The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”!


The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: What was that all about?

Many people may have heard of the Old Testament story that comprises Daniel, chapter 3.  The story was about Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego, the three “certain Jews” who had been given high official positions in Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar.  In that account, we read how they refused to worship the false idol of gold that the king had set up, and as the king commanded.  They understood the full penalty for disobedience to that command.  They understood that they would be thrown into a fiery furnace.  But they miraculously survived!  Was this just a children’s bedtime story?

The answer is an emphatic NO! As we have already learned from numerous other Old Testament accounts, this not only was a true historical event, but it was crafted by God to convey an extremely important message, the good news of the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ!  Moreover, there is another aspect of salvation that God paints with words in this particular account. For anyone to become saved…for believers to remain untouched by the fires of Hell… Jesus had to be there to endure those fires on behalf of all those who are counted among His sheep. If Jesus endured the fires of Hell, then the believers will never have to.  Those who are not faithful, spiritual “Jews” (believers), but instead are like the servants of King Nebuchadnezzar (who God uses in some cases to represent the devil), will be similarly slain by the fiery furnace (and the fires of hell that represent the second death are for eternity).

Had you ever heard that before?

If so, great!…but if not, please read on.

NOTE: Shadrach, Meschach and Abednego were the assigned names (by the Babylonians) of three men whose original Hebrew names were:

  • Hananiah means “God who is gracious
  • Misha’el means “Who is like God?”, also means “to feed” or “to provide”—as in how a husband provides for his family
  • Azariah appropriately means “God has helped

We read at the beginning of Chapter 3 where King Nebuchadnezzar made a huge image of gold and decreed that all who heard the ”sound of the cornet, flute, harp …and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hat set up.

And then in verse 6 we read, “And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.”

Then we read where “certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.”   There after, we read this complete account…

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

 13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king.

 14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.

18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Ordinarily, that would have been the end of the story.  But although Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were willing to die for their faith in the true God of all creation, they didn’t die.  In fact, we read the following surprising and truly amazing account…

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the  Son of God.

WOW! You know Who the king actually saw don’t you? Yes, it was Jesus Christ walking in their midst.  Jesus is also the “angel” we see mentioned later (“messenger” in the original Hebrew) who made it possible for them to survive. After all, isn’t it true that only Jesus isthe Son of God”? (but Jesus was also a “man” born of the Virgin Mary).  See for example the first verses of the Book of Hebrews: 

1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.5 For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? 6 And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

There are many other unequivocal references to Jesus as the Son of God in the New Testament, but what is amazing is that this reference is in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament!  We have to ask the question, who do the Jews think was being described here?  There is not a single other reference in the Old Testament that specifically mentions “the Son of God”! (Here is a link to read all of the passages in the entire Bible: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=%22the%20Son%20of%20God%22&version1=KJV&searchtype=all&limit=none&wholewordsonly=no)

So this is a VERY unique case!  But, let’s read on to the end of the chapter…

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

So having read this story, we note that the fire was so hot that the servants of the king who threw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace were themselves slain.  Moreover, not only did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survive, but their clothes did not even have the smell of smoke on them afterward!

What does this account remind us of? Remember the account of Joshua (Jesus in Greek, and meaning Savior in Hebrew) leading he people through the Jordan River to the “Promised Land”? As long as the priests held the Ark of the Covenant in the Jordan River, the people could pass through at flood stage and not even have the souls of their shoes get wet!  (they crossed on dry land) Familiar…yes!  Why is that?…It is because God repeats the same theme through many different allegories to paint new portraits of God’s magnificent Plan of Salvation through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.  Jesus paid the price for the believer’s salvation.  If Jesus, the Son of God, is there, we are safe, the fires (or floods) of Hell are no threat to our eternal souls.  The believers (typified by Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or the Israelites)  can pass through because Jesus is there for them.

Let’s review Joshua Chapter 3:

1 And Joshua rose early in the morning; and they removed from Shittim, and came to Jordan, he and all the children of Israel, and lodged there before they passed over.

