Peniel Ministries Argentina
THE STATUE THAT SPEAKS
John C. Miller
When I walk along the streets of a great metropolis, small city or town, I am unable to pass without looking at the statues which are there. They are symbols of an age, epic or celebrity.
Today, we pause in front of one of them. This statue has a strange peculiarity: it speaks. Does it sound strange? Yes, it has a message to give us. Let us imagine ourselves in Babylon, the capital of the Persian Empire. King Nebuchadnezzar had conquered all the people of the known-world of that age. Israel could not resist; Judah neither. The beloved Jerusalem was looted of the temple’s gold, the ark, its people and distinguished youth. Daniel and his friends were on this long list of expatriates.
There, in other lands, these exceptional young people, due to their excellence, drew the attention of the royal court and the king, and came to occupy the main positions in that kingdom. Everything went along well until the king had an odd dream; it was because of that dream that the statue was built. This is the statue that speaks us today.
Power and Demands
In the Book of Daniel chapter three and verse one we read that: "Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits and the breadth thereof six cubits." It was an impressive statue indeed. Approximately, it was twenty-seven yards high and almost three yards wide. The statue represented the power of Babylon, the system of the world’s government and also, today’s capitalism.
All dedications of monuments or statues call for guests. The Word tells us that the king gave orders to all his princes, magistrates, treasurers, judges, counsellors, and all the officials of the provinces to come together to the dedication of the statue he had commanded to make. All those who were summoned were there. And the herald - at the playing of the musical instruments - ordered the guests to bow down in front of the statue. The celebration then began !
When I was a child I heard a very common expression: "bogeyman". Perhaps, this word sounds familiar to you - every country has a synonym for this term. There were those who frightened us with the bagman. But, who or what was that character? No one knew but we were all afraid of him.
What would have happened with all those guests if they had not bowed down in front of the statue? No one had the slightest intention of finding out; they were all afraid of it, therefore, they obeyed the order and bowed down in front of it. What did it really mean to bow down in front of the statue? Nothing less than worshipping, surrendering your heart; fearing it, and being afraid of the consequences.
At the opening of this article I said that the statue represented a system and presently it is a symbol of capitalism. Today, this majestic statue also demands our worshipping and prostration; it demands of us to live dependent on the present world’s system with its demands, fears and hopelessness.
If you do not work, if you do not postpone human values such as the family and its priorities, if you do not make the attempt to obtain more and more material goods, if you do not adapt yourself to the system - that is to say to worship the statue - you can expect nothing but a thirsty and devouring furnace with its doors wide open. It is the image of a furnace that fills the hearts with fear. A few months ago, it sent chills through our country - Argentina - when people could not withdraw their money from the automatic cashiers and the banks. Hopelessly, people cried out: What can we do? We have no money!
Some of you may think: "But if I do not serve the statue and surrender to it and all its demands, what is going to happen to me? What can I do!" Now, just for a moment, take your eyes off the furnace and focus them elsewhere. Fix your eyes on the reading of one of the many and rich messages that Jesus gave us. Matthew chapter six, verses twenty-five and twenty-six: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they".
I hope that you will be able to read this message as many times as necessary, so that it can reach your hearts. Later, may I tell you to do something else? "Look at the birds in the sky"; after all that was what Jesus suggested us to do.
Have you ever noticed, on seeing a statue, how the pigeons or the birds settle upon them so boldly and how many statues have had their faces distorted with the "make up" that indifferent and irreverent birds have left upon them?
Now, let us return to our initial story, let us go back to the contrast given by the picture of those subdued and prostrated men in front of the statue and the immutable, unworried birds that were no doubt standing on it, walking on it and flying around it without any fear of the consequences of the fiery furnace.
"Yes, but what are we going to eat?" It is still a disturbing question. I answer: manna. Because God has - for troubled times like these - a secret revelation of His power and still unknown resources for His children.
In Matthew 17 we can read that in a certain occasion the tax fell due and if the people did not pay, the undesirable consequences would occur; let us call it: fiery furnace. Then, the Lord said to Peter:
Go fishing, Peter.
Go fishing? How original Jesus was! He never fails to surprise us.
What an admirable lesson! Jesus did not belong to the system of His times but to a kingdom that started behind the doors of the fiery furnace and behind those doors a miracle is needed.
Peter, take the first fish, open its mouth and take out a coin with which you will pay the tax.
The king became angry when the young Hebrews did not bow down before the statue and he threw them into the furnace which was heated up seven times. But it was there, in the furnace, that miracles began to occur.
That is what we will see ... miracles. We will begin to know the God of miracles! Nobody needs miracles until the fiery furnace is waiting.
We read in the Book of Daniel chapter two, verses thirty-one to thirty- five: ... "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly of thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth".
The various materials of which the statue was made, symbolize the different kingdoms and systems. The last of the kingdoms and systems are those of iron and of clay; which are certainly much more fragile than its head made of the finest gold. But the Word tells us that something will happen; a great stone will shatter the clay toes of the statue and it will crumble.
"... And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever". Daniel 2:44.
Who can deny that we already are in the times of the toes of the statue? The American and European governments have no doubt that the present system is collapsing; this statue will not remain standing the way we used to know it. There will be great changes. There will be great political, financial and social changes. The present age is coming to an end. Just as the fortresses of economy fell in Argentina - our country - there will be deflation in the whole world. This system is beginning to crack; the world leaders are greatly concerned about it.
Daniel told the king, in reference to his dream, that a stone would smash that image. That is the stone which was rejected by man - Jesus Christ, the Rock. He is the lean stone of the building that is His Church. This stone broke the feet of the image and the whole statue crumbled; and this stone will grow to be a mountain that covers the whole world. Certainly, it will be a great "finale" worthy of the Great Conqueror!
Between this end, so decreed, and the present time, kingdoms and systems will fall. What is going on in our country today is someway a training ground for what is waiting ahead. Things will become more difficult in all the world. Do not be offended nor fearful of being thrown into the fiery furnace. The Lord will be waiting for you in the furnace. There, you will discover God’s powerful demonstration and revelation as you never did before.
A glorious end awaits us: "The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever". (Revelation 11:15)
**This message was given the 4th of November of 2001
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