In the last installment, King Nebuchadnezzar had thrown Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down to his image. The account continues with this:
Daniel 3:24-27 (KJV)
Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, 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.
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.
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.
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.
From the king's vantage point, in front of the opening at the bottom of the furnace, Nebuchadnezzar was able to see what was going on inside the furnace (verse 24). Although, he expected to see the three bound men being burned to death, he rose up in haste, amazed. He even asked his counsellors to verify that only three men had been bound and thrown into the overheated furnace. What was it that caused the king to be astonished (verse 25)?
1. There were four persons in the fire, not three.
2. No one was bound.
3. The men were walking around in the fire, no one was lying down.
4. None of the four were hurt.
5. The fourth person looked like "the Son of God."
Who could this fourth person be? What did Nebuchadnezzar mean by saying he looked like "the Son of God"? Many pagan gods of the ancient world were viewed as being divine, but with many human characteristics, like having children. Nebuchadnezzar's statement indicates that the fourth person looked like a divine or supernatural being. (Renald E. Showers, The Most High God (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc., 1982) p. 35.) Within the Old Testament there are other similar examples of an angel, or Angel of the Lord, who appeared to mankind. Many believe that these are preincarnate appearances of Yeshua (Jesus). In this situation, He came to deliver the three men from certain destruction in the furnace.
In verse 26 King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the men to come out of the furnace. Notice that he says that these men are "servants of the most high God." The king is again impressed with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, he's not about to admit that He is the only God.
When the three men come out of the furnace, what do all of the princes, governors, captains, and king's counsellors notice (verse 27)? The men were not burned, their hair was not singed, their clothes were not damaged, nor did they smell of smoke.
Through this miraculous deliverance, God was revealing Himself to King Nebuchadnezzar. How will the king respond? Will he change his ways, or will he continue on as if nothing extraordinary had happened? Stay tuned!