The Fourth Man

We’re skipping over a lot of Scripture I realize, but much of that is because there’s a lot I want to save for when we get to the New Testament. When we get there and see how the New Testament interprets the Old Testament, we’ll go back to some of the passages that we didn’t cover.

Tonight, we’re going to be looking at the third chapter of Daniel. I would hope most of you know this story. We’re not going to go into the applicational side of it tonight such as the idea of overcoming adversity and having faithfulness to God despite whatever may come our way or that the idea that the Hebrew children said that even if their God doesn’t deliever them, they won’t bow, which goes against the doctrines of the Word of Faith heretics.

Well, maybe we will have some application there.

Let’s go on and give the story though. These three Hebrew boys have been taken hostage to Babylon when the city is destroyed along with their friend Daniel. Daniel through the miracle of dream interpretation quickly falls into the king’s favor. Chances are, that’s why he wasn’t present for this story. He was out doing some work for king Nebuchadnezzar.

King Nebby, as we will call him because typing out Nebuchadnezzar gets really tired after awhile and you’re bet this guy is thankful he didn’t live in an age where he had to write checks, one day decides that he’s going to have this huge idol built and indeed, it is something huge. Like many great kings, King Nebby was given to sudden fits of passion where he wanted what he wanted and he wanted it then and there.

So he has it built and he demands that all people within range bow down and worship this idol. Well, the officials want to get rid of these darn Hebrew boys and say “King Nebby. These boys aren’t bowing down before the idol that you’ve built.”

King Nebby brings the boys before him in order to talk some sense into them. However, the little pep talk doesn’t go too well. The Hebrew boys refuse and state categorically that under no circumstances will they bow down before the idol. They will remain faithful to YHWH.

At this point, King Nebby shows another trait of kings, the inability to put up with anyone going against their desires. He orders that they be thrown into the furnace. Keep in mind that this furnace was heated to such a degree that the soldiers who threw in the Hebrew children died from the flames.

King Nebby has a viewpoint to look in on the furance though and is astounded. He asks if there were three men thrown into the fire. He is told there were. Now he wants to know why there’s a fourth one walking around and this fourth one looks like a son of the gods!

We all know the story ends with the Hebrew boys coming out and facing no consequences and yet another trait of the king pops up as he suddenly says that all must honor the God of the three Hebrew boys. If anyone were to speak against them, their houses would become a heap of rubble. 

Makes you wonder what King Nebby might think of our society today. Even a pagan king knew better than we do.

The point? That fourth man. I am a believer that this was another appearance of the pre-incarnate Christ. This was YHWH being faithful to those who were in covenant with him even when they were in the land of their captors. YHWH had not forsaken them. His Son was there to show his presence.

When we get to the incarnation in the New Testament, we will discuss this more. Keep this in mind though of another Trinitarian motif from the Old Testament.

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