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Daniel 3

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1 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.

2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the princes, the governors, and the captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

3 Then the princes, the governors, and captains, the judges, the treasurers, the counsellers, 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.

4 Then an herald cried aloud, To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages,

5 That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up:

6 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

7 Therefore at that time, when all the people heard the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and all kinds of musick, all the people, the nations, and the languages, fell down and worshipped the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up.

8 Wherefore at that time certain Chaldeans came near, and accused the Jews.

9 They spake and said to the king Nebuchadnezzar, O king, live for ever.

10 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 musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:

11 And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth, that he should be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.

12 There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

13 Then Nebuchadnezzar in his rage and fury commanded to bring Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Then they brought these men before the king.

14 Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up?

15 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 musick, 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?

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter.

17 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.

18 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.

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated.

20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace.

21 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.

22 Therefore because the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flame of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.

23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellers, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.

25 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.

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, came forth of the midst of the fire.

27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king's counsellers, 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.

28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, 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.

29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, 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.

30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, in the province of Babylon.

  

From Swedenborg's Works

 

Arcana Coelestia #1820

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1820. 'By what shall I know that I shall inherit it?' means temptation directed against the Lord's love which wished to be made quite certain of the outcome. This becomes clear from the feeling of doubt which the words express. Anyone who is undergoing temptation experiences doubt as regards the end in view. That end is the love against which evil spirits and evil genii fight and in so doing place the end in doubt. And the greater his love is, the more they place it in doubt. Unless the end in view which a person loves is placed in doubt, and even in despair, there would be no temptation. A feeling of certainty about the outcome precedes, and is part of, victory.

[2] Since few people know what temptations really are, let a brief explanation of them be given here. Evil spirits never contend against any other things than those which a person loves, and the more intensely he loves them the more fiercely do those spirits contend. Evil genii are the ones that contend against the things of affection for what is good, and evil spirits are the ones that do so against the affection for what is true. As soon as they detect even the smallest thing that a person loves or get a scent, so to speak, of what is delightful and precious to him, they attack it instantly and try to destroy it, and so the whole person, since his life consists in his loves. Nothing ever gives them greater delight than to destroy a person; nor would they leave off but would continue even for ever, if the Lord did not drive them away. Those who are ill-disposed and deceitful worm their way into those very loves by flattering them, and in this way they bring a person in among themselves. And once they have so brought him in, they very soon try to destroy his loves and so to slay that person, which they do in a thousand unimaginable ways.

[3] Nor are the attacks which they make solely those in which they reason against goods and truths - the making of such attacks being nothing to them, for if they were defeated a thousand times over they would carry on with them because their supply of reasonings against goods and truths can never be exhausted. Rather, in their attacks, they pervert goods and truths, setting these ablaze with a certain kind of evil desire and of persuasion, so that the person himself does not know any other than that similar desire and persuasion reign within him. At the same time they infuse those goods and truths with delight which they seize from the delight which that person has in some other thing. In these ways they infect and infest him most deceitfully, doing it all so skillfully by leading him from the one thing to another that if the Lord did not come to his aid, that person would never know other than that it was indeed so.

[4] They act in similar ways against the affections for truth that constitute conscience. As soon as they become aware of anything, whatever the nature of it, that is a constituent part of that conscience, they mould an affection out of the falsities and weaknesses that exist with that person, and by means of that affection they dim the light of truth and so pervert it, or else they cause him anxiety and torment. In addition to this they keep his thought firmly fixed on one single thing; and they fill that thought with delusions, at the same time secretly incorporating evil desires within those delusions. Besides this they use countless other devices which cannot possibly be described so as to be understood. These are a few of the ways - and only very general ones - by which they are able to get at a person's conscience, which above all else they take the greatest delight in destroying.

[5] These few, indeed very few, observations show the nature of temptations - in general that the nature of a person's temptations is as the nature of his loves. They also show the nature of the Lord's temptations, that these were the most dreadful of all, for as is the intensity of the love so is the dreadfulness of the temptations. The Lord's love - a most ardent love - was the salvation of the whole human race; it was therefore a total affection for good and affection for truth in the highest degree. Against these all the hells contended, employing the most malicious forms of guile and venom, but the Lord nevertheless conquered them all by His own power. Victories have this effect, that after they have been won, wicked genii and spirits do not dare to attempt anything; for their life consists in their being able to destroy, but when they perceive that a person is able to withstand them, they flee even when they are making their first assault, as they usually do when they draw near to merely the threshold of heaven. They are straightaway gripped with horror and dread and hurl themselves back in retreat.

  
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Thanks to the Swedenborg Society for the permission to use this translation.