Beyond The Fiery Furness
“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.” Daniel 3:19
Most of you know this snippet of history, so I won’t re-tell it. Please note though that it is history, not just a story. King Nebuchadnezzar had his men stoke the furnace to 7 times normal, but what does that mean? Well, in that era of time, about 600 BC, furnaces were used for smelting ore to purify metal, like iron. They also had brick kilns for heating mud clay into bricks. Since the brick kiln was a furnace that you could walk into to place bricks for firing, it was probably that type of furnace that was used. The temperature of an average brick kiln or furnace was about 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit, but could have been as hot as 1,300 degrees. Heating the furnace to 7 times the normal temperature would bring the temperature to 7,000 to 9,100 degrees Fahrenheit.
What would these temperatures mean to clothed, bound people that were thrown into the furnace? Well, their first couple of breaths would be their last. The heat would dry out their nasal passages, mouth, larynx and lungs and cause almost instant swelling. That plus the smoke and carbon dioxide from the fire would asphyxiate them. The clothing of that era was usually made of linen or wool. Linen and cotton will combust at 490-750 degrees, while wool combusts at 1060-1110 degrees F. Bricks harden because the organic materials within the mud clay burn off between 600-1,300 degrees. These are the temperature at which Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s clothing would burst into flames. The temperature in the fiery furnace was 7,000-9,100 degrees and that’s why the might men of the king died putting Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into the furnace. Just their proximity to that much heat would have made their clothing spontaneously combust and their flesh would have started cooking. These might men of the king laid outside of the fiery furnace burning, cooking and charring.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were supernaturally preserved while in the fiery furnace. There can be no other explanation, but people have tried to explain it away as “cool spots within the kiln” or “allegory”. Both objections to the reality of this historical account are ludicrous. It happened and when Nebuchadnezzar asked his counselors, “Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire?” and they answered, Yes, “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.” Daniel 3:24-25. This is yet another example of the pre-incarnate Jesus visiting earth before he was ever born, demonstrating that God the Son has been present from the beginning and is the creator of everything with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit; three persons in one entity that we call God or YHWH. The Lord was with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and is with us always. These men didn’t even have the smell of smoke on their clothing. God preserved them and their clothing perfectly while freeing them from their bonds and allowing them to move around freely in the 7,000-9,100 degree heat of the furnace. We serve an amazing God!
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were important leaders in the Babylonian royal court, but their total reliance was on God, not the money, power and things of this fleeting existence we call life. Rely on the Lord for everything you need and he will fulfill your needs and the desires of your heart, in accordance with His perfect will.