According to Daniel 3, did God actually come in the fire with the 3 Hebrew boys or Nebuchadnezzar saw the glory of God covering these boys?

  • 1
    Why ask if "God" came when it says "son of"??
    – Ruminator
    Sep 7, 2017 at 22:20
  • Isnt Jesus God the son???? Sep 8, 2017 at 11:35
  • 1
    Do the scriptures ever refer to Jesus as "God the son"? Or as "the son of God"? "God the Son" is the toxic, blasphemous invention of the Romans.
    – Ruminator
    Sep 8, 2017 at 12:25
  • 1
    Do the Scriptures contain an inspired table of contents? God the Son and Son of God are synonymous. They describe the second Person of the Trinity. Did Jesus say, "For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and giveth life: so the human son of God also giveth life to whom he will"? or "That all men may honour the human son of God, as they honour the Father. He who honoureth not the human son of God, honoureth not the Father, who hath sent him"? Or does He use THE Son as Trinitarians do? Sep 9, 2017 at 12:37

4 Answers 4


Daniel 3:24-25:

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.

We do read indeed that Nebuchadnezzar saw the form of a fourth man. Who exactly that was is not defined. Some people speculate it is a theophany, an appearance of God in the form of Jesus Christ. However, the Bible does not record that it was the Son of God, but only that Nebuchadnezzar's impression of the fourth person's form was that it looked like the Son of God.*

That being said, if the person who appeared was an angel, it is quite possible that Nebuchadnezzar would have thought of the appearance as a son of God.

Whatever the case, we can conclude that the appearance was:

1. Divine

There's no question that a person walking in the middle of the fire was not a natural appearance; it was either God Himself, or one of God's messengers (angels).

2. Personal

There's also no question that Nebuchadnezzar truly saw a person. It wasn't a shadow of glory: Nebuchadnezzar obviously puts it in the same category as the three princes, saying that the 4 men were loose, and walking, and had no hurt.

*Kent Brandenburg makes the point in this article that it should rightly be son of God, not son of the gods.


According to Daniel 3, King Nebuchadnezzar saw a being whose image resembled the 'sons of the gods'. This means that God himself wasn't visible in the fiery furnace.

Daniel 3:25 (ESV)

He answered and said, "But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods."

Every time the Bible talks about a being inside of fire, it's in reference to the angel of the LORD, not God himself. Below are 2 interesting examples.

Exodus 3:2 (KJV)

And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush [was] not consumed.

Judges 13:20 (ESV)

And when the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the LORD went up in the flame of the altar. Now Manoah and his wife were watching, and they fell on their faces to the ground.

Earlier in Judges 13:16, Manoah mistakes the angel of the LORD for an ordinary man. After this man opened a fiery portal and ascended to heaven, Monoah knew that he was actually the angel of the LORD. Nebuchadnezzar apparently made this same mistake. He said he saw four men walking in the fire, but it was only 3 humans in the fire. According to the textual evidence, the fourth man in the fiery furnace with the 3 Hebrew boys could've been none other than the angel of the LORD.

  • In reading passages that mention the angel of the Lord (YHWH) such as in Exodus 3 and many other passages, you can see that the text quickly conflates the angel of the Lord with YHWH. In contrast, when an angel appears without this distinction, the angel maintains his own identity separate from YHWH.
    – Dieter
    Sep 9, 2017 at 1:35

According to Daniel 3, did God actually come in the fire with the 3 Hebrew boys or Nebuchadnezzar saw the glory of God covering these boys?

I just love Hebrew puns and riddles:

The word for furnace is 03564 כור kuwr
The word for lamb is 03733 כר kar

The vav is translated 'and' when it is a prefix. Like the word 'and' it clarifies something by separating and joining it back together. One thing is made more understandable by dividing and joining.

The heavens and the earth are one creation.

Here, the furnace is the place where God is revealed, Divided in the revelation and put back together. (Not God himself, but two aspects of God).

So who is the Lamb of God? Christ, naturally, but why?

The word 0559 אמר ‘amar is 'said' and 'word'. God said: Let there be light. It is also identical to 0563 אמר ‘immar which is 'lamb'.

When you read it, it is identical. They are only separate wotrds because modern vowels separate them. The Lamb of God is the Word which spoke creation into existence.

When John said: Behold the Lamb of God! some children heard him say: Behold, the Word of God! (and so did the apostle John.

In the furnace we have a visual lesson of who God is:

De 4:24 For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God. De 9:3 Understand therefore this day, that the LORD thy God is he which goeth over before thee; as a consuming fire he shall destroy them, and he shall bring them down before thy face: so shalt thou drive them out, and destroy them quickly, as the LORD hath said unto thee. Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

But in the furnace, he is made more clerar by separating the lamb. The Son of God is the Lamb of God. Having the fire and the Lamb is just another beautiful picture of the Son revealing the Father, whom no man has seen.

For this reason, I vote that it was teh pre-incarnate Son of God.


To understand Nebuchadnezzar’s description of what he saw in the furnace, one should resist applying a contemporary interpretation, but rather consider the context of the Neo-Babylonian religion.

During the Neo-Babylonian period, Marduk (aka Bel, which means Lord) was the patron god of the city of Babylon, having risen to the chief position over the other Babylonian gods. Humanoid in appearance, Marduk’s symbol animal was the the mušḫuššu or "snake-dragon." Marduk's wife was the goddess Ṣarpanitum, and the god, Nabu, who was Marduk's minister, became identified as his son and then became Marduk’s co-regent. Nabu is mentioned several times in the Bible as Nebo, a false god (Isaiah 46:1), several place names, and the given names of several people. The “children of Nebo” (Ezra 2:29; Nehemiah 7:33) were among those who returned from the Babylonian captivity.

In the Septuagint translation, which avoids the emendations perpetuated in the Masoretic text, we read

“. . . and the vision of the fourth likened to son of God.” (Daniel 3:25 TABP)

As minister of Marduk, Nabu was the god of writing and scribes, and later the lord of wisdom. That Nebuchadnezzar concluded he must be seeing Nebu in person may have been due to his appearance without the crown and wings of Marduk, and that Nebu’s mother, the goddess Ṣarpanitum, was protecting the three Israelites might be evidenced from the Babylonian theology in the doxology that concludes the "Poem of the Righteous Sufferer" ("I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom"):

Apart from Ṣarpanitum which goddess grants life? Marduk can restore to life from the grave, Ṣarpanitum knows how to save from destruction. (trans. by W.G. Lambert, Babylonian Wisdom Literature (1960), 59).

However, once the three Israelites leave the furnace at Nebuchadnezzar’s command, he has a profound conversion as evidenced by what he does and says next (again quoting from the Septuagint):

“And the king did obeisance before them to the Lord (YHWH). And Nebuchadnezzar the king responded and said, ‘Blessed is the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego who sent His angel, and rescued his servants that relied upon him, and the word of the king they changed, and they delivered up their bodies unto fire, so that they should not serve nor do obeisance to any god, except their God.’” (Daniel 3:28 TABP)

Nebuchadnezzar's understanding goes from Nebu (as in his name, which means "Nebu protect my firstborn son") to angel, and from Marduk to "the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego."

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego explained to Nebuchadnezzar that the fourth person was an angel. Whether this fourth person was actually the angel of YHWH, a pre-incarnate manifestation of Jesus, is certainly enticing, but it's not indicated by the text.


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