Daniel 3:1 Index
"Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon."
Research Material

"Nebuchadnezzar"

  • No date is given for the events of this chapter. The name of the king is the only indication as to when these events occurred... (4BC 779)
  • According to Usher's chronology, it had been twenty-three years since the dream as recorded in Daniel 2... As a result of the experience at that time, Daniel was made counselor, sitting in the gate of the king, and Shadrack, Meshach, and Abed-nego were appointed rulers in the province of Babylon. Many opportunities had presented themselves to these men of God, and they had kept the knowledge of their God before the people of Babylon. Jerusalem had in the meantime been destroyed. The Jews, as a nation, were scattered throughout the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar; their king, Jehoiachin, languished in one of the prisons of Babylon. It was a time of sorrow and mounting for the chosen people of God... (SNH 43)
  • Nebuchadnezzar had been humbled when Daniel interpreted his dream; he had then worshiped God; but as the years passed, he lost the spirit which characterized true worship, and while in the mind acknowledging the God of the Jews, in his heart he was pagan still. He made an image of gold, patterning it as closely as possible after the image revealed to him in his dream, at the same time gratifying his own pride, for the entire figure was gold. There was no trace of the other kingdoms which were represented by the silver, the brass, the iron, and the clay in the dream. It stood on the plain of Dura , rising at least one hundred feet above the surrounding country, and visible for miles in every direction. (SNH 44)

"...an image made of gold..."

  • The image of Daniel 2 represented Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom by a golden head (Daniel 2:38). Not satisfied with this symbol, the king devised an image made of gold from the head to the fee, by which he desired to symbolize the perpetual and universal glory of his empire, and a kingdom that would not be followed by one of inferior quality. (4BC 780)
  • The words, “Thou art this head of gold,” (Daniel 2:38) had made a deep impression upon the ruler's mind. The wise men of his realm, taking advantage of this and of his return to idolatry, proposed that he make an image similar to the one seen in his dream, and set it up where all might behold the head of gold, which had been interpreted as representing his kingdom. (PK 504)
  • Pleased with the flattering suggestion, he determined to carry it out, and to go even farther. Instead of reproducing the image as he had seen it, he would excel the original. His image should not deteriorate in value from the head to the feet, but should be entirely of gold — symbolic throughout of Babylon as an eternal, indestructible, all-powerful kingdom, which should break in pieces all other kingdoms and stand forever... The thought of establishing the empire and a dynasty that should endure forever, appealed very strongly to the mighty ruler before whose arms the nations of earth had been unable to stand. With an enthusiasm born of boundless ambition and selfish pride, he entered into counsel with his wise men as to how to bring this about. Forgetting the remarkable providences connected with the dream of the great image; forgetting also that the God of Israel through His servant Daniel had made plain the significance of the image, and that in connection with this interpretation the great men of the realm had been saved an ignominious death; forgetting all except their desire to establish their own power and supremacy, the king and his counselors of state determined that by every means possible they would endeavor to exalt Babylon as supreme, and worthy of universal allegiance. (PK 504-505)
  • He said much regarding the interpretation given by Daniel, but the words, “Thou art this head of gold,” produced the greatest effect upon his mind. These impressed him so much that his wise men, who had not been able to tell the dream, proposed that he make such an image as the one seen in his dream, and that he set it up, that all might see the head of gold, which was a representation of his kingdom. (The Signs of the Times article "A Lesson from the King of Babylon" April 29, 1897)
  • The experiences related in Daniel 3 are of vital importance to God's people today. The crisis then faced is a crisis that will face all of God's people before the end. As these men were faithful so must we be faithful even at the risk of life itself. (EGW Daniel Vol.1, page 99)
  • IMAGES' DIMENSIONS: Sixty cubits high would be about one hundred feet, and six cubits wide would be about ten feet. This ration of ten to one is evidence that the height includes the height of the pedestal on which the image was standing. If the width of the image across the shoulders were ten feet, the height of the image itself would be about thirty-five feet.... Images of great height were common in the ancient world, The Sphinx in Egypt, a portrait of king Khafre of the fourth dynasty, is seventy feet from the base to the top of the head, The colossi of Memnon -- images of Amenhotep III, -- are each sixty-nine feet high. They are made of granite and each weighs about a thousand tons. The four colossi at the rock temple at Abu Simbel in Nubia are each sixty-five feet in height. They are portraits of Ramses II.... The fact that the image was sixty cubits high and six cubits wide is of great significance, for the number six and multiples thereof was common in ancient Babylon. Their great gods had numbers. The number of Anu, their highest god, was sixty, and that likewise was the number of Marduk or Bel, when he replaced Anu as head of the Babylonian pantheon.... The number six and multiples thereof was common in occult circles. Often it had evil or sexual connotations. "Hex" is the Greek word for sin, and "sex" is the Latin word for six.... In Revelation 13:18 the number of the beast is given as 600-60-6. There are indications that six is the number chosen by the evil one as a symbol. (EGW Daniel Vol.1, page 99)
