Daniel 3

Study the Inner Meaning

English: Young's Literal Translation         

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1 Nebuchadnezzar the king hath made an image of gold, its height sixty cubits, its breadth six cubits; he hath raised it up in the valley of Dura, in the province of Babylon;

2 and Nebuchadnezzar the king hath sent to gather the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the honourable judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the province, to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath raised up.

3 Then are gathered the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, the honourable judges, the treasurers, the counsellors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the province, to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath raised up: and they are standing before the image that Nebuchadnezzar hath raised up.

4 And a crier is calling mightily: `To you they are saying: O peoples, nations, and languages!

5 at the time that ye hear the voice of the cornet, the flute, the harp, the sackbut, the psaltery, the symphony, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and do obeisance to the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath raised up:

6 and whoso doth not fall down and do obeisance, in that hour he is cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.'

7 Therefore at that time, when all the peoples are hearing the voice of the cornet, the flute, the harp, the sackbut, the psaltery, and all kinds of music, falling down are all the peoples, nations and languages, doing obeisance to the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath raised up.

8 Therefore at that time drawn near have certain Chaldeans, and accused the Jews;

9 they have answered, yea, they are saying to Nebuchadnezzar the king, `O king, to the ages live!

10 Thou, O king, hast made a decree that every man who doth hear the voice of the cornet, the flute, the harp, the sackbut, the psaltery, and the symphony, and all kinds of music, doth fall down and do obeisance to the golden image;

11 and whoso doth not fall down and do obeisance, is cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast appointed over the work of the province of Babylon -- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, these men have not made of thee, O king, [any] regard; thy gods they are not serving, and to the golden image thou hast raised up -- are not making obeisance.'

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar, in anger and fury, hath said to bring in Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. Then these men have been brought in before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar hath answered and said to them, `Is [it] a laid plan, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego -- my gods ye are not serving, and to the golden image that I have raised up ye are not doing obeisance?

15 Now, lo, ye are ready, so that at the time that ye hear the voice of the cornet, the flute, the harp, the sackbut, the psaltery, and the symphony, and all kinds of music, ye fall down and do obeisance to the image that I have made! -- and lo, ye do no obeisance -- in that hour ye are cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; who is that God who doth deliver you out of my hands?'

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego have answered, yea, they are saying to the king Nebuchadnezzar, `We have no need concerning this matter to answer thee.

17 Lo, it is; our God whom we are serving, is able to deliver us from a burning fiery furnace; and from thy hand, O king, He doth deliver.

18 And lo -- not! be it known to thee, O king, that thy gods we are not serving, and to the golden image thou hast raised up we do no obeisance.'

19 Then Nebuchadnezzar hath been full of fury, and the expression of his face hath been changed concerning Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; he answered and said to heat the furnace seven times above that which it is seen to be heated;

20 and to certain mighty men who [are] in his force he hath said to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, to cast into the burning fiery furnace.

21 Then these men have been bound in their coats, their tunics, and their turbans, and their clothing, and have been cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

22 Therefore, because that the word of the king is urgent, and the furnace heated exceedingly, those men who have taken up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego -- killed them hath the spark of the fire.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, have fallen down in the midst of the burning fiery furnace -- bound.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king hath been astonished, and hath risen in haste; he hath answered and said to his counsellors, `Have we not cast three men into the midst of the fire -- bound?' They have answered and are saying to the king, `Certainly, O king.'

25 He answered and hath said, `Lo, I am seeing four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the appearance of the fourth [is] like to a son of the gods.'

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar hath drawn near to the gate of the burning fiery furnace; he hath answered and said, `Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, servants of God Most High come forth, yea, come;' then come forth do Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, from the midst of the fire;

27 and gathered together, the satraps, the prefects, and the governors, and the counsellors of the king, are seeing these men, that the fire hath no power over their bodies, and the hair of their head hath not been singed, and their coats have not changed, and the smell of fire hath not passed on them.

28 Nebuchadnezzar hath answered and hath said, `Blessed [is] the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who hath sent His messenger, and hath delivered His servants who trusted on Him, and the word of the king changed, and gave up their bodies that they might not serve nor do obeisance to any god except to their own God.

29 And by me a decree is made, that any people, nation, and language, that doth speak erroneously concerning the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, pieces he is made, and its house is made a dunghill, because that there is no other god who is able thus to deliver.'

30 Then the king hath caused Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, to prosper in the province of Babylon.

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   Study the Inner Meaning
From Swedenborg's Works

Main explanations:

Arcana Coelestia 1326

The Last Judgment 54

The Inner Meaning of the Prophets and Psalms 174


Other references to this chapter:

Apocalypse Revealed 717

True Christian Religion 754


References from Swedenborg's unpublished works:

Apocalypse Explained 1029

Scriptural Confirmations 4, 37

Other New Christian Commentary

  Stories and their meanings:


  Bible Study Videos:



Hop to Similar Bible Verses

Exodus 20:3, 5

2 Kings 18:35

Esther 3:5

Job 5:19

Psalms 22:5, 34:8, 37:39, 66:12, 115:4

Isaiah 43:2

Jeremiah 29:22

Daniel 2:4, 5, 49, 6:13, 14, 21, 23, 28

Matthew 10:18, 28

Acts of the Apostles 4:19, 5:33, 12:11

Hebrews 11:34

2 Peter 2:9

Revelation 12:11, 13:15

Word/Phrase Explanations

nebuchadnezzar
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of the Babylonian empire. His fiery furnace and his dreams of the great tree and of the great statue are...

