so obvious.

A lot of people in our culture today, especially those who have grown up with a religious spirit are uncomfortable with expression in worship. They don’t want to raise their hands or they don’t want to physically bow before the Lord in prayer. But one of the very main definitions of worship used throughout the Bible is the Hebrew word “שָׁחָה” shachah, which means to “bow down, very low.” It is a physical action shown the heart’s devotion.

In the time of Babylon, it was no different. Worship, whether it was the worship of the One True God of Israel, or worship of a pagan deity, was understood as being physically prostrate before the object of worship.

So it was obvious that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were not physically bowing before anything. There was no need to defend themselves, they knew they were guilty of disobeying the king’s order.

But they demonstrated great faith.

“Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.” Daniel 3:17-18

For me this brings to mind Isaiah 26:3:

“You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

The testimonies of believers who have gone before can really be encouraging. Daniel and his friends can really inspire us to trust in God no matter what happens and no matter the cost. Paul suffered and maintained an unwavering faith. He and Timothy wrote to the church in Corinth in 2 Corinthians 1:8-11:

For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us,11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.” 2 Cor..1:8-11

The death sentence given by the world is meaningless.

1 Corinthians 15:55-58:

“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

56 The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.

He has not forgotten about you. He knows the labor of love you do in service to Him. He sees you and He smiles. He died for you so you could live and when you face the world’s fiery furnaces and you feel under attack or afraid for your future, just remember, place your hope and trust in Him. He is your confidence and your rescuer, your mighty Savior.

Daniel 3:19-25

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was full of fury, and the expression on his face changed toward Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. He spoke and commanded that they heat the furnace seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he commanded certain mighty men of valor who were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their trousers, their turbans, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore, because the king’s command was urgent, and the furnace exceedingly hot, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished; and he rose in haste and spoke, saying to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?”

They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.”

25 “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.”

The Bible says that Nebuchadnezzar’s countenance – the expression on his face – changed. Some translate this as “his face was distorted with his fury.” He took on a spirit of rage and his whole attitude worsened (NIV).

He orders the furnace turned up to 7x hotter than normal and then has his valiant army man bind up Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and throw them into the fire.

The fiery furnace was so hot that it killed anyone near it. King Nebuchadnezzar’s men died instantly. To Nebuchadnezzar they were disposable. He makes no mention of their death. He is satisfied to oversee the three Judeans falling over in a fire, but then . . . he is completely taken aback.

3 tied up Hebrew men were cast into the fire, but now they were freely walking in the fire unharmed, and now not 3, but 4! The only thing that had burned were the ropes that had tied them up! The Septuagint translation (the Greek translation of the original Aramaic/Hebrew) actually says that King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished because he heard the men singing praises! It reminds me of Paul and Silas singing praises in the jail (Acts 16:25).

The Fourth Man in the Fire

NKJV: “Look!” he answered, “I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” Daniel 3:25

The New King James and the King James translates this as the Son of God. If you have commentary notes in your Bible, you might notice that Son of God could be translated as “son of the gods.” So which is it?

In Aramaic, the generic word for “God” is singular “Elah.” The plural for “Elah” is “elahin”, which although etymologically related to the Hebrew (a related Semitic language) for God, “Elohim,” the difference is that “elahin” is used only to refer to idols.

So (unusually!) the NIV actually translates this a bit more accurately:

NIV: “He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”” Daniel 3:25


King Nebuchadnezzar wouldn’t understand a singular Son of God. We know it was Jesus. But, we have to be careful reading translations (the original manuscripts of Scripture are 100% right).

So King Nebuchadnezzar expresses in his own language and his own understanding that there is Someone, of divine origin, who has appeared in the fire. He doesn’t know how to express what he is seeing from his pagan context.

I actually think that gives the text more power, not less. King Nebuchadnezzar is astonished because he is not the supreme deity. He has to really grapple with this . . . who are these Judeans and who is with them!?

This is an example of a theophany. A theophany is an appearance of God. The king of Babylon was astonished by this, but the Bible doesn’t mention if the 3 youth even knew the 4th man (Jesus!) was there. Sometimes God will manifest in a very tangible, apparent way in our lives, but other times, He is working and we don’t even realize how close He is to our situation.

Daniel 3:26-30

“26 Then Nebuchadnezzar went near the mouth of the burning fiery furnace and spoke, saying, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here.” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego came from the midst of the fire. 27 And the satraps, administrators, governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together, and they saw these men on whose bodies the fire had no power; the hair of their head was not singed nor were their garments affected, and the smell of fire was not on them.

28 Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29 Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.”

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the province of Babylon.” Daniel 3:26-30

The Most High God and His Messenger

In verse 26, King Nebuchadnezzar switches to “Elah,” the singular form! Here he is beginning to understand! He acknowledges that the 3 young men serve the Most High God (Elah). He is recognizing that the God of the Hebrews is greater than his Babylonian gods by singling Him out.

