Nebuchadnezzar used a conveniently biased hermeneutic (an interpretive lens) to reinterpret the Daniel 2 dream to suit his own egotistical ambitions. Instead of the multi-metal man of his dream, the king erects an image entirely of gold—implying, of course, that his kingdom would never end. Using an alternative hermeneutic to that which God has revealed, unfortunately, did not end with Nebuchadnezzar and continues today.
The three main schools of prophetic hermeneutics are preterism, futurism, and historicism. Preterism assumes that prophecy is entirely a description of the past: there is no predictive nature to prophecy. Futurism assumes that prophecy has no present or historical bearing as it will only happen in the future. Historicism follows history as it relates to God’s people down to the present day and through the end of time. This is what we see in Daniel 2 as it begins with Babylon and extends down through history to the present day into the future prediction of the second coming of Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom.
Nebuchadnezzar incorporated the use of music to capture the emotions and set the stage for worshiping the image. Four times in Daniel chapter 3 the music is mentioned, including repetitious detail of even the types of instruments that were played. The music clearly was the signal to bow down and worship the image that the king had set up.
Music plays a critical role in false worship. It has the power to capture the emotions, overriding reason and conscience. Music will no doubt play a crucial role in false end-time worship as well.
There is popular belief today among Christians that God’s people in the end of time will avoid tribulation. However, the story of the fiery furnace illustrates that God will not keep His people from tribulation, but rather He will be with them through tribulation. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not saved from the fire; they were saved through the fire.
Revelation 13 and Daniel 3
The same issues and themes that presented themselves in Daniel 3 will play out again in the end of time as described in Revelation 13. Even as there was an image set up in Daniel 3, there will be an image set up in the end of time. Even as there was a call to worship the image, there will be a worldwide call to worship the image in the end of time under the penalty of death.