Image
'An image' signifies falsities from self-derived intelligence.

Sixty
'Sixty' means the full time and state of the implantation of truth.

six
Like most numbers in the Bible, "six" can have various meanings depending on context, but has a couple that are primary. When used in relation...

Prefects
'Prefects' or 'governors' denote common truths which all particular things are in.

Governors
‘Governors,’ as in Genesis 41:34, signify common or general things, because they govern over particular things. ‘Governors of Israel,’ as in Judges 5:9, signify the...

hear
Thanks to modern science, we now understand that hearing actually happens in the brain, not the ears. The ears collect vibrations in the air and...

ages
It is hard for us to conceive this, but time does not exist in spiritual reality. Time is an aspect of physical reality that no...

serving
Generally speaking, those who are at lower levels of an organization serve those at higher levels. Bosses boss and their employees serve; coaches devise strategy...

said
As with many common verbs, the meaning of “to say” in the Bible is highly dependent on context. Who is speaking? Who is hearing? What...

Us
Because people are governed by angels and spirits, in Genesis 1:26 it says 'let us make man into our image.' But because the Lord alone...

Full
'To satiate' relates to the extent of a person's will, for good or evil.

seen
The symbolic meaning of "seeing" is "understanding," which is obvious enough that it has become part of common language (think about it; you might see...

mighty
'Might' denotes the forces or power of truth.

clothing
Soft raiment,' as in Matthew 11:9, represents the internal sense of the Word.

three
The Writings talk about many aspects of life using the philosophical terms "end," "cause" and "effect." The "end" is someone’s goal or purpose, the ultimate...

risen
It is common in the Bible for people to "rise up," and it would be easy to pass over the phrase as simply describing a...

walking
To walk in the Bible represents living, and usually means living according to the true things taught to us by the Lord -- to "walk...

High
'Height' signifies what is inward, and also heaven.

own
In many cases, the spiritual meaning of "own," both as a verb and as an adjective, is relatively literal. When people are described as the...

speak
Like "say," the word "speak" refers to thoughts and feelings moving from our more internal spiritual levels to our more external ones – and ultimately...

Resources for parents and teachers

The items listed here are provided courtesy of our friends at the General Church of the New Jerusalem. You can search/browse their whole library at the New Church Vineyard website.


 Blessings: Worship of the Heart
Blessings to say at mealtime.
Activity | Ages over 7

 Correspondences of Fire
Illustration of three stories in the Word that relate to fire. (Quotations are the King James translation.)
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Faith Conversations
Daniel stood up for his beliefs while captive in Babylon. Can you be true to your beliefs when talking to others about your faith?
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 11 - 17

 Fiery Furnace
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Fiery Furnace Diorama
Use an oatmeal box and clay figures to make a diorama of the fiery furnace. 
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 Four in the Fiery Furnace
Coloring Page | Ages 7 - 14

 Nebuchadnezzar, the Golden Statue, and the Fiery Furnace
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 Overview of Daniel: A Man of Conscience for ages 3-14
Overview of a series of scripted lessons for the first six chapters of the book of Daniel. Suitable for Sunday schools, families and classrooms. Levels A, B and C provide materials for ages 3-14.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 3 - 14

 Quotes: Worship of the Heart
Teaching Support | Ages over 15

 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego
A lesson for younger children with discussion ideas and a project.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego
This lesson discusses a story from the Word and suggests projects and activities for young children.
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 4 - 6

 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego in the Fiery Furnace
Worship Talk | Ages 7 - 14

 The Fiery Furnace
A New Church Bible story explanation for teaching Sunday school. Includes lesson materials for Primary (3-8 years), Junior (9-11 years), Intermediate (12-14 years), Senior (15-17 years) and Adults.
Teaching Support | Ages over 3

 The Fiery Furnace
Family lessons provide a worship talk and a variety of activities for children and teens..
Religion Lesson | Ages 4 - 17

 The Fiery Furnace
Worship Talk | Ages 4 - 6

 The Fiery Furnace
Sunday School Lesson | Ages 9 - 12

 The Fiery Furnace (3-5 years)
Use crayons to make a picture of the four men in the furnace, then use fire-colored watercolor paint to make the flames around them. 
Project | Ages 4 - 6

 The Fiery Furnace (6-8 years)
Project | Ages 7 - 10

 The Fiery Furnace (9-11 years)
Project | Ages 11 - 14

 The Fiery Furnace (sheet music)
Song | Ages 4 - 14


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