  • We may well believe that this image had some reference to the dream of the king as described in Daniel 2. In that dream the head was of gold, representing Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom. That was succeeded by metals of inferior quality, denoting a succession of kingdoms. Nebuchadnezzar was doubtless gratified that his kingdom should be represented by the gold; but that it should ever be succeeded by another kingdom was not so pleasing. Therefore, instead of having simply the head of his image of gold, he made it all of gold, to denote that his kingdom should not give way to another kingdom, but be perpetual. (US 71)
  • The words, “Thou art this head of gold,” had made a deep impression upon the ruler's mind. (Daniel 2:38). The wise men of his realm, taking advantage of this and of his return to idolatry, proposed that he make an image similar to the one seen in his dream, and set it up where all might behold the head of gold, which had been interpreted as representing his kingdom... Pleased with the flattering suggestion, he determined to carry it out, and to go even farther. Instead of reproducing the image as he had seen it, he would excel the original. His image should not deteriorate in value from the head to the feet, but should be entirely of gold — symbolic throughout of Babylon as an eternal, indestructible, all-powerful kingdom, which should break in pieces all other kingdoms and stand forever... The thought of establishing the empire and a dynasty that should endure forever, appealed very strongly to the mighty ruler before whose arms the nations of earth had been unable to stand. With an enthusiasm born of boundless ambition and selfish pride, he entered into counsel with his wise men as to how to bring this about. Forgetting the remarkable providences connected with the dream of the great image; forgetting also that the God of Israel through His servant Daniel had made plain the significance of the image, and that in connection with this interpretation the great men of the realm had been saved an ignominious death; forgetting all except their desire to establish their own power and supremacy, the king and his counselors of state determined that by every means possible they would endeavor to exalt Babylon as supreme, and worthy of universal allegiance... The symbolic representation by which God had revealed to king and people His purpose for the nations of earth, was now to be made to serve for the glorification of human power. Daniel's interpretation was to be rejected and forgotten; truth was to be misinterpreted and misapplied. The symbol designed of Heaven to unfold to the minds of men important events of the future, was to be used to hinder the spread of the knowledge that God desired the world to receive. Thus through the devisings of ambitious men, Satan was seeking to thwart the divine purpose for the human race. The enemy of mankind knew that truth unmixed with error is a power mighty to save; but that when used to exalt self and to further the projects of men, it becomes a power for evil. (PK 504-505)
  • Light direct from Heaven had been permitted to shine upon King Nebuchadnezzar, and for a little time he was influenced by the fear of God. But a few years of prosperity filled his heart with pride, and he forgot his acknowledgment of the living God. He resumed his idol worship with increased zeal and bigotry. (SL 36)
  • By many, the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is made void, being treated as a thing of naught; while the spurious sabbath, the child of the papacy, is exalted. In the place of God's laws, are elevated the laws of the man of sin,—laws that are to be received and regarded as the wonderful golden image of Nebuchadnezzar was by the Babylonians. Forming this great image, Nebuchadnezzar commanded that it should receive universal homage from all, both great and small, high and low, rich and poor. (4BC 1169)
  • History will be repeated. False religion will be exalted. The first day of the week, a common working day, possessing no sanctity whatever, will be set up as was the image at Babylon. All nations and tongues and peoples will be commanded to worship this spurious sabbath. This is Satan's plan to make of no account the day instituted by God, and given to the world as a memorial of creation... The decree enforcing the worship of this day is to go forth to all the world. In a limited degree, it has already gone forth. In several places the civil power is speaking with the voice of a dragon, just as the heathen king spoke to the Hebrew captives. (7BC 976)
  • Is it true that the end of all things is at hand? What mean the awful calamities by sea—vessels shipwrecked and lives hurled into eternity without a moment's warning? What mean the awful accidents by land—fire consuming the riches men have hoarded, much of which has been accumulated by oppression of the poor? The Lord will not interfere to protect the property of those who transgress His law, break His covenant, and trample upon His Sabbath, accepting in its place a spurious rest day. As Nebuchadnezzar set up an image on the plains of Dura, and commanded all to bow before it, so this false sabbath has been exalted before the world, and men are commanded to keep it holy. But it has not a vestige of sanctity. Nowhere in God's Word are we commanded to reverence the first day of the week.(11MR 354)
