36 x 48
Gouache, chalk, pen, and pencil on canvas
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah had very strong convictions about not bowing down to King Nebuchadnezzars's gold idol.
You may not recognize the Hebrew names, but these were their true names. Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego were the Babylonian names given to them by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylonize them - to assimilate them into Babylonian culture.
The Power Behind Their Names
These three brothers knew they had to maintain their godly heritage in the midst of an idolatrous society. They did not call each other by their "slave names." An understanding of the etymology of their names makes it clear why we shouldn't either. The Babylonian names are recorded merely for the purpose of demonstrating the determination of the king to divest them of their identity and remake them in a Babylonian image.
MISHAEL means who is like God? THERE IS NONE EQUAL TO GOD, NONE. NONE BEFORE HIM, NOR ANY AFTER HIM. HE IS THE I AM; THE ALPHA AND OMEGA.
HANANIAH means God is gracious. The LAW was given by Moses, but GRACE AND TRUTH came by JESUS CHRIST.
AZARIAH means the Lord is my Helper. THE HOLY GHOST IS THE SPIRIT OF GOD SENT TO DWELL IN THE FOLLOWER OF JESUS - He leads, guides, gives discernment, and functions as a sanctifier and intercessor.
The names of these three young men illustrate the triune nature of God, and show that in order to withstand the pressure to conform and face a fiery trial that could potentially result in death, we must know God in the fullness of His revealed nature.
Do You Have What It Takes
To Face Persecution?
A time is approaching when the entire world will be told to receive a mark and number to assimilate, and commanded to worship the representation of the mark and number or forfeit their lives. Just as on the plain of Dura, civil authorities and
heads of state will endorse and enforce the system. Popular culture will weigh in with entertainment, propaganda, fashion, and music to support the agenda and isolate and vilify those who will not conform.
Stand by faith...even when everyone around you is afraid to. These brothers stood—though it meant the equivalent of a death sentence.
There Is No Testimony
It will not be enough to profess Christianity and be a faithful church attendee to withstand the pressure to assimilate. It will take a blood Covenant relationship, a life lived in accordance with the terms of the blood Covenant, and a testimony - something that is only gained through the rigors of testing and faith. Revelation 12:11)
Persecution Is The Norm,
Not The Exception
Today in the West we are taught that people who are willing to die for their faith are fanatics. These types of lies and conditioning are an insult to the great cloud of witnesses that have gone on before the Christian church in the days of the apostles, down through the centuries, and even in many areas of the world today where the
culture is hostile to Christianity.
Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were firmly in covenant with God, and they did not hesitate to testify of their stand. What would you do if you were in their shoes? How easy is it to face a hateful, mocking assembly, and not waver in your convictions?