King Nebuchadnezzar only calls the 3 men out of the fire. The 4th man was heavenly enough in appearance, he knew not to even go there. The Chaldean advisors saw with their own eyes that the fire had no power whatsoever on them and they didn’t even smell like a fire.

Nebuchadnezzar celebrates this singular victorious God. Nebuchadnezzar sent his “Angel.” This is an accurate translation for the Aramaic מַלְאֲכֵהּ֙ (mal·’a·cheh) (Hebrew: מֲלְאָךְ malach). “Angel” can also be translated as “Messenger.” Nebuchadnezzar recognizes that a Messenger from God was in the fire.

No Other God can deliver like this

King Nebuchadnezzar realizes that no other God can deliver like this and he says no one is allowed to slander Hananiah, Mishael, nor Azariah. In keeping with his excessively brutal personality, King Nebuchadnezzar decrees that anyone who does speak against them shall be chopped up and their homes burned. This chapter ends with another promotion: the 3 Hebrew youth are once again promoted in the province of Babylon.

Faith and Obedience no matter the cost

The ordeal of Daniel’s friends remind me of Hebrews 11:32-40:

32 And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: 33 who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. 35 Women received their dead raised to life again.

Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. 36 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.

39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, 40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were willing to pay the ultimate price to remain faithful and obedience to the One True God. And the LORD revealed Himself! May the LORD give us the strength to be that faithful!

Review: The Thomas Nelson NKJV VALUE Ultra Thinline Bible (And what is the difference between the Ultra Thinline and the VALUE Ultra Thinline?)

As part of the Thomas Nelson Bibles blogger program, I have received a copy of the Thomas Nelson NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible published by Thomas Nelson Bibles/Harper Collins Publishers at no cost to me in exchange for an honest review here on the Adonai Shalom USA blog.

Thomas Nelson NKJV VALUE Ultra Thinline Book Description and Review

The Thomas Nelson NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible would be a wonderful addition to any home library. Like the regular Ultra Thinline Bible, the Value Ultra Thinline features the thinnest edition of the Biblical text available from Thomas Nelson. There is a regular “Thinline” Bible, but these Ultra Thinline are the thinnest yet. These Bibles are less than an inch thick!

This would be a perfect Bible for an evangelist or missionary: someone who knows the Word and does not want to carry extra weight around when traveling. This Bible does not contain commentary or even cross-references. This Bible would also be a perfect Bible for any new Christian wanting to read the Bible for him or herself without the distractions of footnotes, cross-references, or commentary.

Thomas Nelson NKJV VALUE Ultra Thinline compared to NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible 

I thought it might be helpful to compare Thomas Nelson’s NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible to the NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible. I recently posted about the NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible and you can read about it here.

Each of these Bibles have a presentation page that can be used if you are gifting this to someone special in your life.

A difference between the Thomas Nelson NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible and the Thomas Nelson NKJV Ultra Thinline Bible is that the value edition does not have the gilded golden edging on the pages. The edges are simple white paper.

I personally love the golden edging that is on most Bibles. It reminds me how special God’s Word is. But, if you are simply looking for an economical Bible or one that does not draw attention to itself, this will work for you.

Value Ultra NKJV

The Bible does include an integrated red satin bookmark.

The NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bibles use an 8-point font, called “Comfort Print” by Thomas Nelson Bibles. The text in both the ultra and value ultra looks identical to me.

The greige cover is beautiful and simple. The color is tasteful, too. I found it matches my kitchen table quite well!

Both the ultra and value ultra editions contain the beautiful full color maps that Thomas Nelson is known for. These Bibles are made with quality and longevity in mind.

The NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible contains only the simple Biblical text, keeping it lightweight and easy to carry with you anywhere. It does have the words of Christ in red. It would not be considered a “study Bible” because it does not have concordances or commentary.

The NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible comes with a lifetime guarantee which proves that Thomas Nelson stands by the quality of their Bibles. In order to get the lifetime guarantee, be sure to register your purchase using this link on the Thomas Nelson website.

My recommendation:


Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Thomas Nelson NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible deserves a 5 out of 5.

This economical edition of God’s Holy Word in the New King James Version will last for years! It is easy to transport, making this a particularly useful Bible for evangelists and missionaries!

Rev. Jennifer Mieliulis Fuentes, M.Div., Duke University

Book details

Title: NKJV Value Ultra Thinline Bible
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Bibles
Release Date: 
Genre: BIBLES/New King James Version/Text

ISBN-13: 978-1-4003-3836-8

PURCHASE LINKS:  Amazon | Christianbook