  • After describing the image which the king had seen, Daniel said, “This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings; for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold. And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron.... 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 forever.” This dream was given to the king of Babylon, the events of the future, reaching down to the end of time, were opened before him, that he might have light on this important subject. It was also given for the benefit of all future generations. The record was traced by the prophetic pen that the light might be shared by those kingdoms which should succeed the kingdom of Babylon.... Tho this wonderful dream caused a marked change to take place in the ideas and opinions of King Nebuchadnezzar, his soul was not cleansed from its pride, its worldly ambition, its desire for self-exaltation, by the converting power of God. The rise and fall of the kingdoms which were to succeed Babylon, were minutely described to him by the prophet; but instead of treasuring the conviction which had been made on his mind in regard to the fall of all earthly kingdoms, and the greatness and power of Jehovah's kingdom, the king, after the immediate impression wore away, thought only of his own greatness, and studied how he might make the dream turn to his own exaltation and honor.... He said much regarding the interpretation given by Daniel, but the words, “Thou art this head of gold,” produced the greatest effect upon his mind. These impressed him so much that his wise men, who had not been able to tell the dream, proposed that he make such an image as the one seen in his dream, and that he set it up, that all might see the head of gold, which was a representation of his kingdom.... This pleased the king. His pride and vanity found full scope in the thought that he could thus represent his importance; and he resolved that instead of merely copying the image he had seen, he would make an image that should excel the original. It was his design that the whole image should represent the greatness of Babylon. Therefore that which had been said regarding the kingdoms that were to follow, should be blotted from his mind, and from the minds of those who had heard the dream, by the splendor of the image he was about to make. This image should not deteriorate in value from the head to the feet, as had the one he had been shown, but should be composed throughout of the most precious metal.... God had spoken plainly to Nebuchadnezzar in regard to his kingdom. “In the days of these kings,” said Daniel, “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 forever.... The dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” The king had acknowledged the power of God, saying, “Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets;” but notwithstanding this acknowledgment, he now united with the men he had once sentenced to death, to dishonor God. He had purposed to destroy these men, because he had discerned their deceptions, and because he was convinced that their learning did not possess the power he had supposed; and they had been saved from a cruel death by the intercession of Daniel. Now he joins with them to frame a design for his image, and to make the light from heaven serve his pride, and forward his exaltation. The kingdom of Babylon was interpreted to be the kingdom that was to break in pieces all other kingdoms, and to stand forever; and they endeavored to make an image which would fitly represent Babylon as eternal, indestructible, and all-powerful,—a kingdom that would last forever.... "Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits; he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.” As an idol, an object of worship, the image was placed in the most favorable position; and a proclamation was issued that all should worship it.... Thus the grand lesson given by God to the heathen, and to all people, was misconstrued and misplaced. That which was designed by God to teach lessons of truth, and to give the world clear, distinct rays of light, Nebuchadnezzar turned from its purpose, making it minister to his pride and vanity. The prophetic illustration was made to serve for the glorification of humanity. The symbol designed to unfold important events was turned into a symbol which would hinder the spread of that knowledge which God designed the kingdoms of the earth should receive. By the height and beauty of his image, by the material of which it was formed, the king sought to make error and false doctrine magnificent and attractive, more powerful, seemingly, than anything God had given.... This dream was given to the king of Babylon, the events of the future, reaching down to the end of time, were opened before him, that he might have light on this important subject. It was also given for the benefit of all future generations. The record was traced by the prophetic pen that the light might be shared by those kingdoms which should succeed the kingdom of Babylon.... Those who are willing to be taught, may learn a lesson from the conduct of the king of Babylon. As the enemy sought to make God-given light serve his own purposes, by leading the king to work for his own glory instead of working for the glory of God, so he works today to pervert truth in order to hinder God's purposes. All false religion has its origin in a corruption of the true. When unmixed with evil, truth is a mighty power to save; but if we allow the enemy to work through us, if by the light given us we seek to exalt self, even this truth may become a power for evil.... So it was in Christ's day. In their pride the Jewish leaders perverted the meaning