“When thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee” (Isaiah 43:2).
We have now reached the well-known story of Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image, his rage at the three Hebrews who refused to worship it, and his casting them into the furnace of fire. Earlier, the three young men had purposed in their hearts that they would not defile themselves with the king’s food. They had also purposed in their hearts that they would not displace the Lord in their affections by acknowledging the king’s idol.
The king was not accustomed to any of his subjects questioning his absolute authority, and therefore he was determined to make a public example of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. His heart was “full of fury” as he commanded that the furnace should be heated seven times hotter than usual (Daniel 3:19). The mightiest men in the king’s army were ordered to bind the youths and cast them into the midst of the flames. But rather than killing them, the fire only burned the ropes that held them. The God in whom they had trusted was proving His ability to save them from the fire and from the hand of the king as well.
The burning fiery furnace is one of the most solemn pictures God has given us of the awfulness of Hell. The king’s soldiers, whose bodies were not prepared by God, were unable to endure it. If we were to come to the mouth of Hell in our present bodily condition, none of us could survive. The God who preserved Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego alive in that furnace long ago will also preserve sinners forever in the Lake of Fire.
There are, however, differences to be carefully noted. These men felt no pain. This is an amazing thing. They were in that fire, and yet they felt nothing of the flames that swept around their bodies. Only God could accomplish such a miracle. What a contrast to the final state of sinners in Gehenna who will be preserved from annihilation but will yet cry out: “I am tormented in this flame.”
We are not told how long the Hebrews were in the furnace, but their trial came to an end when the king called them to “come forth” (Daniel 3:26). Those who are consigned to the Lake of Fire will never hear such welcome words. The everlasting condition of punishment, without mercy, is one of the fundamental teachings of the Bible. With this being so, let all who are unsaved flee from the wrath to come, to the Lord Jesus Christ and His sin-atoning blood which alone can save the sinner from eternal woe and fit him for the blessed regions of peace and happiness in Heaven.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life…. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him” (John 3:16,36).
—Condensed from This Daniel by Harold S. Paisley.