- Religion and Philosophy»
- Exploring Religious Options
King Nebuchadnezzar and the son of God (Daniel: 3:25)
King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon is a known king in the bible as he was the king when Babylon showed her strength. History said that the Jews were held in captivity in Babylon and, at that time, King Nebuchadnezzar was known as a might king during his reign. The king did not know the God of the Jews consequently; some religious scholars claimed he thought himself to be a god and that the image he made was an image of him, self. However, it is known that the Babylonians had their own God which may be considered different from the Jewish God.
Christian scholars claim that the Babylonians worshiped idols and that seem to agree with king Nebuchadnezzar idea to erect an image for all, in his land, including the Jews to worship. It shows that the king had no respect for the Jewish God, a God which he never really knew. The incident in the story got more exciting when three Jews: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship or bow down before the image made by the king as they claimed that they serve a living God which was much different from the God of the Babylonians. The act of the Jews angered the king that he instructed that they be thrown in a furnace of fire. The story said that even those that threw them into the furnace were killed by the heat that came out from it.
The Babylonian expect the three Jews to be killed by the fire but here is what the king said in Daniel 3: 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.” The king was not only surprised that the men were not hurt but also he saw four men in the flame and he said the fourth person is “like the son of God” and he ordered them to come out of the flame which they did; then the king decreed that nobody should stop Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from worshiping their God.
Most people simply consider the above bible verse like is done in this article and ask nothing more especially when the main objective is to establish how strong and superior the God of the Jews was in those days and may till to date based on the Christians point of view. However, what got the interest of the writer is was King Nebuchadnezzar sure of the identity of the fourth person he saw in the flame, if yes, then how did King Nebuchadnezzar know the son of God and how he looks like? For instance, can one say this looks the president of the United States when one has never previously seen the American president? Christians know Jesus Christ as the son of God or even God, himself, depending on the sect so it means the King saw Jesus in the flame or God. But then could the king be so sure when he neither knew the Jewish God nor his son? The only God the king knew was their own God so is it possible that the King was referring to the son of their God? This is a question many people had not thought about.
Then again, having witnessed such an astonishing and unexplainable incident, the king did not turn to the Jewish God as an all powerful God or instruct that all his people should worship the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego instead he only gave them religious freedom to continue serving their own God. The whole story of King Nebuchadnezzar showed that he had respect for God and trusted in God so much so that he always sought for answers from the higher realms, not minding the source of such answers for as long as he knew it to be true. This can easy be seen from his relationship with Daniel as a prophet in his kingdom.
However, the God the king respected and the level of respect he had for that God could be questioned based on the punishment he received later in his life in which he confirmed that of a truth, the Gods made him who he was. Yet, the question still remains, is it possible for the king to know the son of a God whom he had never seen or known before? That is what we have to consider for we to understand who the king had in mind when he exclaimed in astonishment, “... and the form of the fourth is like the son of God.” In the kings word he said, “The form” and we may never know what the form of the person he saw in the fiercely burning flame was that made him call him “the son of God.”