of their religious services. Those who sat in Moses’ seat could not bring their proud hearts to believe the prophecies, and they instilled into the minds of the people their false interpretation of Scripture. The truth was buried beneath their own doctrines, and maxims, and traditions. They taught the people that Christ was to appear as a great conqueror, to break the Roman yoke from the neck of the nation. They received that part of the prophecy which foretold one who was to shine before his ancients gloriously, who was to reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth; and they expected the Messiah to exalt Israel to universal dominion. When Christ did come, with no outward show of a conqueror, they turned their faces from him, resisting his words, and working by every conceivable means to counteract his influence.... The enemy would lead us all to the use, as did Nebuchadnezzar, the light and knowledge of God for our own exaltation. But self-exaltation can find no place in the work of God. “Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving- kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.” (The Signs of the Times article "A Lesson from the King of Babylon" April 29, 1897)
  • When the fiery trial came upon those who would not bow the knee to that idolatrous image, Christ Himself walked in the fiery furnace with His three faithful servants. Nebuchadnezzar’s heart was so moved upon by this wonderful miracle that he acknowledged God, and His superior power. The king was instructed by Daniel that all men, whether king or subjects, were not to read the Scriptures and God’s providences in the light of their dreams and fancies, but were to read their dreams in the light of the living oracles. Nebuchadnezzar’s dream had been interpreted by Daniel in the light of the Scriptures, but Nebuchadnezzar had so brought it into harmony with his own understanding and ambitions, that he made this wonderful display of idolatry with the hope of converting all nations to the worship of his image, which represented the excellency of Babylon. But the fall of Babylon came in an hour of feasting and revelry. (MS 47A, 1898)
  • Like Cain, men are today violating a plain “Thus saith the Lord.” God has sanctified and blessed the seventh day, requiring all men to keep it sacred as His memorial of creation. But, inspired by the arch-deceiver, man has set up a rival rest day, which God regards as He did the offering of Cain. Like Cain, those who worship this idol are offended because God's chosen people will not reject the day specified in His law as holy, to keep a rest day of man's creation. They try to force their fellow-men to worship this idol. Thus did Nebuchadnezzar, when he set up a golden image in the plains of Dura, and in his pride and self-exaltation sought to compel all to bow down to it. As Cain set aside God's holy command, and offered a sacrifice of his own choice, so men have set aside God's holy Sabbath, and have exalted one of their own creation. And as Cain was filled with bitterness against Abel, so they are filled with bitterness against those who by keeping God's Sabbath cast reflections upon the worship of a day which bears no divine sanction or appointment. (The Signs of the Times article "The True and the False" March 21, 1900)

"...threescore cubits..."

  • The figures giving the measurements of the image witness to the use of the sexagesimal system ( a system founded on the number 60) in Babylonia, a use attested as by cuneiform sources. The sexagesimal system of reckoning was an invention of the Babylonians. The system has certain advantages over the decimal system. For example, 60 is divisible by 12 factors, whereas 100 is divisible by 12 only 9 factors. The system is still in use for certain measurements such as of seconds, minutes, hours. It was therefore natural for the Babylonians to construct this image according to measurements of the sexagesimal system. The mentioning of this detail gives a true Babylonian color to the narrative. (4BC 780)
  • From his rich store of treasure, Nebuchadnezzar caused to be made a great golden image, similar in its general features to that which had been seen in vision, save in the one particular of the material of which it was composed. Accustomed as they were to magnificent representations of their heathen deities, the Chaldeans had never before produced anything so imposing and majestic as this resplendent statue, threescore cubits in height and six cubits in breadth. And it is not surprising that in a land where idol worship was of universal prevalence, the beautiful and priceless image in the plain of Dura, representing the glory of Babylon and its magnificence and power, should be consecrated as an object of worship. This was accordingly provided for, and a decree went forth that on the day of the dedication all should show their supreme loyalty to the Babylonian power by bowing before the image. (PK 505-506)
  • From the treasures obtained in war, he made a golden image to represent the one that he had seen in his dream, setting it up in the plain of Dura, and commanding all the rulers and the people to worship it, on pain of death. This statue was about ninety feet in height and nine in breadth, and in the eyes of that idolatrous people it presented a most imposing and majestic appearance.... A proclamation was issued, calling upon all the officers of the kingdom to assemble at the dedication of the image, and at the sound of the musical instruments, to bow down and worship it. Should any fail to do this, they were immediately to be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. (The Review and Herald article "The Life of Daniel and Illustration of True Sanctification" February 1, 1881)