2 And it came to pass after three days, that the officers went through the host;

3 And they commanded the people, saying, When ye see the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God, and the priests the Levites bearing it, then ye shall remove from your place, and go after it.

4 Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure: come not near unto it, that ye may know the way by which ye must go: for ye have not passed this way heretofore.

5 And Joshua said unto the people, Sanctify yourselves: for to morrow the Lord will do wonders among you.

6 And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they took up the ark of the covenant, and went before the people.

7 And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day will I begin to magnify thee in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee.

8 And thou shalt command the priests that bear the ark of the covenant, saying, When ye are come to the brink of the water of Jordan, ye shall stand still in Jordan.

9 And Joshua said unto the children of Israel, Come hither, and hear the words of the Lord your God.

10 And Joshua said, Hereby ye shall know that the living God is among you, and that he will without fail drive out from before you the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Hivites, and the Perizzites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Jebusites.

11 Behold, the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth passeth over before you into Jordan.

12 Now therefore take you twelve men out of the tribes of Israel, out of every tribe a man.

13 And it shall come to pass, as soon as the soles of the feet of the priests that bear the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, shall rest in the waters of Jordan, that the waters of Jordan shall be cut off from the waters that come down from above; and they shall stand upon an heap.

14 And it came to pass, when the people removed from their tents, to pass over Jordan, and the priests bearing the ark of the covenant before the people;

15 And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the time of harvest,)

16 That the waters which came down from above stood and rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that is beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, even the salt sea, failed, and were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho.

17 And the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord stood firm on dry ground in the midst of Jordan, and all the Israelites passed over on dry ground, until all the people were passed clean over Jordan.

Then in Chapter 4:

14 On that day the Lord magnified Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they feared him, as they feared Moses, all the days of his life.

15 And the Lord spake unto Joshua, saying,

16 Command the priests that bear the ark of the testimony, that they come up out of Jordan.

17 Joshua therefore commanded the priests, saying, Come ye up out of Jordan.

18 And it came to pass, when the priests that bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord were come up out of the midst of Jordan, and the soles of the priests’ feet were lifted up unto the dry land, that the waters of Jordan returned unto their place, and flowed over all his banks, as they did before.

19 And the people came up out of Jordan on the tenth day of the first month, and encamped in Gilgal, in the east border of Jericho.

20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of Jordan, did Joshua pitch in Gilgal.

21 And he spake unto the children of Israel, saying, When your children shall ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean these stones?

22 Then ye shall let your children know, saying, Israel came over this Jordan on dry land.

23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of Jordan from before you, until ye were passed over, as the Lord your God did to the Red sea, which he dried up from before us, until we were gone over:

24 That all the people of the earth might know the hand of the Lord, that it is mighty: that ye might fear the Lord your God for ever.

The Ark of the Covenant represented the Word of God (it held the Manna from Heaven in a jar (Jesus Is the Manna from Heaven) , and the Ten Commandments in stone (the Word of God, Who is Jesus), and Aaron’s rod that budded (indicating that a dead thing can come back to life). The people were led by Joshua (Jesus) and they all made it safe…EVERY one of them.

This is because Jesus, “the Son of God,” paid the full price to become the Savior of all those who would believe and trust in God to save them.  Jesus alone is the only One Who can save us from the fires or the floods that God uses to typify Hell, but Who, through the Person and Work of Jesus Christ, allows us to pass completely untouched by either the fire or flood safely to the other side.

There is so much more to say here, but for now I’ll stop (this is another work in progress)

For a quick primer on Hell, there is this very recent post: http://defendingcontending.com/2013/12/02/fire-fire/

For more background on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego…Please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadrach,_Meshach,_and_Abednego

Explore posts in the same categories: Bible Studies

2 Comments on “The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”!”


  1. […] The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”! (bereansearching.wordpress.com) […]


  2. […] The Fiery Furnace in Babylon: Another place where we can see Jesus, “the Son of God”! (bereansearching.wordpress.com) […]


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