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The Fiery Furnace: Could It Have Happened?

The story of the three Hebrew children from the book of Daniel is explored, both in historical accounts and by the Bible to find out if they really existed. "Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits: he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together unto the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up. Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of music, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews. They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever. Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image: And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. 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. Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Then they brought these men before the king. 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? 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 music, 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? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 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. 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. 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. 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. Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon." (Daniel 3) Though there are many questions that could be asked about this matter, here are some facts that will answer most if not all questions that a majority of the people might have concerning this true tale. The format to be used below will be a question and answer one. First, the amount of gold that would be needed to make such a statue would be about, 5,500 cubic yards of gold. An amount that's more than all the gold that has been ever taken out of the earth. "If it was only gold plated on the outside, this statue of gold would be possible. The ancients often hammered gold into a thin layer to the amount of 1/367 thousands of an inch. There was plenty enough of gold to be found in Babylon to supply that need." The statue itself was to made on a 10/1 ratio. That's 9 feet wide by ninety foot tall. That's too tall and unstable to made by the men at that time. "However, the height and width were only mentioned. The Babylonians could and often did make reliefs into sides of mountains and hillsides. In fact such a project was completed and it was called the 'Gardens of Babylon' which was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Nebuchadnezzar's engineers were well known for their skill in constructing massive structures, they often did massive relief projects with their pagan god 'Marduk' carved into it." Nobody could survive the massive amount of heat that such great ovens would generate, produce or put off. Some the ancient furnaces would reach 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore nobody would make such an oven or furnace in such an area. There's not even a shred of evidence of anyone men who were named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego being alive at that time in Babylon, or anything like the Biblical account found in the book of Daniel."The actual story is confirmed in archeology. From the kings use of such ovens as capital punishment to the absence of Daniel from the scene, just as written in the Bible. We find that in 1956 with the publishing of some cuneiform tablets in Great Britain that around the time of 593 B.C., that a revolt against Nebuchadnezzar took place. That revolt explains the assembly at Dura which is explained out in the book of Daniel. In order to assure loyalty to his government, he had his official swear loyalty to his great image (most probably of Marduk) on the plains. More evidence is at the Istanbul museum on display, this was also unearthed during the fifties. It records the presence of government officials, notably three were named that nearly the exact names of the biblical account. The list is broken into groups by titles. In it we find the name Ardi Nabu who is secretary to the crown prince, it is a alternative form of Abednego according to linguists. Next is the name of the chief of the royal merchants, his name is called Hanunu. This a version of the Hebrew name Hananiah (whose name was changed to Shadrach by the king's servant, see Daniel chapter 1). Lastly we find an official called Mishael Marduk (Mishael also had his Hebrew name changed to Meshach), if we take away the last or added portion of Marduk, then we have in attendance exactly what the biblical account described for that day. Daniel is not mentioned in this manuscript because just as the bible said, he was not present at that particular event. The three Hebrew men were there holding government positions just exactly as the bible said they were. Do you think that God allowed this record to be unearthed by chance accident? If so, think again."

Why a furnace? If the king wanted a person dead publicly, then why not a stake instead of a costly oven. Much like the execution of 'Joan of Arc.' "There's plenty of historical evidence that death by furnace was the prominent and even favorite way of public execution in the days of king Nebuchadnezzar. Putting a person to death by fire in a furnace was still practiced in Europe up until around 300 years ago." Most furnaces are small, especially the ones used to convert ore to metal. Only one person might have been passed through such a one. Secondly, while the brick drying furnaces of that day were capable of intense heat, they usually very small with limited oxygen supply. Finally, if the flames had already destroyed some of the king's men, there's no way three men would of survived that day. "The biblical description makes it clear that these were a brick type of oven. In Iraq, there's recorded evidence of such ovens being the size of a city block, used to make bricks glazed of blue, green and yellow glass. The clay fragment have been at such a high temperature, that the remains are glass like fragments. The used an ancient type of fan to increase the heat in their great furnaces. As for the the three men surviving such a flame and fire, it's all a matter of faith. Do you think that either the Hebrews or Babylonians would have invented such a lie to the ending of a true story? I personally do not think so. Where and when all the evidence seems correct, both historically and logically, then more often than not in many cases the rest of the story is true as well. This rings true for many other things so why not here?" No bible study or document could ever answer everybody's questions on everything, but God can. If we ask him in faith without wavering, we are promised an answer from God in truth and peace. Before I leave, if you have not applied the name of Jesus to all that you do and especially your baptism by belief as it written to do so in the word of God, why not do do now? (Acts 2:3822:16; Colossians 3:17; Galatians 3:26-28; Romans 6:1-5, etc.) Nobody is promised even another minute, and baptism applies the New Testament covenant, which only comes to and through the name of Jesus.