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Daniel 3:24, 25

Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, “Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?” They replied, “Certainly, Your Majesty.”

He said, “Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods.”

Was it Jesus?

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  • The noun used in the Chaldee is a collective noun. It would be correct to translate it thus : son of Deity. – Nigel J Dec 19 '20 at 20:29
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Nebuchadnezzar was a pagan king whose ideas about the truth of the heavenly hosts was vague and influenced by his own polytheism. However, we have some clarification of what he thought a few verses later in Dan 3

  • V25: “Look!” he exclaimed. “I see four men, unbound and unharmed, walking around in the fire—and the fourth looks like a son of the gods!” [Had this been uttered by a Hebrew, it would have been translated, "Son of God", but a heathen king said it.]
  • V28: Nebuchadnezzar declared, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him. They violated the king’s command and risked their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God.

Now, notice that:

  • Nebuchadnezzar believed this "son of the gods" was an angel
  • The word "gods" in v25 is the same word translated "God" in v28 and is plural in both cases.

Thus, as many versions say via footnotes, and some in their main text (eg, KJV, NKJV, Brenton LXX, etc), V25 can reasonably be translated "Son of God".

As Christians we understand the significance of this phrase "Son of God", but it is just as certain that Nebuchadnezzar did NOT understand that the still future NT would apply this term to the Messiah.

Ellicott observes:

But still the question has to be answered, What did the king see? The early Patristic interpretation was that. it was none other than Christ Himself. We have no means of ascertaining anything further, and must be content with knowing that the same “Angel of God’s presence” who was with Israel in the wilderness watched over the people in Babylon.

Barnes says something similar:

Was it an angel, or was it the second person of the Trinity, "the" Son of God? That this was the Son of God - the second person of the Trinity, who afterward became incarnate, has been quite a common opinion of expositors. So it was held by Tertullian, by Augustine, and by Hilary, among the fathers; and so it has been held by Gill, Clarius, and others, among the moderns.

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The term "son of the gods" usually refers divine beings that are not God Himself (Job 1:6; Deuteronomy 32:8). In this particular case it could mean an unidentified angel or even Christ (even though the theophany of Yahweh himself, preincarnated Christ, ... is commonly found in Scriptures as the "Angel of the Lord" which comes from the expression mal'akh yehauh or mal'akh elohim).

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    You cannot rule out Jesus as per Jude5. You could make the argument that it’s ambiguous as to who the son of God was. We know Jesus was in the burning bush. – Nihil Sine Deo Dec 19 '20 at 17:36
  • Indeed @NihilSineDeo. Just edited upon your comment – Gonçalo Peres 龚燿禄 Dec 19 '20 at 19:04

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