Dan 3:14  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?

Dan 3:15  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?

Dan 3:16  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

Dan 3:17  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.


It is my understanding that Nebuchadnezzar meant what he said in both places, (and that what he said is exactly as the KJV says), and that what he said in both places is indicative of how well, (and also how not so well), he was responding to the information with which God was confronting him. Before I amplify upon what I mean, first keep in mind that much of what the opening chapters of Daniel set forth is information about how God was dealing with Nebuchadnezzar, along with specific information that God was giving to him to which he was expected to respond in a particular way. As God had indicated through Jeremiah and Ezekiel when He began to bring the first set of judgments of Israel’s Fifth Course of Punishment upon them, He was going to make Nebuchadnezzar ‘His servant’ in more ways than one. In other words, Nebuchadnezzar would not only ‘serve God’s purpose’ in judging Israel, but God would also use him as ‘His servant’ in some other ways. And one of those other ways would be for the dispensing of further information regarding Israel’s Fifth Course of Punishment. And this particular aspect of God’s use of Nebuchadnezzar got underway by means of the dream that God gave to him, as related in Daniel chapter 2.


Dan 2:30  But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

Dan 2:31  Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.

Dan 2:32  This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,

Dan 2:33  His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

Dan 2:34  Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces.

Dan 2:35  Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Dan 2:36  This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.

Dan 2:37  Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.

Dan 2:38  And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.

Dan 2:39  And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Dan 2:40  And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise.

Dan 2:41  And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay.

Dan 2:42  And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken.

Dan 2:43  And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.

Dan 2:44  And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.


Now my basic point in this as far as Nebuchadnezzar is concerned is that he himself was also given the opportunity to respond positively and properly to the information that God was making known through him. And his various actions in response to God’s information are indicative of how well, or not so well, he himself responded. Hence, for example, his response to Daniel, and to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, following God’s first revelation was a positive one; but his making of the “image of gold” unto himself in connection with what that revelation described was not. In fact, his negative responses predominate, (as what is set forth in chapter 3 relates), and they eventually make it so that God deals with him in the severe manner related in chapter 4 so that his negative responses do not continue to hold sway, and so that he does eventually fulfill the remainder of what he is given to do as God’s ‘servant’ during the first installment of Israel’s Fifth Course of Punishment.


Dan 4:30  The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

Dan 4:31  While the word was in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.

Dan 4:32  And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Dan 4:33  The same hour was the thing fulfilled upon Nebuchadnezzar: and he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.

Dan 4:34  And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation:


Now because of how Nebuchadnezzar responded to the dream in chapter 2, it is my understanding that he meant what he said in both Daniel 3:25 and 3:28. With what he said in 3:25 being the real truth of the matter, but with what he said in 3:28 being the only thing he could confidently state took place. Simply put my understanding is as follows: When in Daniel 3:25 Nebuchadnezzar 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,” he realizes that “the fourth” person he sees is “like the Son of God” whom he had been previously informed about in the interpretation that Daniel had given to him of his dream. For in accordance with Daniel’s interpretation of his dream back in chapter 2, he was given to know that “the stone” that “was cut out of the mountain without hands” cannot be a mere man at all. But rather that man would have to be “the Son of God,” otherwise he could not be described as he was. Wherefore when he sees “the fourth” man and perceives that his “form” is strikingly different from that of either Shadrach, Meshach, or Abedoego, it makes him think of that dream. By not having the same “form” as the others, the specific “form” of the “fourth” man made him think of the man that is “the Son of God” in the dream that God had given to him. Hence he said “the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.” And it is my understanding from what he said, and from the preceding context, and from the text, that he was right in what he perceived. Even though Nebuchadnezzar with his limited understanding could only say that the “fourth” man was “like the Son of God,” the reason the man was “like the Son of God” is because He indeed was “the Son of God.”


Dan 3:20  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.

Dan 3:21  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.

Dan 3:22  Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.

Dan 3:23  And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

Dan 3:24  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.

Dan 3:25  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.


Nebuchadnezzar then responds positively to the issue of God’s deliverance of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, declaring that they are the “servants of the most high God” and calling them to “come forth” out of the furnace and to “come hither” unto him, as verses 26 and 27 relate. Moreover he also responds positively by making the pronouncement and decree, as related in verses 28 and 29. However when he now speaks of the way by which “the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego” delivered them, he does not speak of “the fourth” man specifically as “the Son of God,” but he says that God “sent his angel” and thereby “delivered his servants that trusted in him.”

Now as I said, it is my understanding that Nebuchadnezzar meant what he said this time as well, and that this too is indicative of how he is responding to things. Hence it is my understanding that when Nebuchadnezzar said that God “sent his angel,” this was all that his present understanding would confidently allow him to say had taken place. In other words, though he had previously said that “the form of the fourth is like the Son of God,” this was all that he could say about him; i.e. that he was “like the Son of God” from what he could perceive. With Nebuchadnezzar’s measure of understanding he could not confidently declare that this is who “the fourth” man was, nor was he expected to be able to confidently declare this; (though we now know that this is who He was). But that this “fourth” one came from “the God of heaven” and was sent by Him, (which is what an “angel” would be), this basic truth was something that Nebuchadnezzar was sure about and could confidently state. Therefore when he makes his pronouncement and blesses “the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego,” this is what he confidently declares happened. And this is also what others could readily understand. That is, they could understand the issue of God sending an “angel” to deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.


Dan 3:26  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.

Dan 3:27  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.

Dan 3:28  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.

Dan 3:29  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.

Dan 3:30  Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.


Wherefore it is my understanding that we are not to look upon what Nebuchadnezzar said in Daniel 3:28 as if it denies that “the fourth” man was “the Son of God,” or as if it conflicts with 3:25, or as if it later on gives us the proper understanding that it really was only an angel and not the Lord. But rather we are to understand that this was what

Nebuchadnezzar was confidently able to say based upon his measure of understanding. Nevertheless what he first perceived “the fourth” man to be “like,” as stated in Daniel 3:25, is in actuality exactly who He was.


Keith Blades

Enjoy The Bible Ministries

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